Harpal Singh, 67, an Indian national residing in Iselin, New Jersey, has surrendered before a US court for trying to obtain American citizenship through fraudulent means, the Department of Justice said.
Pal Singh, a/k/a “Surinder Singh,” a/k/a “Harpal Singh,” is charged with one count of attempted naturalisation fraud and can face up to 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for August 5.
In March 1992, Singh 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. Singh later applied for asylum in the United States under his true name and was released on bond while his asylum claim was evaluated.
Later, in June 1993, an immigration judge in New York denied Singh’s asylum application and he was ordered to surrender for deportation, which he did not appear for.
In May 1996, Singh 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. He did not disclose that he had previously been denied asylum under his true identity and under the identity of Harpal Singh. 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.
In June 1996, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service granted Singh’s third asylum application in the name of “Surinder Singh” based on fraudulent information provided by Singh.
In December 2015, Singh filed an Application for Naturalisation, Form 400-N, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the identity of Surinder Singh. He falsely answered questions relating to his identity, his prior immigration applications, and his immigration status.
Later 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. 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 falsely answered additional questions relating to his identity, his prior immigration applications, and his immigration status.
A fingerprint examiner from the US 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. He concluded that the same individual was the owner of all of the fingerprints.
The naturalisation 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.