26 Individuals, Including Six Lawyers, Charged In Manhattan Federal Court W/ Participating In Immigration Fraud Schemes Involving Hundreds Of Fraudulent Asylum Applications

Hi Gang:
Nearly every discussion about immigration these days involve the failures to secure the southern border of the United States and the need to make the E-Verify program mandatory.  Most recently the discussions about immigration are most likely to focus on the administration’s ongoing assault on the effective enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States and the need to provide “pathways to citizenship” for unknown millions- likely tens of millions of illegal aliens, even though there is no way of knowing who most of these foreign nationals are nor is their any easy way of determining the veracity of any claims that aliens who evaded the inspections process will make in their applications for amnesty.  This is also a key problem where the ongoing massive deferred action program that the administration has implemented for illegal alien “DREAMERS.”
Time and again I have provided testimony before various Congressional hearings about the utter lack of integrity to the various immigration benefit programs that provide aliens with lawful status and even United States citizenship.  This was also a major factor in the testimony I provided to the 9/11 Commission.
Today I was surfing the internet to see what is going on in the wacky world of immigration and came upon a new release that was issued by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York on December 18, 2012- just a couple of weeks ago.  There have been no reports of this story on news programs that would rather run stories about muggings or examples of celebrities running amok!
Here is the title of the news release:

“Applications Containing Fabricated Claims of Persecution Were Allegedly Submitted By at Least 10 New York City Law Firms”

Do you think if the law firms were involved in tax evasion or some other area of criminality that the story would not have made headlines?  Where immigration is concerned the narrative is more important than the truth!  As a result- this major story will likely not be discussed on television or radio programs or written about in newspapers!
Since you are not likely to see this press release anywhere else, I have attached it, in its entirety, below.
Before we delve into the particulars of this story I want you to know a bit about my own background so that you will, hopefully, better appreciate my perspectives.
When I was a high school student I was the president of a local B’nai B’rith group.  B’nai B’rith is a Jewish organization that is involved in social and religious programs.  One of the projects that we became involved with, back in the mid 1960’s was to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in a demonstration involving many diverse groups, to ask that then President Lyndon B. Johnson convince the leaders of the Soviet Union to permit Jews and other religious minorities to leave the Soviet Union to go to whatever countries would have them, so that they could adhere to their religious beliefs and freely worship.  The demonstration involved thousands of people.  Dr. Ralph Abernathy attended the event and read a statement of support written by Dr. Martin Luther King.  Other dignitaries also spoke at this huge demonstration that took place across the street from the White House.  President Johnson sent a telegram that was read by the leaders of the event in which he commended us for our efforts and promised he would do whatever he could to pressure the leaders of the Soviet Union to let those people leave.
In October, 1971 I was sworn in as an Immigration Inspector at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.  During my four years at JFK I was always happy to admit refugees who came to the United States from the Soviet Union because I felt that this “closed the circle.”
When effectively administered, political asylum is an example of moral decency.  Providing safe havens for oppressed people is a worthwhile action.  
Of course the United States must not bear the entire burden but it must be shared with it allies around the world.  However, it is certainly a wonderful example of altruism when those who are granted political asylum are truly deserving.  The problem is that there is little integrity to any of the programs administered by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.)  The consequence of this lack of integrity can actually be a threat to national security.
In January 1993 a Pakistani national by the name of Mir Kansi stood outside CIA Headquarters with an AK-47 and opened fire on the vehicles of CIA officials reporting for work on that cold January morning in Virginia.  When the smoke dissipated, 2 CIA officer lay dead and three other were seriously wounded.  Kansi fled the United States and was ultimately brought back to stand trial.  He was found guilty and executed for his crimes.  He had also been granted political asylum and had been subsequently found to have lied on his application, thereby committing fraud.

Of 94 terrorists who were identified, by the 9/11 Commission, as operating in our country in the decade leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, some 59 or roughly two thirds of them were found to have committed immigration fraud to enter our country and/or embed themselves in our country. 

The 9/11 Commission Report that provided an in-depth analysis of how the terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 were able to enter the United States in the first place and then manage to game the immigration benefits program which enabled them to embed themselves in our country.  The 9/11 Commission also prepared a Monograph on Terrorist Travel which focused on these issues as well.

Here is a link to the 9/11 Staff Report (Monograph) on Terrorist Travel in its entirety:

http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/staff_statements/911_TerrTrav_Monograph.pdf

Here is are two important excerpt from the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel.

