2009-10-01 15:15:00
Consulate Ciudad Juarez
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DE RUEHCD #0516/01 2741515
R 011515Z OCT 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) MEXICO 2519 (B) MEXICO 2038 (C) MEXICO 1669

CIUDAD JUA 00000516 001.2 OF 006





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) MEXICO 2519 (B) MEXICO 2038 (C) MEXICO 1669

CIUDAD JUA 00000516 001.2 OF 006


1. (U) Ciudad Juarez, located in the state of Chihuahua,
Mexico, forms the larger half of the Ciudad Juarez/El Paso
metropolitan area with the largest population center on any
international border in the world. The Ciudad Juarez/El Paso
area is one contiguous community separated by a visible line of
demarcation. The region is connected by nine international
ports-of-entry, which daily facilitate crossing for more than
60,000 people, making it a major port of entry and
transportation hub for all of north central Mexico. Juarez
residents commute daily to El Paso to work, attend school, and
conduct trade and tourism. For residents of Juarez, travel to
El Paso has traditionally been a routine activity, reinforced by
lower housing costs in Juarez, and access to higher quality and
lower cost consumer goods from El Paso. These economic factors
have created a large community of U.S. citizens and Legally
Permanent Residents (LPRs) inside the Consular District.

2. (U) Chihuahua's export-oriented, manufacturing industry is a
key component of the economy. Manufactured goods account for
98.7% of total state exports, with over 95% of exports sold to
the United States. Goods produced in this sector represent an
integral part of the U.S. manufacturing supply-chain. The
state's manufacturing center is in Ciudad Juarez, which has the
highest concentration of maquila activity in Mexico. Employment
opportunities in both the maquila and construction industries
have attracted thousands of migrants from other regions of
Mexico to Juarez during the past twenty years. Until the recent
economic downturn, Juarez residents enjoyed one of the highest
per capita income levels in the country.

3. (U) The global economic downturn is hurting Chihuahua's
manufacturing sector because of reduced demand for consumer and
industrial goods produced by the maquila industry. Hardest hit
in particular were production lines that supplied components for
the auto industry. However, there are some signs suggesting the
worst is over. After shedding 80,000 formal sector jobs since

economic troubles began in 2007, there was a modest increase of
2,500 formal sector jobs in July 2009 -- the first monthly
increase since the economic downturn. Foreign direct investment
(FDI) to Chihuahua increased by 9% in the second quarter of 2009
(Q1: $149 million, Q2: $163 million),but Q2 FDI for 2009 is
still 60% less than Q2 FDI for 2008. (Ref A, B, and C) While
applicants from lower socioeconomic status groups have
previously been good candidates for B1/B2/BBBCC visas in Ciudad
Juarez, the current economic trend and fluid employment
situation require new vigilance on the part of NIV officers in
evaluating claims of viable employment. Refusal rate for
B1/B2/BCCC visas increased to 24% during this reporting period
from 20% during the previous reporting period.

4. (SBU) Ciudad Juarez continues to cope with challenges to its
social fabric as a result of the violence perpetrated by
organized crime. More than 1,600 people were killed in and
around the city of 1.7 million in 2008. Fighting between
Mexican cartels competing for drug transport routes through this
regional crossroad continued unabated in 2009, with current YTD
murders slightly exceeding the number of murders for the entire
year in 2008. Some 5,000 Mexican Army troops and 2,500 federal
police have taken charge of daily police patrols and inspections
in Ciudad Juarez. Residents lack confidence in local, state,
and federal police forces, and in the locally-deployed elements
of the Mexican army, to combat the drug violence in any
meaningful way. The raging violence compels people to seek ways
to escape from the area, leading to a detectable increase in the
number and types of fraud schemes that have developed in and
around the Consular District.

5. (U) Ciudad Juarez is considered a high fraud post due to
elevated volumes of IV and ACS applications submitted with
suspect U.S. birth records, or based upon suspect relationships,
and NIV applications containing fraudulent identity and/or
employment documents.


