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Anorak | For £50 Immigrants Can Join America’s Kaweah Indian Nation

For £50 Immigrants Can Join America’s Kaweah Indian Nation

by | 18th, August 2007

WHO was in America first? So who gets to say who stays?

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – For prices starting at $50, two nonfederally recognized Indian tribes are offering membership to thousands of illegal immigrants, claiming they can achieve legal status by joining the groups.

But immigration authorities insist becoming a tribe member gives no protection against being deported. And immigration advocates condemn the practice, saying it defrauds immigrants of money and gives them false hope.

“You can’t just decide to become a member of a tribe and all of a sudden legalize your status,” said Marilu Cabrera, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In Nebraska, some people reported paying up to $1,200 to join the Kaweah Indian Nation, which became the target of a federal investigation after complaints about the tribe arose in at least five states.

Manuel Urbina, the tribe’s high chief, acknowleged his group has sold at least 10,000 tribal memberships to illegal immigrants for about $50 each.

“We are not going against the law, we’re with the law,” he said, claiming membership papers can help illegal immigrants avoid being detained by authorities if they are asked for documents.

Should it work?



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