EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- A growing number of migrants in South El Paso can be seen carrying manila folders, which are typically given to migrants who have been given a Notice to Appear form before they are released by federal authorities.
However, some migrants might be carrying false documents.
On Thursday, KTSM 9 News crews witnessed a person taking money and handing over one of the folders.
A man from Venezuela showed KTSM what he had in the folder, and it wasn’t an NTA form. The document inside was an I-797C form from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
“Yes, through (The CBP One app), you go through that page and you print out your documents,” said Adrian Eduardo Diaz Diaz, of Venezuela.
The top of Diaz’s form said, in bold lettering, “THIS NOTICE DOES NOT GRANT ANY IMIGRATION STATUS OR BENEFIT”.
According to the USCIS website, that form is a Notice of Action to the applicant or a petitioner.
“USCIS will send Form I-797C, Notice of Action, to an applicant/petitioner in order to communicate information related to notices of: receipt; rejection; transfer; re-open; and appointment (fingerprint, biometric capture, interview, rescheduled),” the USCIS website says.
On the other hand, an NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge, which is common for newly processed migrants who have been legally released by federal authorities.
An NTA “is the first step in starting removal proceedings against them,” according to the USCIS website.
A spokesperson with the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector did confirm that the Notice of Action form is not the document migrants received after being processed by Border Patrol agents.
“Transnational criminal organizations utilize this event or the situations to get more money from the migrants and sell them fake accounts, fake documentations,” said Claudio Herrera, a spokesman for Border Patrol El Paso Sector.
Herrera said the migrants may not even know that what they are receiving is fake.
“They don’t know how a fake document looks like. They don’t know how a real document looks like,” said Herrera. “Most of this documentation will be officially and signed by an immigration official.”