- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2005

Illegal aliens who entered the United States by purchasing bogus documents from a Potomac lawyer must leave if they cannot provide legal documentation, federal officials say.

“Their paperwork is invalid, and they’ll have to resubmit in some timely fashion,” said Vickie LeDuc, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland. “Without the proper paperwork, they would be subject to deportation.”

The announcement was made after the sentencing Thursday of immigration lawyer Maqsood Mir to 78 months in prison. Mir was found guilty April 14 of filing 144 false labor certifications, which allowed illegal aliens to enter and remain in the country.

Prosecutors said Mir, 52, engaged in a scheme with Mohammad Bajwa, a 39-year-old Herndon businessman, in which they filed applications with the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of illegal aliens from 1998 to 2003.

The certifications stated the aliens were sponsored by U.S. employers, which allowed the foreigners into the country. However, testimony showed that some of the aliens did not exist and that many employers knew nothing about their sponsorship of the aliens.

Mir and Bajwa are naturalized U.S. citizens from Pakistan. Bajwa also has been convicted in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 7, said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Miss LeDuc said investigators are not sure how many aliens bought false documents because some spent $10,000 to $40,000 for multiple documents, but estimates put the number at more than 100.

Federal officials said closing the prosecution case on Mir will allow investigators to focus on finding the aliens, who either knowingly or unknowingly purchased the false certifications.

Miss Fobbs said officials will review the aliens’ cases, then take “appropriate actions.”

She also said the illegal aliens would have to repeat the immigration process.

Mir’s law firm, Mir Law Associates LLC, and Bajwa’s construction company, New Superstar Corp., also were convicted for conspiracy to submit false labor certifications and for other immigration frauds.

Judge Alexander Williams Jr. also sentenced Mir to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine. Mir Law Associates must pay a $200,000 fine.

Others convicted as a result of the three-year investigation include Abdul Javaid and Zulfiqar Ali. Ali was sentenced Sept. 19 to 15 months in prison. Javaid is scheduled to be sentenced next Monday.

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