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ARGUED SEPTEMBER 9, 2010

Before WOOD, EVANS, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

“Operation Durango” was a sting operation conducted jointly by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the FBI, and the Social Security Administration from 1998 to 2001. Briefly put, some individuals seeking permanent resident status in the United States were brought to a storefront that appeared to be a travel agency by a “broker,” who then introduced them to an undercover agent posing as a corrupt immigration officer. In exchange for a fee considerably higher than normal (here, $5,000 compared to around $200 for a regular application), the undercover agent would place stamps in the individuals’ passports indicating legal permanent resident status. Usually, the brokers caught up in the operation were prosecuted criminally, while the individuals who sought permanent resident status were referred for removal proceedings. See generally Mozdzen v. Holder, ___ F.3d ___ , 2010 WL 3463705, at *1 (7th Cir. Sept. 7, 2010) (describing Operation Durango). The petitioner, Grazyna Ewa Pawlowska, a native and citizen of Poland, was one of the latter individuals.*fn1

 
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