With great power comes great responsibility, and it is difficult to deny that officers of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have a great deal of power. It is these officers that have the authority to approve applications and ultimately grant citizenship. For these reasons, USCIS officers are responsible for preserving the impartiality and just nature of the government. One former officer out of the Los Angeles USCIS location, repeatedly fell short of the ethical standard set for the job and it was recently brought to light. Daniel Espejo Amos was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from aspiring immigrants.
Mr. Amos pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of accepting cash bribes after it was discovered in an investigation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Through this investigation, it became apparent that he had accepted more than $53,000 in bribes from immigration consultants on behalf of foreign nationals who typically would not be eligible for United States citizenship. It is estimated that Amos helped at least 60 aliens obtain citizenship in exchange for a bribe. The ways in which he assisted them was by falsely certifying the immigrants had met requirements, including the English competency test, the civics test, and the naturalization interview.
Daniel Amos not only sought after personal wealth gain at the expense of the American people, but also “undermined our naturalization system and damaged the public’s faith in the government,” as United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker puts it. He had an oath to uphold that he violated on multiple occasions, warranting the sentence imposed by the court.
It is a shame that there are government officials whose actions threaten the integrity of of our nation’s legal immigration system, but this is why investigative arms exist in the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration is a process that many good people take the time to go through legally so it would be unjust to allow such bribes to continue.