Election Section

INS clerks admit scheme to sell work permits

Wednesday July 10, 2002

SAN DIEGO — Two clerks at a busy immigration office have admitted to issuing bogus work permits to at least 100 illegal immigrants. 

Ruben Marquez, a clerk with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, pleaded guilty Monday to issuing the work authorization cards to immigrants who paid between $3,000 and $4,000 each. 

The cards normally cost $100. 

Marquez, who began working for the INS last year, operated the machine that produced the cards but did not have authorization to decide who received them. 

Roberto Barajas, another INS clerk, admitted to using his badge to wave the illegal immigrants through security at the downtown federal building. 

Federal authorities arrested the men after Marquez issued a fraudulent card to an undercover agent. 

A third man, Jeovanny Pascano, also pleaded guilty in the case and admitted that he escorted illegal immigrants to the federal building. 

The three face up to five years in prison when they are sentenced Sept. 30.