First of all, here is the first paragraph from the preface of that report:

“It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the

United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.”

Here is a paragraph under the title “Immigration Benefits” found on page 98:

Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving

temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.”

Yet USCIS continues to demonstrate ineptitude and incompetence on a scale that truly boggles the mind!  In fact, you may not know this, but the current administration program for DREAMERS does not even require that the aliens who apply for participating in this program even be subjected to any in-person interview!
On July 30, 2012 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) posted my commentary that was entitled:
On December 17, 2012 CAPS posted my commentary that was entitled:
Let us now go back and give some thought to the case that was the focus of the press release.  You will notice that it was reported that hundreds of aliens allegedly gamed the political asylum program and yet, as is almost invariably the case, there was not a single word in that lengthy press release about any efforts being expended to identify and/or locate any of those aliens who succeeded in gaming the political asylum program to enter the United States by committing fraud!
While the press release noted that 26 individuals- most of whom were employees of law firms including several attorneys, were charged with fraud and conspiring to commit fraud, in point of fact, every alien who sought the services of these law firms to allegedly provide false statements in support of their applications are also co-conspirators.  This point was never discussed in the news release nor was the fact that if, in fact, fraud was involved in their applications, that they are subject to criminal prosecution and to deportation from the United States as required by both the criminal and administrative provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The lack of integrity to the immigration benefits program is the reason that I have come to refer to “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” legislation by a more honest and descriptive name- the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act” 
On June 22, 2007 the Washington Times published my commentary entitled:
I suggested it be renamed the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act” because it would have required the inept and incompetent division USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to provide official identity documents to millions of illegal aliens who, in the parlance of the immigration anarchists are “undocumented.”  This would provide ample opportunities for terrorists to obtain brand new “clean” identities that they could then use to circumvent various “no fly” and terror watch lists and embed themselves in the United States, traveling freely and legally working in jobs that might have critical infrastructure implications or national security implications!
Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts nearly every challenge and threat confronting the United States today!

If our government’s failures to protect American jobs by securing our nation’s borders and effectively enforcing our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

If you like this commentary, kindly forward it to as many folks as you can and ask them to do the same- I am attempting to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

-michael cutler- 



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Twenty-Six Individuals, Including Six Lawyers, Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Participating In Immigration Fraud Schemes Involving Hundreds Of Fraudulent Asylum Applications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Applications Containing Fabricated Claims of Persecution Were Allegedly Submitted By at Least 10 New York City Law Firms

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Raymond W. Kelly, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), and Patricia A. Menges, the Director of the New York Asylum Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced today the unsealing of nine Indictments charging a total of 26 defendants with allegedly participating in separate but overlapping immigration fraud schemes related to the submission of hundreds of asylum applications containing fabricated claims of persecution. As alleged in the Indictments, at least 10 New York City area law firms created and submitted these fraudulent applications on behalf of alien applicants and coached them on how to lie to immigration authorities. Of the 26 defendants charged, 21 work at the various law firms, six as attorneys. Also charged are four translators who work at an asylum office in Queens, New York; and an employee at a church in Queens where she allegedly provides training in basic Christianity to asylum applicants falsely claiming to have been persecuted in China for their religious beliefs. Twenty-one defendants were taken into custody late this morning and will be presented and arraigned this afternoon and tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. Of the remaining defendants, two will be surrendering tomorrow and three are at large. U.S. District Judges Ronnie Abrams, Robert P. Patterson, Sidney H. Stein, Victor Marrero, John G. Koeltl, and William H. Pauley III have been assigned to these cases.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Our asylum laws exist to provide a safe haven in the United States to immigrants subject to persecution in their own countries for exercising freedoms fundamental to a democracy. As alleged, these defendants, including six attorneys and a church employee, exploited those laws by weaving elaborate fictions on behalf of hundreds of would-be asylum seekers, coaching them on how to lie on their applications, stepping in when they went off script, and lying to immigration judges at court hearings. Asylum fraud imposes a tremendous burden on the system and it also makes it more difficult for those who are legitimately seeking refuge in this country.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos: “The defendants allegedly conspired criminally to exploit the safe haven our nation provides for asylum-seekers. They aided and abetted immigrants in falsely claiming to be victims of persecution. Some of the defendants are officers of the court who have violated the canons of their profession as well as the law. Others, including a church employee, used religion like a fake passport or phony ID – a perversion of religious freedom. The FBI is committed to policing unscrupulous exploitation of the asylum process.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “Those who allegedly exploit the government’s asylum process for profit potentially put the country at risk by enabling the immigration of people with false identities and unknown histories. While the NYPD is not investigating individual applicants for asylum, detectives will work with their federal partners to arrest anyone who exploits the system at others’ expense and potentially blocks legitimate asylum seekers from access to better lives in the process.”

