For prices starting at $50, two nonfederally recognized Indian tribes are offering membership to thousands of illegal immigrants, claiming they can achieve legal status by joining the groups.
In Nebraska, some people reported paying up to $1,200 to join the Kaweah Indian Nation, which became the target of a federal investigation after complaints about the tribe arose in at least five states.
Manuel Urbina, the tribe’s high chief, acknowleged his group has sold at least 10,000 tribal memberships to illegal immigrants for about $50 each. “We are not going against the law, we’re with the law,” he said, claiming membership papers can help illegal immigrants avoid being detained by authorities if they are asked for documents.
The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs denied the Kaweah group recognition in 1985.
because it was not a real tribe.