6. (SBU) Significant changes in the application process have
required FPU to create new ways to detect and prevent fraud. In
January 2009, Post initiated a paperless application and
pass-back process utilizing the DS-160 NIV application. Then in
April 2009, Post began collecting electronic fingerprints and
photographs for NIV applications at an offsite data collection
facility known as the Applicant Service Center (ASC). These
changes have translated into significant prescreening benefits
because applicants visit the ASC at least one day prior to their

CIUDAD JUA 00000516 002.2 OF 006

interview at the consulate. This 24-hour margin gives Fraud
Investigators time to prescreen and analyze applications before
the applicant arrives at the consulate. To this end, one of the
most useful databases available to FPU tracks the phone numbers
and email addresses used to schedule appointments at the offsite
data collection facility. Investigators have developed skill in
selecting data that can be exploited through the use of
detection tools like Text Search in Consular Consolidated
Database (CCD). As a result, 70% of applications investigated
after being prescreened through automated tools were found to
contain fraud. Prior to the collection of data offsite,
investigators prescreened the actual documents of applicants
waiting to be interviewed, which yielded a 30% rate of fraud
established in applications subsequently investigated in FPU.
In addition to the applications that are identified through
prescreening, FPU continues to investigate cases referred by
line officers.

7. (U) FPU Investigators conducted 1,118 minor investigations
mostly involving questionable employment documents, of which 284
(25 percent) were confirmed as fraud. In 236 cases,
adjudicating officers suspected the supporting documents to be
fraudulent and denied the applications 214b without referring
the applications to FPU. Through the use of Internet Protocol
(IP) addresses which are recorded by the DS-160, automated
prescreening methods discussed above and consular officer
vigilance, FPU identified five new document vendors. In
addition, a validation study of all visa referrals revealed that
out of 283 referrals for FY08, fraud was indicated in four
referrals (1 percent). In each of these four cases the referral
ended their employment with the Mexican government agency for
which they were working shortly before being interviewed. All
four could not be located in Mexico and are presumed to be
living illegally in the U.S.

8. (U) FPU investigators carried out complex investigations on
123 cases which included indentifying document vendors, complete
document packages, and the verification of L, E, H, and TN
visas. Of the total number of complex investigations, 33 (27
percent) were found to be fraudulent. The insecurity bred by
the surge in violence perpetrated by organized crime, and the
preexisting unstable economy, has increasingly motivated a
desperate population to turn to fraud. This is evident in the
growing number of fraudulent applications in visa categories
outside B1/B2/BBBCC, such as student and work visas. For
example, investigators have seen an increase in applications
involving virtual companies in which applicants document
elaborate plans for expanding claimed businesses in the U.S.;
however, they are unable to support their claims with any
credible evidence of related business transactions.

9. (U) Post noticed an increased number of unqualified TN
(NAFTA Professional) visa applicants. During this reporting
period TN/TD applications increased by 10 percent. Refusal rate
for TN/TD applications increased to 32 percent (versus a 16
percent refusal rate from the previous reporting period). Also,
Post noticed an increase in F1 (student) applications made by
upper class professionals wishing to study English at the
community college in El Paso. FPU believes these increases are
as a result of wealthy Juarenses attempting flee Ciudad Juarez
to escape the high levels of violence.

10. (U) Post processes all immigrant visas for Mexico, and
given the 2,000-mile border Mexico shares with the U.S., certain
fraud schemes are endemic. Central to these schemes is an
irregular U.S. birth record that involves a suspect birth
attendant, birth at home, or delayed registration. Because this
fraud is pervasive, FPU investigates all IV applications
supported by an irregular U.S. birth record. While the majority
of the fraudulent U.S. birth records are associated with suspect
birth attendants, a secondary source involves grandparents or
other relatives who document non-biological children as their

