Iselin man charged with attempting to obtain U.S. citizenship by fraud

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Special Agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), charged a Middlesex County man on Aug. 16 for allegedly trying to fraudulently obtain citizenship.

Pal Singh, a/k/a “Surinder Singh,” a/k/a “Harpal Singh,” 66, an Indian national residing in the Iselin section of Woodbridge, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of naturalization fraud and one count of making false statements under oath in connection with naturalization proceedings, according to a statement provided by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Singh made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor and was released on $200,000 bond.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, in March 1992, Singh reportedly applied for admission into the United States as a tourist at Los Angeles International Airport by presenting an Indian passport that purported to contain an entry visa to the United States.

Singh was refused admission into the United States because the entry visa was deemed fraudulent and he was detained pending exclusion proceedings, according to the statement. Singh reportedly later applied for asylum in the United States under his true name and was released on bond while his asylum claim was evaluated.

In June 1993, an immigration judge in New York denied Singh’s asylum application and Singh was ordered to surrender for deportation. Singh failed to appear for his deportation as ordered, according to the statement.

In August 1995, Singh allgedly fraudulently applied for asylum in the United States under the identity of “Harpal Singh,” and claimed that he had entered the United States by crossing the United States-Mexico border in December 1994. Singh did not disclose that he had previously been denied asylum under his true identity – Pal Singh – according to the statement. In March 1996, an immigration judge denied Singh’s second asylum application and Singh was again ordered to surrender for deportation. Singh again failed to appear for his deportation as ordered, according to the statement.

In May 1996, Singh allegedly fraudulently applied for asylum in the United States under the identity of “Surinder Singh,” and claimed that he had entered the United States by crossing the United States-Mexico border in November 1995. Singh purportedly did not disclose that he had previously been denied asylum under his true identity and under the identity of Harpal Singh, according to the statement.

This application further claimed that Surinder Singh had been beaten and tortured in India in 1994 despite the fact that Singh had been living in the United States at the time under his true identity, according to the statement. In June 1996, the Immigration and Naturalization Service granted Singh’s third asylum application in the name of “Surinder Singh” based on fraudulent information provided by Singh.

In December 2015, Singh reportedly filed an Application for Naturalization, Form 400-N, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the identity of Surinder Singh. He allegedly falsely answered questions relating to his identity, his prior immigration applications, and his immigration status, according to the statement.

In May 2018, Singh appeared under the name of Surinder Singh before an officer of the Department of Homeland Security in Newark for an interview in connection with his application, according to the statement. The interview was audio and video recorded, and Singh was placed under oath. Singh was also assisted by counsel and by a Punjabi interpreter. Singh allegedly falsely answered additional questions relating to his identity, his prior immigration applications, and his immigration status, according to the statement.

A qualified fingerprint examiner from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Biometric Support Center compared fingerprints taken of Singh when he initially attempted to enter the United States in March 1992 to fingerprints taken in the names of Harpal Singh and Surinder Singh in connection with the above-described immigration proceedings, according to the statement. The fingerprint examiner concluded that the same individual made all of the fingerprints, according to the statement.

The naturalization fraud charge carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison. The false statements charge carries a maximum potential sentence of five years imprisonment.