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  1. #1
    Terces1 is offline Rookie
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    Immigration Officer Fraud Detection & National Security

    I have read and reread the announcement for the above position Imm. Officer FDNS, but is there anyone on this board that can elaborate more on the position? Is it merely an administrative position or more investigative (on what level)?

    Any other info about these "Jump Teams?"

    The position references up to 50% travel for "Jump Teams)...is it last minute or planned well in advance?

    Any further information from an "insiders" view would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Terces1; 12-03-2007 at 16:13. Reason: added wording

  2. #2
    OnceAtFLETC is offline Officer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terces1 View Post
    I have read and reread the announcement for the above position Imm. Officer FDNS, but is there anyone on this board that can elaborate more on the position? Is it merely an administrative position or more investigative (on what level)?

    Any other info about these "Jump Teams?"

    The position references up to 50% travel for "Jump Teams)...is it last minute or planned well in advance?

    Any further information from an "insiders" view would be greatly appreciated.
    I am not an insider in CIS but can tell you a little of the history of this position. With the whole creation of DHS and ICE/CBP/CIS division of INS, these positions were created at CIS to make up for the fact that CIS lost INS SA resources in their offices. Originally they promoted some adjudicators with fraud experience (many former immigration inspectors) and other senior adjudicators. This is an administrative position. Any enforcement action and subsequent investigation would be turned over to ICE.

    Don't know about the jump teams.

  3. #3
    id1811xecj's Avatar
    id1811xecj is offline Officer
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    One good thing about the FDNS positions is that they have good funding from user fees, unlike ICE.

    No weapons or law enforcement authority for the forseeable future.

  4. #4
    Terces1 is offline Rookie
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    So basically there is no investigative work done by the Immigration Officers?

    I saw that they are credentialed/badged etc... why do they have badges etc? Do they go out on foot and speak with employers and others, compile reports? I thought they did a bulk of the investigation and then turn it in to ICE for further review/investigation and prosecution?

    Is it more of a "fact finding" position and the facts are investigated by ICE?

    What is the training comprised of?

  5. #5
    nsedet's Avatar
    nsedet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terces1 View Post
    So basically there is no investigative work done by the Immigration Officers?
    FDNS officers are there to detect and prevent fraud in the immigration system. The job is basically a mix of duties covering analysis, investigation, and adjudication functions. So, yes, there is some investigative work in that they obtain records, verify information, check databases, may participate in interviews of applicants, etc. They can go out into the field to do this, but the majority of the work involves using a computer and maybe making some calls. By no means are they criminal investigators or law enforcement officers. As stated already, criminal cases and those requiring a full investigation get referred to ICE. FDNS also serves as the in-house fraud experts for CIS, so they also assist other immigration officers on looking at questionable cases and provide training.

  6. #6
    agentchick Guest
    Hey,

    I'm currently a DAO with CIS and nsedet is correct in his explanation. THe job is HEAVILY administration and very often FDNS officers are operating without a full team which makes it even more administrative. THey serve as liaisions to ICE and other LE agency on behalf of our office. They OCCASIONALLY go out to do bedchecks or site visits, but this is becoming more rare. They require approval from Region before they can do a site visit and it often gets turned down. Hopefully, now that they are hiring more people the entire function of FDNS in general will become more refined. ICE turns down most of the cases we refer to them unless they are prevalent in a fraud ring, so it would be nice if FDNS could pick up some of this slack.

    As far as badges, all DAOs and FDNS IOs were issued badges. I think the whole badge thing is a bit much since we have no arrest authority. However, the credentials are essential for us because we are consistently with the public and regularly interviewing people. I will say some of the cases that come through FDNS are VERY interesting and are highly sensitive, national security cases.

    It seems that this is a good job to come to if you are looking to get out of a LE job...ICE, CBP, etc. It is a good 9-5 with the potential for lots of (optional) OT. It is also easy to get to HQ through this type of job. Just know that it is writing and interview intensive.

    As far as jump teams, I have no idea. The announcement says they will be operating out of the regional offices, which are the Service Centers (VT, TX, CA, and NE).

    More questions? Let me know.

  7. #7
    agentchick Guest
    P.S. this job has promotion potential to a GS-13 and soon they will also post for supervisory positions which are GS-14.

  8. #8
    BTFH708 is offline Cadet
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    Tiny Squad of Officers Homes in on Visa Fraud

    Here is a recent article that was in the NY Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/17/ny...prod=permalink

    Here is the text, in the event the link no longer works in the future:

    July 17, 2007
    Without Guns or Raids, a Tiny Squad of Officers Homes in on Visa Fraud
    By NINA BERNSTEIN
    It was the kind of Brooklyn neighborhood where an unmarked car with government plates drew hostile stares, and a badge emblazoned with the words “immigration officer” could cause a panic.

