Georgetown, Del. - Late Monday afternoon special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 6 illegal aliens residing in the Sussex County area as part of a continuing document fraud investigation. The investigation, which started last year, involves the illegal sale and use of valid Puerto Rican birth certificates and associated Social Security cards.
The sale and use of these valid identity documents present an obvious national security and public safety concern, because the documents confer all the rights and privileges of a United States citizen on the individual using them. Using fraudulent identification presents the opportunity to get a job, vote, purchase firearms and obtain passports and other legitimate documents allowing international travel. During Monday's arrests agents seized four sets of Puerto Rican identity documents.
In November of 2007 ICE agents arrested 4 documents vendors/brokers who are being criminally prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware. The six arrests yesterday bring to 34 the number of aliens that have been arrested on charges of being illegally present in the United States. A total of 105 sets of fraudulently obtained documents have been seized during the investigation.
"This is an ongoing operation and ICE expects to make more arrests. The sale and use of these documents represent a dangerous vulnerability to our immigration and employment verification systems and we will continue to aggressively pursue those participating in or facilitating these violations." William Lowder, resident agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Wilmington. Tuesday's operation was conducted with assistance of the Delaware State Police, Georgetown PD and other affected local law enforcement agencies in Sussex County.