Brazilian woman convicted of visa fraud conspiracy involving more than 1,000 illegal workers

Hi Gang:
This commentary is predicated on a news release that was posted on the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) website on November 9, 2011 and reports on the conviction (by trial) of Rafaela Dutra Toro, an employee of VR Services and a citizen of Brazil who conspired with two other Brazilian citizens to smuggle over one thousand aliens into the United States and secure visas for them by committing fraud on the applications.  There are a number of important aspects to this case but let us begin by considering that just as the saying goes “There are many ways to skin a cat” there a a number of ways for aliens to enter our nation illegally.
Most people, including the great majority of our elected leaders only address aliens who run our nation’s borders, especially our southern border.  Certainly running our southern border is a commonplace occurrence, even with all of the assertions by Janet Napolitano, that our borders have never been more secure!  Ms Napolitano, the Secretary of DHS, the agency I have come to refer to as the Department of Homeland Surrender, should know better and, likely she does know better, but I suspect that she has decided to “go along to get along!”
Today we will focus on a case in which aliens were able to game the visa process and enter the United States through ports of entry, and not by evading the inspections process.
This is the way that the 19 terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 all entered the United States and is still, obviously an area of great concern that continues to involve a serious threat to national security.
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 Minority Member, Sheila Jackson Lee.  The topic of the
hearing was:

“PUSHING THE BORDER OUT ON ALIEN SMUGGLING: NEW TOOLS AND INTELLIGENCE INITIATIVES”

I made the point at this hearing that in considering smuggling,
visa fraud should be seen as a smuggling tactic, just as running our
nation’s borders or stowing away on ships and other conveyances entering
the United States are considered methods of alien smuggling.  

Here is the link to the transcript of this hearing:

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/judiciary/hju93716.000/hju93716_0f.htm

This is why I have consistently made the  point that any state that has an international airport or a seaport is a border state!

Now here is the real question that the press release does not even
address- where are the more than one thousand smuggled aliens right now?
What, if anything, is being done identify, locate and seek to arrest, prosecute and deport (remove) the more than one thousand illegal aliens whose entry was made possible because of the criminal conspiracies that they all entered into with the defendants in this case?
Last year the other two co-conspirators of this case were sentenced to no more than two years in federal prison for perpetrating this massive fraud upon our nation.  While no one would want to spend time in prison, when you consider how much money was likely generated by this criminal conspiracy and the magnitude of the criminal operation, the jail sentences were, in my judgement, a “slap on the wrist!”
I am curious as to how much time Rafaela Dutra Toro will receive at her sentencing.
There are a few additional issues you should consider.  Brazil has terrorist training camps in what is known as the “Tri-Border Region” where Brazil abuts with Argentina and Paraguay.  These camps are operated by Hamas, Hezbollah and likely- al Qaeda.  At present, Venezuela is playing host to increasing numbers of Iranian shock troops.  I can tell you with absolute certainty- based on my thirty years of experience, that it would not be difficult for a Middle Eastern man or woman to pass himself (herself) off as being a native of Latin America if they spend enough time in Latin America and are provided with appropriate training.
It is a bit disconcerting that the ICE news release did not even identify any of the smuggled aliens by nationality.  It is worrisome that their visa applications were supposed to enable them to work in hotels. and that at least  Consider the terrorist attacks carried out in Mumbai, India in 2008.  These highly coordinated attacks resulted in 164 people being killed and 308 people being wounded and focused on hotels.
In preparation for those extremely violent attacks, terrorists conducted careful surveillance of the hotels and other locations that were subsequently attacked.  It is likely that weapons and ammunition were pre-positiioned in or near locations to be struck.
On several occasions U.S. intelligence agencies disclosed concerns about similar such attacks being carried out in the United States.
Now consider this paragraph from the ICE news release:
                                                                                                               *************************************

To further the conspiracy, they falsely claimed that no payments had been collected from the alien workers, when in fact the workers had actually paid between $350 to $750 each, to be placed on the fraudulent H-2B visa petitions. Through their complex visa fraud and alien smuggling activities, Toro and her co-conspirators supplied foreign workers to more than 100 hotels and allowed more than 1,000 foreign workers to enter and remain in the United States illegally using fraudulently obtained H-2B employment-based visas. An H-2B visa is granted to certain qualified foreign workers seeking temporary employment in the United States.