    “Just keep smiling,” Tamika Gray, an immigration officer, said aloud to herself as she steered the car under the elevated tracks in Bushwick, meeting the suspicious gaze of a young man hanging out between Dominican Hair and Myrtle Live Poultry. “I’m not here to drag you anywhere.”

    Ms. Gray, the rookie in the tiny Fraud Detection and National Security unit at federal immigration headquarters in Lower Manhattan, was pursuing the unit’s distinctive kind of law enforcement. No guns. No raids. Just a little New York street smarts and shoe leather to uncover all types of deception, case by case, in the endless stream of visa applications.

    Deceivers come in many guises. The “multinational corporation” sponsoring a foreign manager to handle nonexistent millions. The “lawyer” specializing in fleecing desperate immigrants. Bogus newlyweds, would-be citizens hiding criminal records, churches that are really developers’ construction sites, or “condos for Christ,” in the officers’ wry shorthand.

    The fledgling fraud detection unit is one of the first in a nationwide operation started three years ago by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the visa-issuing arm of the immigration authority recreated in 2003 under the Department of Homeland Security.

    The work of the unit’s investigators — who are not part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the branch identified with raids, detention and deportation of illegal immigrants — is a new approach to detecting trends in fraud among the six million applications made nationally each year. But the investigators are so few, and so far down the bureaucratic chain, that the payoff from their efforts can be hard to see.

    On a recent visit behind the unmarked steel doors of the fraud unit’s office at 26 Federal Plaza, one wall was stacked high with suspect files — part of the flow of some 150,000 applications annually in New York alone. The unit supervisor, Joseph T. Knipper, cast a quizzical look from the stacked files to his investigators — all six of them.

    “We used to have a saying: ‘The fraud never sleeps,’ ” he said, exaggerating his gravelly voice and hangdog expression for comic effect. “And after a while we said, ‘We don’t either.’ ”

    Still, Mr. Knipper, 60, a Brooklyn-born Navy veteran, ex-cop and longtime refugee asylum officer, said he saw his work as a boon to legitimate applicants. “By going after fraud,” he said, “you’re helping the good people.”

    At any given time, the unit has more than 500 open cases, some involving multiple files flagged during processing, some chosen through random sampling.

    Since October, the unit has referred 187 cases to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible criminal investigation. Very few ever move on to prosecution by the United States attorney’s office, however. More typically, after a 60-day review, the cases bounce back to the fraud unit. Suspect applications can be denied and the holder of a fraudulent visa can face deportation.

    The operation is a work in progress, cautioned Andrea J. Quarantillo, director of the New York district office of Citizenship and Immigration Services, who keeps her Sicilian grandfather’s Ellis Island certificate on her office wall. Nationwide, the fraud detection division has a staff of only 375, scattered in more than 70 offices around the country.

    “The work they do is work we wanted to do for years,” she said, especially systematic sample audits that measure fraud in various visa categories, allowing administrators to spot patterns and close loopholes. “We’re not there yet.”

    So far, the mother lode of fraud has turned up in visa petitions for religious workers, made by organizations of every size and denomination. In reviewing a representative sampling, the agency found that one in three approved petitions were phony in New York and nationwide. In contrast, the rate of fraud found in petitions to replace a lost green card was less than 1 percent.

    This year, rules were changed to require visits by an agent in all petitions for religious workers. One result is a ballooning workload that outpaces the shoestring budget.

    While computer databases are often used in fraud detection, spot inspections are just as important. The territory of the six investigators in Mr. Knipper’s office ranges from the city’s roughest neighborhoods to upstate villages like Walden, where Ms. Gray recently paid an unannounced visit to a Buddhist temple. She was glad to find it bona fide after a chat over chai tea and cookies, she said.

    Ms. Gray, 31, who joined the fraud unit in October, is herself an immigrant. She still remembers her first whiff of cold New York air when she arrived from Jamaica at 6, she said. Her first job, in 1997, was as an airport immigration inspector. Now, having shed gun and uniform, she said, “I use all my good mornings, all my how-are-yous.”

    Sweet talk, not a search warrant, is the officers’ passport into polyglot neighborhoods where they must ask strangers for information about, say, the shuttered Hempstead restaurant that had sponsored an immigrant accountant full time, or the seedy Queens apartment house that had been listed in visa paperwork as the headquarters of a multinational corporation.

    In a city where 60 percent of residents are either foreign-born or the children of immigrants, just showing up as an immigration officer takes nerve, said one of the unit’s charter members, who asked that only his first name, Mel, be used, to spare his teenage daughter possible harassment. Several other team members declined to be interviewed.

    “It seems overwhelming sometimes, the size of the work that we’ve got to do,” said Mel, 57, who became an immigration officer in the 1980s and describes himself as Jewish, Brooklyn-educated and a devotee of Nathan’s hot dogs.

