Oct. 29, 2002 – Police say an illegal alien is now in the hands of the Immigration and Naturalization Service after officers caught him at a traffic stop with a V.I. voter registration card and a Puerto Rican birth certificate, both obtained fraudulently.
What the man didn't have when he was pulled over on St. Thomas was a driver's license, according to Police Commissioner Franz Christian.
When police asked the man, whose name was not released, to present identification, Christian said, he showed them the V.I. voter registration card. But the man also said he had been in the territory less than six months.
Since immigrants must be naturalized citizens in order to vote, Christian said, the police at the traffic stop suspected something was amiss; so, they asked the driver how he got the voter I.D. The cardholder told them that he had used a birth certificate. And then he told them how he got that document.
"He explained to them he paid for a birth certificate, and that the birth certificate came from a Santo Domingan who was traveling back and forth to Puerto Rico," Christian said.
Earlier this year, the commissioner said, V.I. authorities were notified of the theft of a large block of blank birth certificates from the neighboring commonwealth. "These birth papers were blank, but they had the seal on them," he said.
Authorities believe between 8,500 and 11,000 certificates were stolen. Anyone could fill in the blanks and instantly "become" a citizen of Puerto Rico, Christian said.
Police alerted Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. to the phony voter card, and authorities said he was checking his records to see if other applicants recently registered to vote in the territory by presenting Puerto Rican birth certificates.
Police are asking business people and others in the community to keep an eye out for anyone presenting questionable identity documents, and to call the police if they see anything suspicious.
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