SEN. SCHUMER'S "COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM" IGNORES LESSONS OF 9/11
January 5, 2010
A news article "Chicago immigration agency a front for terror plot..." in the Chicago Tribune addresses one of the major issues I have been hammering ever since I went public in the days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001- vulnerabilities in the process by which applications for visas and immigration benefits are adjudicated, encouraging massive levels of fraud and consequently a huge threat to national security. In this case the focus is on an individual by the name of Tahawwur Hussain Rana, the owner of First World Immigration Services that, according to federal prosecutors was involved in procuring visas for citizens of Pakistan by lying on their applications for visas. Fraud can be thought of as a lie placed on an application concerning a material fact that, had the truth been known, would have prevented the applicant from receiving the benefit he (she) applied for.
Rana is alleged to have worked in conjunction with David Headley Coleman,
a man is believed to have scouted out the location of the attacks in
A preponderance of foreign nationals (aliens) who have been involved in carrying out terrorist attacks in our nation and other nations have used deception as a major component of their strategies to move freely around the world and across our borders and the borders of many other countries around the world.
The sort of deceptions to which I refer include obtaining official identity documents in false names and/or obtaining counterfeit or identity documents. These documents are often used to obtain visas to cross international borders and documents that enable these terrorists to embed themselves in communities of countries that they either target for terrorist attacks or use as "cash cows" generating funding for terrorist goals. Where the fund raising is concerned, often crimes are committed to generate those funds. These crimes include drug trafficking and so-called white collar crimes such as coupon fraud and insurance fraud. Insurance fraud is particularly pernicious because it often includes arson in which buildings owned by terrorist sympathizers are torched and the insurance money that they are paid is then forwarded to the terrorist organization these individuals are involved with. In some of these fires innocent victims are either killed or grievously injured.
Most people associate the presence of illegal aliens in our country with aliens who run our borders and evade the inspections process. In point of fact, it is estimated that some 40% of all illegal aliens in our country did not run our nation's borders but were actually admitted into the United States and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission into the United States.
When an alien succeeds in committing visa fraud, a tactic that Mr. Rana is alleged to have been involved with, the aliens who are able to enter our country are actually illegally present in our country because they gamed the system and entered the United States under a subterfuge. The article provides the example of an alien who claims to be a cook but actually is not.
Yesterday I was called by CNN to participate in an interview concerning the visa process and how it was involved in the unsuccessful attempted terrorist attack Christmas day, this year.
Immigration fraud and visa fraud provide the aliens who are able to pull this crime off with the appearance of legality. This means that they are provided with a level of credibility to which they are not lawfully entitled. As I have often noted, the only thing worse than no security is false security. Aliens who succeed in committing visa fraud and/or immigration benefit fraud provide examples of malevolent individuals who are accorded that level of credibility that enable them to move freely around our country, across our nation's borders and around the world cloaked in the false identities that they create as a form of camouflage.
While the newspaper details a successful investigation of Mr. Rana, my concern is that there are, no doubt many more practitioners of immigration fraud "out there" who are unknown to our authorities. Their presence in our country and their ability to provide visas and immigration benefits to terrorists and criminals endangers the safety of our nation and our citizens as well as other nations and people around the world.
I have cited a number examples of individuals who have been involved directly or indirectly with terrorism and espionage who exploited vulnerabilities in the immigration benefits program to enter our country and carry out their nefarious objectives, yet our government has dedicated precious few resources to combatting this deadly threat.
There is an absolute lack of resources where the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States is concerned. All too often when politicians are even willing to discuss the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States they only focus on the investigation and punishment of employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens to exploit these vulnerable aliens to maximize their profits and on the identification and removal of aliens who are found guilty of committing felonies.
Certainly these are important components of a strategy to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States and there is an abject lack of resources to accomplish these missions. However, when was the last time that any "leader" even addressed the issue of immigration fraud?
Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano recently echoes statements of Senator Chuck Schumer who claimed that inasmuch as our borders are now secure, it is time to implement Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
First of all, our borders are not secure! Second, the implementation of Comprehensive Immigration Reform would represent a huge challenge to the bureaucracy at the division of DHS known as USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The challenge that this beleaguered agency has absolutely failed to address in a meaningful way is the issue of immigration fraud. USCIS adjudicates over 6 million applications for various immigration benefits each and every year and only has about 600 investigators to attempt to insure the integrity of the system. Another division of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has fewer than 6,000 special agents and many of these agents are engaged in working on the enforcement of customs laws which have absolutely nothing to do with immigration. (Customs laws are involved in the movement of things and currency across national borders while the immigration laws focus on the movement of people across national borders).
A number of General Accountability Office reports of investigations conducted by that agency of the situation at USCIS paint an appalling picture of rampant fraud. The Office of the Inspector General that is responsible for internal investigations into corruption has similarly painted a disturbing picture about the situation at USCIS.
