November 02, 2007

Another illegal citizenship scheme

2 plead not guilty in citizenship scheme

Immigrants allegedly given offer to join tribeAuthorities say an intriguing offer was made to illegal immigrants during meetings held in North County homes: Join an American Indian tribe and travel freely between the United States and Mexico.

But the tribe they were touting isn't recognized by the United States government.

And, in any case, members of American Indian tribes aren't exempt from immigration laws.

Two people suspected in the scheme pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of theft and selling false citizenship documents.
This isn't the "tribe's" only scam:Schemes involving the Pembina Nation Little Shell Band of North America include efforts to avoid paying taxes and to sell insurance, but those targeting immigrants first showed up in Florida last year, an expert said.

“They believe the government has no authority over them,” said Mark Pitcavage, an investigator with the Anti-Defamation League, which considers Pembina an extremist anti-government group.

The group's claims are derided by established American Indian groups, who say tribal membership can't be bought.

“It's a despicable process,” said Juan Castellanos of the Indian Human Resource Center in San Diego.

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