11. (U) FPU completed 943 IV investigations during the
reporting period. 597 were initiated and closed within the
reporting period. The remaining 346 were opened prior to the
March 2009, but closed during this reporting period. Fraud was
established in 172 cases (18 percent),consistent with
historical trends. Another 158 cases (17 percent) were resolved
as inconclusive yet presumed fraudulent due to lack of
cooperation from the petitioner and/or beneficiary, or the
existence of common fraud indicators. The vast majority of
these inconclusive cases involved petitioners and/or
beneficiaries who failed to return for their scheduled follow-up
interviews, but will be referred to FPU to continue the
investigation if they return. Fraud was not indicated in the
remaining 613 cases that were closed during the reporting period.

CIUDAD JUA 00000516 003.2 OF 006

12. (U) Of the 172 cases that were found to be fraudulent, 49
(28 percent) yielded fraudulent U.S. birth records. Blood
relationship fraud accounted for another 47 cases (27 percent).
Although DNA testing helped to establish fraud in some of these
cases, skillful interviewing by adjudicating officers and fraud
investigators resolved the greater part.

13. (U) During the reporting period, FPU investigated a total
of 456 immigrant visa cases related to suspect petitioner birth
records from the United States. Due to the complexity of the
investigations and to the fact that events involving the births
occurred as long as 30 to 40 years ago, FPU scrutinized the
evidence submitted, interviewed the birth mother whenever
possible, and collected existing information through vital
statistics and civil registries. Through this method, FPU
uncovered 49 fraudulently filed U.S. records, while identifying
two suspect midwives whose names were added to the CA/FPP
Suspect Birth Attendants (SBA) list. Also, FPU compared the
CA/FPP SBA list with internal files and found two doctors and
one midwife who had previously filed fraudulent birth records
that were not included on the SBA list. This information, along
with the supporting documentation outlining the fraud, was
forwarded to CA/FPP who updated the SBA list.

14. (U) Interviews involving suspect marriage cases increased
during the reporting period. FPU investigated 60 such cases.
Fraud was found in 14 (23 percent) while 6 cases (10 percent)
were closed as inconclusive and 40 cases were closed after fraud
was not indicated. Half of the cases where fraud was found
involved engaged (K1) or recently married (K3/CR1) couples.


15. (U) Mexico is not eligible for the Diversity Visa Program.
Nevertheless, Post received four third-country national DV cases
for interview during the reporting period, representing a total
of eight applicants. No fraud was found in any of these four DV


16. (U) Demand for U.S. Passports surged as the Western
Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) came into effect during the
reporting period. At the height of the surge, weekly passport
applications increased 800 percent above pre-WHTI levels. FPU
completed 194 ACS investigations during the reporting period; an
increase of 250 percent compared to the last reporting period.
To meet this demand, FPU detailed two investigators to the ACS
section to work full time. Previously, one investigator handled
ACS cases on a part time, as needed, basis. 177 investigations
were initiated and closed during the reporting period. Fraud
was established in 27 cases (14 percent),consisted with
historical trends and consistent with IV fraud levels. Another
30 cases were resolved as inconclusive yet presumed fraudulent,
due to the lack of cooperation or response from parties to the
application and/or the existence of common fraud indicators.

17. (U) Of the 194 ACS investigations, 132 were related to U.S.
Passport applications and 62 were related to CRBA applications.
Fraud was discovered in 20 U.S. Passport applications (15
percent) and 7 CRBA applications (11 percent). DNA testing
resolved questions around blood relationships in 7 U.S. Passport
applications and 12 CRBA applications. One of the DNA exams
demonstrated fraud in a CRBA application, three of these DNA
cases were closed as inconclusive because the applicants did not
appear for their scheduled DNA test, and DNA proved the blood
relationship in the remaining 15 cases.