                                                                                                               *************************************
Even if these aliens had not connections with terrorist organizations, the fact that visa fraud was committed also raises the possibility that at least some of these aliens concealed their true identities.  Might any of them had criminal histories?  Might they have posed a threat to the safety of the patrons of the hotel either from the standpoint of crimes of violence or property crimes? 
Does ICE even have any idea about any of the concerns I have raised above?  Does ICE even have the resources to conduct the appropriate investigations to go beyond the successfully prosecution of the ringleaders of this massive fraud conspiracy?  Let us not lose sight of the fact that each and every one of those aliens who paid for the “services” of those who ran the VR Services company that arranges for those visas are also co-conspirators.  The point is that these aliens also committed felonies through their interaction with those who now stand convicted of their crimes!
Will anyone ever look for these aliens who are now in the United States because of the massive fraud operation?
If these aliens are not pursued and if they are able to remain and work in the United States, a dangerous message is being broadcast across this planet to aliens who may be contemplating coming to the United States in violation of our borders and/or laws- you have nothing to fear!
Think of how this will encourage aspiring illegal aliens to “go for it!”  Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime but under this administration’s policies it is a punishmentless (sic) crime!
Last year Fox News ran a story that addressed the issue of how AQAP  (al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula) was looking to attack the U.S. food supply.
Here is the link to my commentary about that Fox News report in which I also addressed the issue of the two other principle conspirators of this investigation:
Please stop- give this concern a bit of thought.
Think about how many times we have seen reports about how many food processing plants are discovered to have hired large numbers of illegal aliens.  This means that more than likely, there is absolutely no readily available and reliable way of knowing who is working in those food processing plants, handling the food we all eat!
How disconcerting is this?
How vulnerable does this make us?
How in blazes can our “leaders” minimize the significance about the presence of God knows how many millions of illegal aliens are now present in our country working in jobs that have serious national security implications?  While we are told that airports, military bases and nuclear power plants are critical infrastructure- what about our nation’s food supplies?  What about so many other venues that are all but ignored by the folks at DHS and other agencies?
Even on the more mundane matter of how aliens were enabled to take hundreds or perhaps thousands of jobs Americans would take if they had the opportunity?
Once again I will ask a question that should be asked every time a candidate for elected office talks about the need to “create” jobs- What about “LIBERATING” jobs- jobs now being done by foreign workers who ran our nation’s borders or gamed the visa process?
Yet this administration has made it clear that they will do everything imaginable and even unconscionable to not only not seek to remove illegal aliens from our country but seek to provide illegal aliens with employment authorization thereby enabling them to compete with out of work Americans who are losing their tenuous grasp on their sliver of the “American Dream” and perhaps even losing their homes to the specter of foreclosure!
Meanwhile, it is well known that foreign workers not only displace American and lawful immigrant workers in the labor pool, these foreign workers also send as much of the money that they can get their hands on back to their families in their home countries.  This drains tens of billions of dollars out of our nations floundering economy and so this money is not only not earned by American workers, this money is not spent or invested in America!
This creates a lose, lose, lose situation!

It is time for our nation’s leaders, on all levels, to come to terms with the fundamental fact that the purpose of our immigration laws is to protect our nation and our citizens from aliens whose presence has the potential to have a serious adverse impact.  Ignoring those laws exposes our nation and our citizens to a variety of serious threats and challenges ranging from national security and criminal justice and public safety to the economy, the environment, healthcare and education!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

I

our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.  
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
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.  We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

For far too long our citizens demonstrated apathy which 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. 

It is therefore understandable that the politicians of both parties, are greatly concerned about the demonstrations currently sweeping our nation just as did the creation of the Tea Party.  Clearly  more and more of our fellow Americans are demonstrating that they are not as dumb as the politicians from both parties had expected us to be!

I am encouraged that more and more of us, We the People, are not willing to simply sit on the sidelines anymore!

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world.  However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce 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!

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- 


Please check out my website:

       
On Friday evenings from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, I host my show, “The Michael Cutler Hour” on the USA Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio.
I hope you will be listening!  (Please tell your friends and neighbors!)
Here is a link to the program:


The Michael Cutler Hour 
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News Releases

November 9, 2011
Orlando, FL

Brazilian woman convicted of visa fraud conspiracy involving more than 1,000 illegal workers


ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal jury found a Brazilian woman
residing in Orlando guilty of alien smuggling and conspiracy to commit
alien smuggling and worker visa fraud on Monday, following an
investigation that began with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s
(ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Rafaela Dutra Toro, 30, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in
federal prison. She was indicted on Jan. 26. Her sentencing hearing has
not yet been scheduled.

“The individuals involved in this case orchestrated a very large
and very complex visa fraud ring. They took jobs away from U.S. citizens
and others who are legally allowed to work in this country by knowingly
employing people who were not authorized to work in the United States,”
said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI in Tampa. “Through
cases like this one, HSI is helping to protect our economy and preserve
job opportunities from being lost due to fraud.”

Toro is a citizen of Brazil and will be subject to removal from the United States after serving her sentence.

According to evidence presented at trial, Toro worked for VR
Services, a large temporary labor staffing company based in Orlando,
which supplied temporary labor to numerous businesses in the hotel and
hospitality industries throughout Florida and the United States. The
scheme allowed Toro and her co-conspirators to set up a permanent
foreign labor pool that hired illegal alien workers across the United
States in jobs that would normally have been filled by United States
citizens. As part of the conspiracy, Toro and her co-conspirators
submitted false documentation to the government and manipulated the H-2B
foreign worker visa process. They also submitted fake hotel contract
agreements to conceal their activities and falsely reported that U.S.
workers had been hired when they had not.

To further the conspiracy, they falsely claimed that no payments
had been collected from the alien workers, when in fact the workers had
actually paid between $350 to $750 each, to be placed on the fraudulent
H-2B visa petitions. Through their complex visa fraud and alien
smuggling activities, Toro and her co-conspirators supplied foreign
workers to more than 100 hotels and allowed more than 1,000 foreign
workers to enter and remain in the United States illegally using
fraudulently obtained H-2B employment-based visas. An H-2B visa is
granted to certain qualified foreign workers seeking temporary
employment in the United States.

Four co-conspirators previously pled guilty for their roles in
this conspiracy. Wilson and Valeria Barbugli were sentenced in October
2010 to 18 months and 24 months in federal prison, respectively. Their
son, Eduardo Dozzi Barbugli, was sentenced in December 2010 to 20 months
in federal prison. A fourth co-conspirator, Jose Maria Meza Diaz, will
be sentenced later this month.

This case was jointly investigated by the Document and Benefit
Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates
investigations into fraudulent immigration documents. The task force
includes ICE HSI; the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector
General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; the U.S.
Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; and U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services, Fraud Detection and National Security.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie E. Gorman.


You may also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or access this news release on your mobile device.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad
responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For
more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423 or complete our tip form.

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