    But the satisfactions can be overwhelming, too, he added, citing the unit’s role in the prosecution of a Long Island woman who had defrauded a dozen unsophisticated immigrants desperate to become legal. The woman, Clementina McDermott, had boldly called a news conference to denounce her prosecution.

    “Brazen!” he said. “Not only was she not a citizen, she was an out-of-status alien who had a 30-year criminal record.” Investigating her case required retrieving her misplaced file from what immigration officers call “the cave” — a former limestone mine in Missouri that serves as storage. She was sentenced to three years in prison and is to be deported to Colombia. Sometimes finding fraud is all too easy, Mel added, saying, “You’re looking for a religious temple and you’re finding a candy store, a Laundromat or a hole in the ground.”

    “Hole in the ground” was not just a figure of speech. Mel led Mr. Knipper and a reporter back to the address of a Jewish organization that had petitioned for an immigrant to be trained as a mashgiach, or supervisor of kosher food production. Where the religious building should have been, a vast foundation was being dug for condos. “You pull up and see this. Hey, maybe this ain’t right. It ain’t here!” Mr. Knipper exclaimed, surveying the scene, in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

    Ukrainian construction workers stopped for a smoke beside the excavation; nearby, men in Hasidic dress passed women in hijabs. Asked about the likelihood that some of the workers might be illegal immigrants, Mr. Knipper shrugged. Not his job.

    “There’s a lot of illegals in New York,” he noted, describing day laborers outside the 7-Eleven store that he passes daily on his commute from Suffolk County. “I don’t drive by and say, ‘Maybe I should get a bigger car and load them up.’ ”

    Mr. Knipper said site checks even in cases that prove legitimate help fight fraud, too. “This is a neighborhood where people think, ‘Immigration, shmimmigration, nobody checks,’ ” he explained over sesame chicken in a local deli. “Then a guy comes around and knocks on the door. Word goes around. Rather than ‘Immigration never checks nothing,’ word is: ‘They’re checking.’ ”

    At Metro Ministries, based in Bushwick, reaction to a recent visit by Ms. Gray supported that view. Penny Hollenbeck, the executive director, said she was a bit intimidated, but impressed, when two officers showed up to verify the organization’s sponsorship of a German religious worker. “Firm but gentle,” she concluded. “A great representation of our government.”

    As for Ms. Gray, she finds special rewards in checking religious groups, where petitioners often take her hands and pray.

    “I don’t mind,” she said. “I let them pray for me no matter what religion. You can never have enough coverage driving around these streets.”
    "Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake."

  9. #9
    JarHead's Avatar
    JarHead is offline Rookie
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    What is the grooming standard ( beard, etc.)?
    Is it a uniform position or polo / dockers?

  10. #10
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    I sat next to Mrs. Gray in the academy for five months. She loves the job since she gets plenty of time to spend with the family. It is Monday - Friday and depending on location 7am - 6pm (standard 8 1/2 hr tour somewhere in there). It is has a FPL of GS-13 in the field and GS-14 at HQ.

    Had a very interesting case using info found by a FDNS officer. Fraud was discovered, case was never terminated and it was not referred to ICE for prosecution or admin action (deportation) until he met me. He was locked up for two weeks before being put on a plane leaving the U.S. for good, I hope.
    Always do what needs to be done to get home and see the family!

  11. #11
    mrob422 is offline Sergeant
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    Had a very interesting case using info found by a FDNS officer. Fraud was discovered, case was never terminated and it was not referred to ICE for prosecution or admin action (deportation) until he met me. He was locked up for two weeks before being put on a plane leaving the U.S. for good, I hope.

    Why can't the FDNS just fill out the NTA and mail it to the guy on their own?

  12. #12
    agentchick Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by JarHead View Post
    What is the grooming standard ( beard, etc.)?
    Is it a uniform position or polo / dockers?
    It's business casual. We are only permitted one casual day per week (Friday). So men must wear a shirt and tie (jacket not required) every day. Polo and dockers is OK for Friday. Grooming standards are typical of an office (clean-cut). No uniform.

  13. #13
    JarHead's Avatar
    JarHead is offline Rookie
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    How long is the school and is it @ FLETC?
    If you are an IEA do you have attend the school?

    Thank you

  14. #14
    agentchick Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by JarHead View Post
    How long is the school and is it @ FLETC?
    If you are an IEA do you have attend the school?

    Thank you
    FDNS training has historically been conducted at FLETC. However, CIS just obtained new training facilities so that may change. It is two week training and yes you would most likely have to go even if you are an IEA.

  15. #15
    Sgt Jon's Avatar
    Sgt Jon is offline Lieutenant
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    Article on Position

    Depart not from the path fate has you assigned- a fortune cookie.
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