18. (U) Twenty suspect adoption cases, all related to immigrant
visa petitions, were referred to FPU. The number of suspect
adoption cases has increased for each of the past four reporting
periods despite a drop in the number of adoption cases handled
at Post. Eleven were confirmed as fraudulent. Seven of these
adoption cases were fraudulent because the adoption was not
irrevocable and therefore not valid for immigration purposes.
In one case, the petitioner had apparently been defrauded by a
Mexican lawyer who claimed to have arranged the adoption but had
provided fraudulent adoption paperwork not filed with any
Mexican family court. After an investigation that involved
Mexican DIF (the equivalent to child protective services),the
child was returned to the adoptive parents to formally complete
the adoption in Mexico.

19. (U) Two of the fraudulent adoption cases were particularly

CIUDAD JUA 00000516 004.2 OF 006

egregious. The adoption documents in both cases were completely
counterfeit, and in one case the "adoptive parents" admitted to
purchasing the child for $2,000. Mexican DIF took the two
adoptive children into protective custody, where they remain.
In one case the counterfeit adoption paperwork was being used to
traffic the "adoptive child" to California to reunite with her
biological mother who is living illegally. Also, FPU made
progress but has not closed an investigation involving a Mexican
child trafficked to the U.S. and adopted in Arizona. FPU
strongly suspects that the "biological mother" who gave the
child up for adoption is not the true biological mother based on
an interview with the "biological mother's" mother (the child's
apparent grandparent). The adoptive parents claim they cannot
locate the "biological mother." The Consular Chief has
recommended to the adoptive parent's attorney DNA testing to
demonstrate that the woman who gave the child up for adoption is
truly the biological mother. FPU continues to search for
evidence that would prove there is no blood relationship between
the purported "biological mother" and the child that was adopted
after being trafficked to Arizona.


20. (U) While blood relationships can often be substantiated
through robust documentary evidence, Post policy recommends DNA
testing to applicants as an expedient choice when there are
lingering doubts regarding the legitimacy of a claim. DNA
testing is of particular value in cases where grandparents or
other close relatives have registered or raised children as
their own biological offspring, a common cultural practice in
Mexico. In these cases, because a close genetic match is
expected, Post requests the presence of both alleged biological
parents, in order to better discriminate among some of the
genetic markers shared among familial and ethnic groups. This
will be the last reporting period where DNA testing occurs
through the Panel Physician clinics, as new guidance for DNA
testing procedures was recently shortly after this reporting

21. (U) Nineteen ACS and 158 IV applicants opted to participate
in DNA testing after their documentary evidence proved
insufficient to resolve their cases. 23 of the cases (13
percent) involved applicants who never appeared for their
designated appointment. Of the remaining 154 DNA cases, DNA
results refuted the claimed blood relationship in 13 IV cases
and one ACS case (9 percent). All other DNA cases verified the
blood relationship, to a degree of certainty greater than or
equal to 99.5 percent, in accordance with 9 FAM 42.41.


22. (U) There is an active USCIS contingent at Post, which
accepts and adjudicates a substantial number of applications for
waiver of grounds of inadmissibility (I-601). USCIS at Post
also processes a smaller number of immigrant-based petitions for
persons resident in the consular district. During the reporting
period, USCIS received over 9,100 waiver applications, and USCIS
detected no fraud in any applications for DHS benefits.
However, any waiver applications that cannot be adjudicated
because of questionable qualification must be referred to a
domestic DHS office where they are more thoroughly reviewed.


23. (U) As open source and unclassified reports have previously
concluded, drug smuggling and associated violence, human
trafficking, and alien smuggling continue to threaten the
security of the U.S. border with Mexico. Given Mexico's status
as a transit point for both lawful and unlawful entry into the
U.S., Post continues to investigate all leads that may indicate
large-scale fraudulent document and/or alien smuggling rings.
Recent investigations reinforce that high-quality forged or
counterfeit documents are readily available, with fraudulent
birth records or fraudulently-filed genuine birth records being
the most prevalent. In turn, the quality of fraudulent breeder
documents has enabled applicants to obtain authentic Mexican
identity documents, including passports and voter identification
cards (the Mexican identity equivalent of a U.S. driver's
license). While many suspicious document cases can be handled
with a 214(b) refusal, Post encourages officers to refer any
suspicious high-quality documents for investigation.


