On June 22, 2017, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued a news release titled “Reminder Regarding EOIR's Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program” [PDF version].
The EOIR's Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program was created in 2006 by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Under the regulations (8 C.F.R. 1003.0(e)(2)), the EOIR's General Counsel designated an anti-fraud officer to:
- i. Serve as a point of contact relating to concerns about possible fraud, particularly with respect to matters relating to fraudulent applications or documents affecting multiple removal proceedings, applications for relief from removal, appeals, or other proceedings before EOIR;
- ii. Coordinate with investigative authorities of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and other appropriate agencies with respect to the identification of and response to such fraud; and
- iii. Notify the EOIR disciplinary counsel and other appropriate authorities with respect to instances of fraud, misrepresentation, or abuse pertaining to an attorney or accredited representative.
In short, the pertinent regulations set forth the responsibilities of the designated anti-fraud officer. The role of the anti-fraud officer is to be the point person for potential fraud perpetrated in or relating to proceedings before the EOIR.
The EOIR states that since 2006, its Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program has handled more than 700 cases.
The EOIR also created a fact sheet for the Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program [PDF version]. The Fact Sheet goes into detail on how the EOIR's Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program works in practice. Notably, it makes clear that the Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program also targets “scams against immigrants,” and not just fraud committed by individuals in proceedings, attorneys, or non-attorney representatives.
Suspected fraud can be reported to the fraud hotline at 877-388-3840, or emailed to the EOIR at EOIR.Fraud.Program@usdoj.gov.
The EOIR's notice follows other immigration-related agencies putting out news releases relating to anti-fraud efforts. An individual facing proceedings before the EOIR should always work with an experienced and qualified immigration attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to help an individual navigate immigration proceedings in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations, and court procedures.