The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against a grandmother living in Florida to “denaturalize” her, the Miami Herald reported Monday.
It's part of a new push by the Trump administration to revoke the citizenship of people who committed offenses before becoming American citizens.
Norma Borgono, 63, immigrated from Peru in 1989. She is reportedly being targeted by the federal government because of her connection to a $24 million fraud scheme more than a decade ago.
Borgono worked at Texon Inc., an export company, the Herald reported, where her boss doctored loan applications filed with the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
Borgono helped with the paperwork as his secretary, according to the report. But she did not make any money off the scheme and in fact cooperated with federal investigators and helped the FBI put her boss in prison.
She took a plea deal in May 2012 and was sentenced to one year of house arrest, four years of probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution. She picked up an extra job to pay off the restitution and was relieved from her sentence early, the newspaper noted.
The Justice Department, however, is arguing that Borgono lied on her application for citizenship. Borgono's supporters say she had not been charged when she applied.
The citizenship application asked: "Have you ever committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit, a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?"
"Nobody who obtained U.S. citizenship by deliberately assuming a false identity will be surprised to learn that they are being referred to the Justice Department for denaturalization proceedings," U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a statement to the Herald.
"USCIS screens for deliberate acts of fraud relating to forgery or the use of false identities, and we go to great lengths to ensure individuals aren’t susceptible to instances of error, misunderstanding, or special circumstances."
Borgono’s daughter, Urpi Ríos, gave birth to her first child in March — just days before Borgono got her legal notice.
"I don’t know what’s going to happen if she goes to Peru," Ríos told the Herald. "We have nothing there."
Her options are to fight the lawsuit or face deportation, the family said.
Ríos is worried her mother, who suffers from a rare kidney disorder, will not be able to access proper medical care if she is deported back to Peru.
“For everything that she did wrong, that she cooperated on, that she paid her debt to society for, now they want to send her away to die over there?" she asked.
The Department of Homeland Security is devoting $207.6 million to look at possible cases of citizenship fraud and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be hiring an additional 300 investigators, according to their proposed fiscal 2019 budget, the Herald reported.