24. (SBU) Unfortunately, FPU's ARSO-I departed post after
concluding his assignment in Ciudad Juarez. However, one new
ARSO-I arrived shortly after the reporting period concluded and

CIUDAD JUA 00000516 005.2 OF 006

has opened several investigations within his first two weeks at
Post. Another ARSO-I is scheduled to arrive in 2010.


25. (U) 109 Mexican passports were returned to the local
Mexican passport agency administered by the Secretary of Foreign
Relations (SRE). The majority of these passports were returned
because an FPU investigation determined the bearer was
unlawfully registered with fraudulent information or
documentation. Some passports were returned because they were
lost at the Consulate and the holder could not be located. When
the passport was returned to the SRE because of a fraudulent
registration within Post's consular district, a corresponding
birth record was sent to alert the Civil Registry Central
Archives in Chihuahua.

26. (U) FPU organizes a one-week training course for newly
arrived officers. Part of this training course includes a visit
to the local Civil Registry in downtown Ciudad Juarez. Mexico's
Civil Registry system is a "good faith" institution, meaning
that when a parent registers a child, the relationship is
presumed to exist because the registration is presumed to be
made in "good faith." This system makes it very easy to
fraudulently document a blood relationship. For example, it is
common for grandparents to register a child as their biological
child and because the Civil Registry system is a "good faith"
institution, Civil Registry officials do not routinely
scrutinize birth registrations. This can also allow for more
sinister fraud schemes such as creating additional, fraudulent
identities. Because of this system, anecdotal observations
suggest creating a new identity is more common than stealing
someone else's existing identity. However, on FPU's most recent
training visit to the Civil Registry in Ciudad Juarez, FPU
observed the Civil Registry requiring hospital or birth clinic
records prior to allowing new parents to register their infant
children. FPU views this as a positive, if small, step to
reduce fraud in birth records.


27. (SBU) Post continues to enjoy a high degree of cooperation
with host government agencies and individual government
officials. ARSO-I and the federal attorney general's office
(PGR) in Mexico City have a good working relationship,
cooperation to prosecute the most egregious users of fraudulent
federally-issued Mexican documents in several cases. However,
the ARSO-I has had no success in getting the PGR locally to
prosecute document vendors peddling fraudulent employment


28. (U) FPU collaborates with key USG contacts, including the
El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC),CBP inspectors at the local
ports-of-entry, U.S. Border Patrol, USCIS adjudications officers
in Juarez and in El Paso, the ICE, FBI, and DEA offices at Post,
and fraud prevention managers in the various U.S. Passport
Agencies. At the state level, Post submits alerts on all
fraudulent birth records to investigative arm of the affected
Vital Statistics office, the greatest part of which go to Texas.
During the course of the reporting period, FPU staff have
participated in ongoing FBI Human Trafficking Task Force
meetings, exchanging information on smuggling operations, fraud
trends, and providing updates on pending investigations headed
by ARSO-I.

29. (U) In addition to a large number of routine outside
requests, FPU assisted CA in supporting U.S. District Attorneys
in four separate trials during the reporting period. Two of
these cases involved locating potential witnesses in Mexico, and
two cases involved located a birth record (one official civil
registry record and one internal medical clinic record). In one
case, a consular officer who was serving as the Deputy Fraud
Program Manager and the Locally Employed Staff (LES) Supervisory
Investigator have been cleared to provide testimony in a trail
scheduled for the next reporting period. However, because the
LES Supervisory Investigator located a key piece of evidence in
Mexico the case may not actually go to trial.


