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20 charged as fake Cubans in immigration fraud

April 18, 2013 at 9:45 AM

MIAMI, April 18 (UPI) -- Some 20 people have been arrested in South Florida and charged with posing as Cuban immigrants to defraud immigration authorities, officials say.

The arrests follow a joint investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection and the Diplomatic Security Service of the State Department, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Officials said the vast majority of those arrested posed as Cubans to get immigration papers.

The statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not disclose how the fraud occurred.

Under federal law, Cubans who arrive in the United States, even without a visa, can apply for permanent resident status after staying in the country for a year and a day.

Alysa Erichs, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Miami, said the arrests "should send a clear message that we will target anyone who tries to obtain immigration benefits fraudulently."

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