In August 2011 a USCIS supervisor and his son, both convicted of federal corruption charges, were sentenced to five years and four years in prison, respectively. The USCIS supervisor, Fernando Jacobs, 72 years old, had been found guilty of conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, and visa fraud. He was also fined $30,000. His son, 44-year-old Patrick Jacobs, was also convicted of the first three charges. He has been in custody since his arrest in 2009.
The elder Jacobs took bribes from foreign nationals seeking legal status in the U.S. and his son acted as a go-between in setting up the deals.
The Jacobs’ scheme involved the elder Jacobs using his official position as a USCIS supervisor to defraud the government of his honest services and personally profit at the public’s expense. Fernando Jacobs accelerated certain case processing, took information from Department of Homeland Security databases on immigration in furtherance of the scheme, and placed official DHS stamps in foreign nationals’ passports that permitted such persons to travel back and forth from the U.S., all for a fee.
“The significance of public corruption cases like this cannot be overestimated,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The American public demands honest government service and the Department of Justice is committed to policing government and preserving the public trust.”
This is the latest of many corruption cases that have tarnished the agency and its reputation over the last decade and a half. Articles in the press, such as in the Washington Post on December 1, 2006, reported that a DHS supervisor pled guilty to falsifying immigration documents and taking over $600,000 in bribes to do so. A New York Times article on March 21, 2008 described a USCIS adjudicator being arrested after being taped saying to a 22-year-old Colombian woman, “I want sex…you get your green card”. These flagrant violations disgrace the agency. In response, the USCIS created the Office of Security and Integrity (OSI). The agency has substantially increased resources dedicated to internal affairs to reverse a perceived increase in such cases.
Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Dallas-based Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or a Dallas immigration attorney, please visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.