A U.S. immigration official has been arrested. He is accused of approving hundreds of fraudulent identity cards for farm workers seeking amnesty in exchange for more than $250,000 in bribes, authorities said.
Joseph Gourgue, an adjudicator in the Hialeah legalization office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, accepted the money in exchange for processing 500 to 600 doctored identity cards under the Special Agricultural Workers amnesty program, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court."Unfortunately, the SAW program as enacted by Congress is highly vulnerable to fraud," said Perry Rivkind, INS district director. "Most immigration officials and employees are hard-working, honest people. However, some may be motivated by greed along with a lack of integrity as in other professions."
Gourgue was arrested Friday on a charge of bribery of a public official and was being held on $100,000 bond at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center.
According to the affidavit by INS special agent William H. Morris, Gourgue's duties included approving or rejecting temporary work permits and residency cards.