Increasing Security on Immigration Documents
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will issue new documents for naturalized citizens beginning today to help prevent fraud. The agency has attempted to increase the security of its documents, unveiling new green cards this summer meant to be more difficult to counterfeit. The new citizenship documents, which newly naturalized citizens can use to obtain passports and other documents given only to citizens, are electronically embedded with information and photos.
How often does document fraud actually happen? It’s tough to say — USCIS does not track incidents of fraud for immigration documents. Pro-enforcement groups such as Center for Immigration Studies claim document fraud is rampant and was partially to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when foreign nationals with driver’s licenses were able to board planes they later hijacked. (Of course, some states allow non-citizens to obtain driver’s licenses legally.)
The new documents would not prevent illegal immigrants from giving false Social Security numbers, but they would make it more difficult to fake naturalization documents. Some senators have argued Social Security cards also need a high-security overhaul to become more resistant to fraud. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have proposed biometric Social Security cards and criminal penalties for using fake Social Security numbers as part of their proposals for comprehensive immigration reform.