Odessa, Texas police are dealing with an increasing problem of people possessing fake government-issued IDs and many are believed to be illegal aliens.
The Odessa Police Department says they are seeing these cases “weekly and sometimes even on a daily basis,” NewsWest 9 reports. Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information can include having a fake social security card, fake resident card, or fake Texas drivers license.
“If we come in contact with someone or even arrest somebody, we’re not going to ask that person if they’re an illegal alien. However, if it is determined that somebody is possibly illegal, then they basically get booked into the jail and they can be turned over to Homeland Security,” Cpl. Steve LeSueur of the Odessa PD says.
LeSueur says it’s usually pretty easy to spot the fakes.
“It’s usually pretty obvious, a lot of the times the person sometimes won’t say anything, sometimes they will give us a reason or an explanation as to why they have it, but regardless of the reason it’s a state jail felony,” according to LeSueur.
Illegal immigrants recently sued the state after saying their U.S.-born children were denied birth certificates.
An illegal from Zacatecas, Mexico, who wouldn’t give her name to CBS, claims the state has denied her request “five times.”
“People never really came forward until we filed a suit,” Jim Harrington, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project who is representing the adult plaintiffs, tells the news network. “Then all of a sudden it was like the doors opened and just maybe a couple hundred people so far have come forward talking about how this happened to them.”
Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, says the state’s strict rules exist to help cut down on fraud and identity theft.
“You don’t want just anybody to represent themselves as a family member and get somebody else’s birth certificate,” he says.
Meanwhile, back in Odessa, immigration attorney Tatianna Dennis says a lot of the documents are related to job requirements.
“Most of the time the main question is really can I work lawfully, so most of the time people don’t even look at the big picture, well I want to become a citizen right away or you know a permanent resident right away, they just really want to be able to work lawfully,” she tells NewsWest 9.