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From July 27, 2007

Every couple of days I get asked by a foreign born person if one can buy his or her way into an Indian tribe in hopes of eventually obtaining a green card.

The answer: No. Generally, you can only obtain membership in an Indian tribe by being born to one or more Native American parents who are eligible for enrollment in a recognized tribe.

In Oklahoma City, the rumor goes that many ministers in one of the immigrant communities mistakenly bought into this scam and encouraged members of their churches to spend money to enroll. The scam artists involved created a fictional Indian tribe. Supposedly, the sellers of these tribal memberships said that membership in the tribe qualified you to get a Social Security number. And, a Social Security number qualified you to get a green card. I’ve heard that the sellers got between $50 and $500 per membership in their fictional tribe.

Do not fall for this scam. It could lead to a possible charge of false claim of United States citizenship, which can prevent an immigrant from qualifying for all future immigration benefits.

If you know somebody selling these tribal memberships, then you should report them to the police.