Lebanese national admits fraud in procuring U.S. immigration benefits

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DETROIT — A Lebanese man admitted in immigration court Monday he entered the United States without proper documentation and thereafter lied to obtain lawful immigration status in the country. The admission paves the way for his removal from the United States. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center and ICE Detroit Office of the Chief Counsel.

The HSI investigation revealed that Mahmoud Bazzi, 71, who is a native and citizen of Lebanon, repeatedly provided false and misleading testimony and submissions that were critical to his obtaining status in the United States.

According to his admissions Monday, Bazzi entered in 1994 without proper documentation necessary to authorize his admission to the United States and, thereafter, provided false information to the U.S. government in proceedings that led to a grant of permanent residence status.

"One of the agency's highest priorities is to ensure that our nation's immigration system is not exploited by those who seek to illegally gain refuge in the United States by concealing their past, said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit. "ICE is committed to ensuring the United States does not serve as a safe haven for human rights violators."

Bazzi now faces repatriation to his native country. He will remain in ERO custody pending his removal from the United States.

ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center investigates human rights violators who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture and extrajudicial killings. These individuals may use fraudulent identities to enter the country and attempt to blend into communities in the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the toll-free HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE's confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973. Tips may be provided anonymously.

Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 270 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 650 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, HSI has more than 165 active investigations, and ICE is pursuing more than 1,800 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from 97 different countries.

Over the last four years, ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crime Center has issued more than 66,000 lookouts for people from more than 111 countries and stopped 140 human rights violators or war-crime suspects from entering the United States.

News Source : Lebanese national admits fraud in procuring U.S. immigration benefits
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