30. (SBU) The unprecedented level of narcotics-related
violence, coupled with the inability of municipal, state, and
federal police forces to contain the violence in any substantive
manner, is an area of significant concern. The violence serves
as an incentive to applicants, qualified or not, to use the

CIUDAD JUA 00000516 006.2 OF 006

services of local document vendors as applicants try to make the
best case for issuance during the visa interview. Also, during
the reporting period, several Consulate LES employees were
victims of crime. While not targeted because of their
association with the Consulate, the general breakdown of law and
order has led to an increase in all types of criminal activity.

31. (U) WHTI implementation had a significant impact on IV
cases where the petitioner possessed a fraudulently filed SBA
birth record. Prior to WHTI, IV petitioners (who often
accompany IV beneficiaries to Ciudad Juarez for their immigrant
visa interviews) rarely held U.S. passports. However, of the 49
IV petitioners with fraudulently filed U.S. records discovered
during IV fraud investigations during the reporting period, 36
held valid U.S. passports obtained by using the fraudulently
filed U.S. SBA record. While FPU strongly supports WHTI, an
interesting unintended consequence is that IV petitioners with
fraudulently filed U.S. birth records now almost always possess
valid U.S. Passports. While FPU enters PLOTS lookouts when one
of these cases is discovered, Post has received no action for
several years on passport revocation memos submitted to
headquarters in these cases.

32. (U) Post recently discovered one case involving two
fraudulent MRV receipts which are purchased through Banamex, the
Mexican National Bank. A cashier working at Banamex stole
receipt paper and forged the MRV receipt printing using a
non-bank receipt printer. Although Post has only identified
this one case, the significant vulnerability of MRV receipts to
fraud -- which Post identified and reported to CA/FPP prior to
this incident -- cause Post to be concerned that this case is
only the tip of a larger iceberg.

33. (U) FPU staffing during the reporting period consisted of a
permanent Fraud Program Manager (FPM),a GS-12 consular officer,
a Deputy FPM that rotates every six months among consular
officers at Post, one FSN-10 Supervisory Investigator, one EFM
FP-5 Investigations Assistant position, currently unstaffed,
nine FSN-9 Fraud Investigator positions, and one H/L FSN-9 Fraud
Investigator position.

34. (U) FPU staff continues to complete a variety of distance
learning courses, including PC-544 Detecting Fraudulent
Documents, PC-128 Detecting Imposters and PC-103 Nationality
Law/Consular Procedures. ACS cross-training, which was
completed during the previous reporting period, allowed FPU to
shift investigators to ACS as WHTI significantly increased
passport demand. The Deputy FPM attended PC-541 Fraud
Prevention for Consular Managers and one LES Fraud Investigator
attended PC-542 Worldwide LES Fraud Prevention Workshop. Also,
one FSN-9 Fraud Investigator elected to serve TDY to Embassy
Baghdad and began training and processing for her assignment
scheduled to begin during the next reporting period.

35. (U) Five officers participated in Post's 4-day accelerated
training module, where IV, NIV, ACS and FPU have each organized
a one-day agenda to discuss pertinent operating procedures.
FPU's module provides an overview on consular district
conditions, trains on Mexican civil documents and suspect U.S.
birth records, discusses the formal fraud referral process, and
reviews tools available to Post, including SBA fraud, SOPs,
Visas Viper, CCD, the CA/FPP webpage, and Lexis Nexis.

36. (U) Seven officers took part in FPU's week-long orientation
program, which expands upon the training delivered in the
accelerated module. This program is designed for officers who
have between 3-6 months of experience at Post. The training
familiarizes participants with socioeconomic conditions at Post
via tours of local maquilas (factories),neighborhoods, and an
El Paso midwifery. It also orients them to the operations of
key U.S. and Mexican government agencies including the Mexican
Civil Registry, the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations
(SRE),the Mexican Consulate in El Paso, USCIS, a CBP Port of
Entry, ICE detention facility, DOJ Immigration Court, and an
evening ride-along tour of the U.S.-Mexico border with Border
Patrol. The training also represents an opportunity to observe
fraud interviews, providing insight into investigative methods
and techniques.