Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate
Matthew D. Emrich is the associate director of the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created FDNS in 2004 in order to strengthen USCIS’s efforts to ensure immigration benefits are not granted to individuals who pose a threat to national security or public safety, or who seek to defraud our immigration system. In 2010, FDNS was promoted to a Directorate which elevated the profile of this work within USCIS, brought about operational improvements, and enhanced the integration of the FDNS mission in all facets of the agency’s work. Today FDNS continues to lead the USCIS effort to ensure the integrity of the nation’s immigration benefits processes.
FDNS’s primary mission is to determine whether individuals or organizations filing for immigration benefits pose a threat to national security, public safety, or the integrity of the nation’s legal immigration system. FDNS officers are located in every USCIS Center, District, Field, and Asylum Office. FDNS officers are also located in other government agencies.
Supporting the USCIS mission, FDNS’s objective is to enhance USCIS’s effectiveness and efficiency in detecting and removing known and suspected fraud from the application process, thus promoting the efficient processing of legitimate applications and petitions.
What We Do
FDNS officers resolve background check information and other concerns that surface during the processing of immigration benefit applications and petitions. Resolution often requires communication with law enforcement or intelligence agencies to make sure that the information is relevant to the applicant or petitioner at hand and, if so, whether the information would have an impact on eligibility for the benefit.
FDNS officers also perform checks of USCIS databases and public information, as well as other administrative inquiries, to verify information provided on, and in support of, applications and petitions. Administrative inquiries may include:
- Performance of fraud assessments – FDNS officers engage in fraud assessments (including Benefit Fraud and Compliance Assessments) to determine the types and volumes of fraud in certain immigration benefits programs;
- Compliance Reviews – Systematic reviews of certain types of applications or petitions to ensure the integrity of the immigration benefits system, and
- Targeted site visits – Inquiries conducted in cases where fraud is suspected.
FDNS uses the Fraud Detection and National Security Data System (FDNS-DS) to identify fraud and track potential patterns.
USCIS has formed a partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in which FDNS pursues administrative inquiries into most application and petition fraud, while ICE conducts criminal investigations into major fraud conspiracies.
Additional FDNS Functions
FDNS also conducts Benefit Fraud and Compliance Assessments to identify the types and volumes of fraud and develop mitigation strategies to deter and disrupt fraud.
In July 2009, FDNS implemented the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) to conduct unannounced site inspections to verify information contained in certain visa petitions. USCIS provides petitioners and their representatives of record (if any) an opportunity to review and address the information before denying or revoking an approved petition based on information obtained during a site inspection. To find out more about ASVVP, please see the ASVVP page