Now imagine that an agency that is utterly incapable of addressing rampant fraud at the present time is required to suddenly deal with ten or twenty million applications for amnesty filed by illegal aliens who have no reliable documentation to attest to their true identities. Imagine that the adjudicators would have to process one hundred thousand additional applications each and every day filed by millions of illegal aliens without a shred of reliable documentation to know who they are dealing with. There would be no verifiable way of knowing the names of these illegal aliens. There would be no way of knowing their true nationalities. There would, therefore, be no reliable way of knowing anything about the background of many of these illegal aliens including possible criminal histories or suspected affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations. There would not even be any way of knowing how, where or when these illegal aliens entered the United States!
Think about how often we have heard that as long as these aliens have been present in the United States for a specified period of time and paying their taxes that they would be permitted to be put on the path to United States citizenship. Here is the reality- an illegal alien would walk into an immigration office and claim to have resided in the United States for a number of years. In support of this claim he (she) would provide rent receipts, utility bills and pay statements.
However: What will the adjudicator do when the illegal alien provides all of these documents in another name, or worse, a number of names, claiming to have used several false names along the way? Now remember, the clock is ticking and if USCIS is to process a minimum of 100,000 applications each and every day- how much time will the adjudicator have to make a decision? Let us be optimistic and say that the adjudicator will have 5 minutes to decide- what do you suspect the adjudicator will do?
I can tell you what he will do- he will approve the application because that is the easiest way of getting rid of an application so he could move on to the next application and meet the quotas that USCIS will have established for their hapless employees.
If you wonder where I got the number of 100,000 applications every day- it was what was proposed in the legislation for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that was defeated in the United States Senate during the summer of 2007.
I also know that the proponents for Comprehensive Immigration Reform have stated that every application would undergo a "Security Check." This is more smoke and mirrors. If an alien who was involved in terrorism made certain to not come into contact with law enforcement and had, therefore, never been fingerprinted, then that alien's fingerprints would come up "clean."
Next, the adjudicator would run the name the alien placed on the application for amnesty through a computerized database. If the name was fictitious, it would certainly come back "no record" as well. If a terrorist suspected that his true name was on a terror watch list, all he would have to do is provide a false name to beat the system!
Because the name and fingerprints of an alien would come back without triggering any derogatory information, USCIS would, within 24 or perhaps 48 hours, issue that alien a temporary official identity document that the alien would immediately be able to use to receive a Social Security card, a driver's license, a library card, credit cards and other such documents to create a complete identity that would enable him to get a job, travel freely around our country and gain access to airports, airliners, government and private office buildings.
To predict the future you do not need a crystal ball, you just need a television and listen to our nation's "leaders", including members of the administration spout their nonsense about the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, to understand how dangerous this insane program would be. This is why when I wrote my commentary for the Washington Times when the Senate was taking up Comprehensive Immigration Reform two and a half years ago, I came to refer to it as actually being the "Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act!"
The title of my Op-Ed Piece was, Immigration Bill a "No Go."
On May 18, 2004, I was called to testify before a hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims by the then ranking member of the subcommittee, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. The title of that hearing was:
PUSHING THE BORDER OUT ON ALIEN SMUGGLING: NEW TOOLS AND INTELLIGENCE INITIATIVES
While the hearing was to initially only going to focus on the issue of alien smuggling in which aliens were smuggled across our nation's borders in a manner that evaded the inspections process, I urged the members of the subcommittee to include my concerns about immigration benefit fraud and those who facilitated that fraud at that hearing. I raised this issue in the following segment of my prepared testimony:
"I would also suggest that the efforts to facilitate cultivating informants in alien-smuggling cases also be used in conjunction with informants who similarly assist in providing information that leads to the elimination or disruption of large-scale fraud rings. Traditionally, these rings either furnish many fraudulent documents to circumvent components of the Immigration and Nationality Act or devise schemes which, on a large scale, provides aliens with a means of obtaining immigration benefits—such as residency and citizenship—to which they are not entitled through such schemes as marriage fraud and labor certification fraud. I make these recommendations in view of the fact that, according to recent GAO reports, fraud is highly prevalent in the immigration benefits program."
It is important to note that in response to my concerns, Ms. Jackson Lee drafted legislation to address this area of great concern. The problem is that immigration and visa fraud are still huge problems and constitute, in my judgement, a true national security nightmare!
On May 11, 2006, I was called to testify before the House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the topic:
Our nation still refuses to effectively address vulnerabilities that, in my nightmares, results in terrorist attacks that surpass the horrors of the attacks of September 11, 2001. What is utterly unacceptable is that we have a clear understanding of the nature of our adversaries. And yet our nation's "leaders" continue to ignore the great threats and the vulnerabilities that each and every day endanger our nation and our citizens!
This is a dereliction of duty that is unforgivable!
The first step in solving problems is to identify the problems- clearly our nation's leaders are refusing to accept the reality of the situation! Their refusal jeopardizes our nation's security and the lives of our citizens!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
Any politician who refuses to work to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity, is either corrupt or too dumb to keep his (her) job. Any politician, irrespective of party affiliation who favors health care for illegal aliens and/or Comprehensive Immigration Reform should be shown the door at the next election!
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.
Next year each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Next year more than one third of the members of the United States Senate will have to face their constituents. They need to be reminded that they work for us, We the People!
However, the practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there. The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups.
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There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in making our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.