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Enforcement and Removal

Illegal alien sentenced to federal prison for failing to comply with removal order

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A 49-year-old Pakistani national was sentenced earlier today to seven and one-half years in prison for failing to comply with a removal order following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation. The illegal alien refused to provide his true identity in an attempt to avoid removal from the United States.

Sahi Sarwar, a citizen of Pakistan and resident of Tallahassee was convicted by a jury on October 8, 2008 of failing to comply with a removal order. He was sentenced earlier today before Chief U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle to 92 months in prison and a $25,000 fine. He will be deported upon the completion of his criminal sentence.

"This case demonstrates how ICE will seek criminal prosecution on those individuals that do not comply with removal orders and attempt to tarnish the integrity of our immigration system," said Michael Rozos, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal in Florida. "ICE is committed to enforce our immigration laws and ensure that the removal orders handed down by the nation's immigration courts are carried out."

Evidence introduced at trial established that Sarwar, an alien, who had been ordered removed from the United States to Pakistan by an immigration judge, willfully failed or refused to submit in good faith a timely, true, and complete application for a Pakistani passport and willfully acted to prevent or hamper his departure.

Sarwar refused to provide his true name, aliases, and other information necessary for the issuance of a Pakistani passport. Subsequent inquiries made by immigration enforcement agents of ICE's Office of Detention and Removal established Sahi Sarwar's real identity was Ghani Sarwar and he entered the United States on July 7, 1989 with a Pakistani passport. Additionally, Sarwar ordered the mother of his children to send back to Pakistan all of his passports and national identification cards. Sarwar also falsely claimed he did not know his place of birth or nationality; however, he had previously stated in an immigration hearing that he was born in Pakistan. Immigration documents and a marriage certificate which were all completed and/or signed by Sarwar further indicated that he was born in Pakistan.

In a failed attempt to circumvent the immigration laws, Sarwar fraudulently married a United States citizen who filed a petition on his behalf to become a lawful permanent resident; however, the process was not completed. Sarwar's prior criminal convictions for resisting officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm by illegal alien would also subject him to removal from the U.S. even if he was a lawful permanent resident.

Assistant United States Attorney Winifred Acosta NeSmith prosecuted the case.