Sterling, VA - Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington-Dulles International Airport discovered a Congolese imposter and an alleged alien smuggler, traveling on Canadian passports, after they arrived from South Africa at about 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.
A 40 year-old woman was ordered removed and returned to South Africa on Sunday. The 35 year-old male imposter was also ordered removed, but remained in detention until his credible fear concern could be heard. An imposter is one who uses another's identity documents as their own. Privacy laws prohibit CBP from releasing their names since neither was criminally charged.
"Customs and Border Protection officers train diligently to detect inconsistencies between travelers and their documents, and this is another incident that significantly illustrates our officers' expertise in detecting imposters," said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. "We must remain vigilant at our nation's ports of entry. You don't know if an imposter's intention is to immigrate illegally, or to come to the United States for other, more nefarious purposes."
"There is a legal way to immigrate to the United States, and this is certainly not it," Hess said.
Both passengers presented Canadian passports to CBP officers upon their arrival. They each claimed to be returning to Canada after a two-week Congo vacation, but none had airline tickets to Canada.
During a secondary inspection, CBP officers determined that the woman was assisting in the smuggling of the Congolese man, who was using another's Canadian passport to illegally gain entry to the United States. He looked dissimilar to the passport photo, and his signature differed from the passport signature. He was also unable to discuss nursing or provide a sampling of college nursing courses, despite stating that he was attending a Canada nursing college.
CBP officers found the woman to be inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, and for being an intending immigrant without a valid immigrant visa. Officers ordered her removed from the United States, and she departed on Sunday.
CBP officers found the man to be inadmissible under the INA for several violations, including fraud and for willfully presenting a Canadian passport that is not his. Officers ordered him removed as well. The Congolese imposter claimed credible fear and is being detained pending an asylum hearing.
"Our goal is to process legitimate passengers as quickly and as efficiently as possible," said Hess. "But it is essential that CBP, as the nation's leading border security agency, ensures that those who we admit into the United States are who they say they are, and that they gain entry through legitimate means for a legitimate purpose."
CBP officers at Dulles determined that a Sri Lankan man was an imposter on March 18 for presenting a resident alien identification card that did not belong to him. A fingerprint exam revealed the imposter's true identity. He was removed from the U.S.
For more on CBP's admissions process, please visit the CBP.gov Web Site.