USCIS New York Asylum Office Director Patricia A. Menges stated: “I want to thank the FBI and the NYPD for helping us protect the asylum program against exploitation and fraud so that we may again concentrate on those in need of protection.”

According to the allegations in the nine Indictments unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

Pursuant to federal immigration law, in order to obtain asylum in the U.S., aliens are required to show that they have suffered persecution in their country of origin on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, or have a well-founded fear of persecution if they were to return to that country. The process requires an application that is reviewed by an asylum officer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who makes an initial determination whether to grant asylum. If asylum is denied, the case is referred to an Immigration Judge, who receives testimony from the applicant and hears argument from the applicant’s attorney.

The schemes alleged in today’s Indictments involved the submission of hundreds of fraudulent asylum applications on behalf of Chinese aliens by law firms in the Chinatown area of Manhattan and Queens. The defendants – lawyers and employees at 10 different law firms and their co-conspirators – including translators who work at an asylum office, profited by creating and submitting asylum applications containing false stories of persecution purportedly suffered by alien applicants. The defendants who worked at the law firms also provided the asylum applicants with educational materials related to their fabricated claims and coached the applicants to lie in their interviews with immigration authorities.

To perpetuate these schemes, the law firms made up stories of persecution that often followed one of three fact patterns: (a) forced abortions performed pursuant to China’s family planning policy; (b) persecution based on the client’s belief in Christianity; or (c) political or ideological persecution, typically for membership in China’s Democratic Party or against followers of Falun Gong.

Typically, non-lawyer employees at the law firms, acting at the direction of the attorneys, prepared the false asylum applications and coached the clients on how to lie in their interviews with immigration authorities. A translator provided by the law firms usually accompanied the client to the interview, and falsely translated any answers provided by the applicant that did not conform to the fabricated story presented to the asylum officer. In some cases where the client was not actually a Christian but was claiming persecution based on religious affiliation, an employee at one of the law firms referred the client to a church in Queens to receive training in the basic tenets of Christianity and to obtain certificates proving that he or she belonged to the church.

If an application was denied by the asylum officer, an attorney from the law firm assumed representation of the client before an Immigration Judge. In advance of the hearing, the attorney would typically meet with the client to prepare him or her for the hearing. At these preparation sessions, the attorney frequently instructed the client on what to say to ensure that nothing was said that contradicted the story that the law firm had fabricated. At the hearing, the client would falsely testify under oath in response to the attorney’s questioning about the fictitious story of persecution.

*                      *                      *

All 26 defendants are charged with conspiring to commit immigration fraud. Five defendants are also charged with substantive counts of immigration fraud and two defendants are charged with identity fraud in connection with the sale of fake Chinese birth certificates. A chart containing the names, ages and residence information of the defendants charged in each of the nine Indictments is attached.

In United States v. Ken Giles, et al., both defendants face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. In United States v. Freddy Jacobs et al., both defendants face a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. In United States v. Liying Lin, a/k/a “the Deacon,” the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison. In United States v. John Wang, et al., two of the four defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The remaining 19 defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI, the NYPD, and USCIS.

This investigation was initiated upon a referral by the New York Asylum Office, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Harris Fischman and Robert Boone are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

12-381

PDF cannot be displayed.

U.S. v. Liu, et al Indictment(PDF)

U.S. v. Ken Giles and Hong Che Indictment(PDF)

U.S. v. Liying Lin Indictment(PDF)

U.S. v. Xu Lu and Huan Wang Indictment(PDF)

U.S. Wang, et al Indictment(PDF)

U.S. v. Xia Ping Wen Indictment(PDF)

U.S. v. Xiao Feng Xu Indictment(PDF)

U.S. v. Freddy Jacobs and Fnu Yang, Indictment(PDF)

U.S. v. Zhang et al Indictment(PDF)

 



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