20 charged with posing as Cuban nationals

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.

MIAMI — Federal authorities have charged 20 people with trying to claim immigration benefits by posing as Cuban nationals.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the charges on Wednesday.

The indictments were made as part of Operation Havana Gateway. The law enforcement probe seeks to crack down on what authorities describe as a rising trend of immigrant fraud based on false claims to Cuban birth and citizenship.

Nearly all Cubans who reach U.S. shores are allowed to stay under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy.

Investigators say people have paid thousands of dollars for fictitious Cuban birth certificates and then used those documents to fraudulently apply for immigration benefits.

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