Posted: Aug 04, 2015 5:59 PM PST
Updated: Aug 04, 2015 8:30 PM PST
By Zora Asberry, NewsWest 9 Reporter


The Odessa Police Department is dealing with an increasing problem, people that have fake documents, and many are believed to be illegal immigrants. Odessa Police say they are seeing these cases weekly and sometimes even on a daily basis. Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information can be having a fake social security card, fake resident card, or fake Texas I.D.

Cpl. Steve LeSueur, with the Odessa Police Department, said "If we come in contact with someone or even arrest somebody, we're not going to ask that person if they're an illegal alien. However, if it is determined that somebody is possibly illegal, then they basically get booked into the jail and they can be turned over to Homeland Security."

When making these arrests police say it's fairly easily to spot a fake document.

"It's usually pretty obvious, a lot of the times the person sometimes won't say anything, sometimes they will give us a reason or an explanation as to why they have it, but regardless of the reason it's a state jail felony," said LeSueur.

Tatianna Dennis, an Immigration Attorney out of Odessa, tells NewsWest 9 that a lot of immigrants don't have the option to become citizens. Sometimes they are here on a work visa or a student visa, but once that expires they become illegal or undocumented. Others are married to a spouse that is legal but they are not.

"Many people flee threats to their life, many people flee extreme poverty, you know we can't judge their background, but once they're already here, believe me nobody really likes that they are unlawful, everybody wishes they could legalize their status, but not everybody can," said Dennis.

Officials say in many cases illegal immigrants get false papers and identification so they can find jobs in the U.S.

"Most of the time the main question is really can I work lawfully, so most of the time people don't even look at the big picture, well I want to become a citizen right away or you know a permanent resident right away, they just really want to be able to work lawfully," said Dennis.

That's where Immigration Attorney's like Tatiana Dennis come in, helping undocumented immigrants be able to work and live lawfully in the U.S. There are also resources like the Catholic Charities of Odessa that help immigrants gain the proper status through programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and through immigrant and non-immigrant petitions.