As civil servants, immigration officials in the Los Angeles area are charged with conducting themselves in a manner that is respectable and fair. Immigration officers may have a wide range of tasks assigned to them, but they typically advise immigrants on the law regarding entering and living in the United States. They may also have the power to oversee applications for citizenship and green cards. When immigration authorities overstep their bounds and do not act in accordance with the law, immigrants are often the ones who pay the price.

This seems to be the case for a 47-year-old immigration official who has worked for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Santa Ana for the past eight years. As part of her job, the officer could approve or decline an immigrant’s application for benefits, including green card and citizenship applications.

The officer has a history of accepting bribes which included money and food from immigrant applicants. When an immigrant who was applying for citizenship presented her with a $2,000 bribe last month, she took it.  This incident led to her arrest. She could face up to 15 years behind bars in a federal prison for each count of bribery she is found guilty of.

If you are an immigrant and want to apply for a green card or citizenship, you may wish to speak with an immigration attorney. A lawyer can guide you through the process and work to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not taken advantaged of along the way.

Source: NBC Southern California, “Santa Ana Immigration Officer Took Cash, Egg Rolls as Bribes, Feds Say,” Willian Avila, June 28, 2013