ICE returns fugitive pedophile wanted for child rape, extortion to Belgium Agents captured the Belgian man in Central Florida late last year

Hi Gang:
Yesterday, July 6th, ICE posted a news release that reported on ICE, working in cooperation with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, located and arrested a citizen of Belgium by the name of Andy Vertoont.  He was reported arrested at his place of employment on November 12, 2010 and, according to the news release was admitted to the United States udner the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program on October 1, 2009.
According to the news release Mr. Vertoont was sought and arrested pursuant to a request by the government of Belgium, that efforts be made to locate this individual and return him to his home country where he is wanted for the rape of a 12 year old boy in June, 2009 and was awaiting trial for that heinous crime when he fled to the United States to evade law enforcement.  The news report additionally notes that he was additionally wanted for extorting 12,000 euros (approximately $17,000) by threatening to do bodily harm to the person from whom he extorted the money.
Finally, the press release notes that ten years ago Vertoont was convicted for raping two other children aged 11 and 12.
Here is an additional disturbing question- how many more young victims might well be “out there” who may have been attacked by this monster but who did not report the attack to their parents or other adults in their lives?  Were any children attacked in the United States because the system did not work?
Vertoont was reportedly turned over the Belgian law enforcement officials in Brussels on July 6th.
The ICE news release is a bit like an onion, besides the bitter aroma that wafts out of this story, it can be peeled layer by layer to illustrate a number of important points and concerns I have been voicing over the years.
First of all, I hope that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Surrender, Janet “the border is secure” Napolitano will not hold a press conference and announce before a slew of network news cameras and a forrest of microphones, that the “System worked!”
The system actually failed abysmally and consequently Vertoont was admitted into the United States, imperiling all who came within grasp of this pedophile thug!
He was admitted under the Visa Waiver Program which means that he did not apply for, nor receive a visa before seeking to enter the United States.  It is unconscionable that in this post 9/11 era that there is a Visa Waiver Program!
We will delve into the madness of the Visa Waiver Program shortly but first let us remember why our nation has immigration laws and an inspection process in the first place- to prevent the entry of aliens into our nation whose presence is problematic for our nation and our citizens and may, in fact, pose a threat to national security and/or the physical safety of our citizens and others who are present in our country.

Title 8, United States Code section 212 is the section of law (the INA) that enumerates the various categories of aliens who, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, are supposed to be prevented from entering the United States and are supposed to be removed if they are found here:

Here is a link to that section of law:


http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-1956.html

Please take the time to review the contents of this section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Among the categories of aliens who are supposed to be kept out of the United States are aliens with dangerous communicable diseases, aliens who suffer serious mental illness and are prone to violence, aliens who are convicted felons, aliens who fugitives from justice in other countries, aliens who are human traffickers and drug smugglers, aliens who are war criminals and aliens who have committed human rights violations. Also aliens who are engaged in terrorism and espionage are among those who are, by law, supposed to be prevented from entering our country and are supposed to be removed if they manage to evade the Border Patrol or somehow get through the inspections process and succeed in entering the United States.

You should know that at some international airports in the United States on an average day the great majority of arriving non-immigrant aliens are admitted under the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program.  It is important to know that the 9/11 Commission identified the flawed way in which visas were issued to aliens that contributed to the ability of the 9/11 terrorists to enter the United States, yet under the Visa Waiver Program, there is no process to correct- no visas are involved!
At the time of his admission into the United States, Mr. Vertoont was apparently excludible given his criminal convictions and yet, he managed to be admitted via the inspections process.  There was no mention as to whether or not he may have used a passport in a false identity and I certainly will not speculate as to how he managed to be admitted into the United States, however, it is important to note that the visa issuing process provides an additional layer of scrutiny to the process- a layer not available in this case because he entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
This would be a good time to consider why the Visa Waiver Program is a wrong-headed program, especially in this perilous era.

I am providing you with an excerpt from a recent commentary I wrote to explain my extreme opposition to this program- starting with the fact that aliens who are deemed to be “visa violators” number in the millions yet ICE has only assigned fewer than 300 agents to attempt to locate and apprehend an illegal alien population that, the DHS alleges includes from 4.5 to 5 million such aliens who were admitted with nonimmigrant visas or were admitted without visas under the Visa Waiver Program and then failed to depart the United States when they were supposed to or otherwise violated the terms of their admission.  (This does not include the unknown millions- likely tens of millions of illegal aliens who entered our country by running our nation’s borders):
                                                                                          ***************************************************************
On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic:
VISA OVERSTAYS:

CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?”

You can read the transcript of that hearing at:

Here is a link to a CNN report that was titled, “Tracking Down Visa Violators:”
Casey Wian and his producer, Sara Weisfeldt interviewed me for this report and I appear briefly on screen.
On May 10, 2010 I was interviewed by Daniel Gonzalez, a reporter with the Arizona Republic for an news report titled, “U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas.” Here is the link to the news report in which I was quoted:
The point to understand is that once an alien is admitted into our country there is virtually nothing done to make certain that the alien does not violate the terms of his admission into the United States.  A number of the 9/11 terrorists violated the terms of their admission into our country but to this very day, nearly nothing is done to impart even the slightest levels of integrity into this process.  The estimates as to how many such aliens are currently in our country who have overstayed or otherwise violated the terms of their admission but the estimates range from 5 million to perhaps as many as 10 million and yet there are fewer than 300 special agents of ICE who are tasked with attempting to locate and apprehend these aliens.  I would not be surprised if even if such aliens are apprehended that there is a lack of detention space to take them into custody pending their removal (deportation) from the United States!  (While “Catch & Release” was a hot topic for the Border Patrol, Catch & Release has been a fact of life for the efforts of agents at the former INS and now at ICE to seek the removal of illegal aliens who are apprehended within the interior of the United States!)
Another important issue you should consider is the insane Visa Waiver Program which enables aliens from some 36 countries to enter the United States without first applying for and obtaining a visa for the United States.  Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber attempted to destroy a U.S. bound airliner that was packed with passengers and crew members by detonating explosives he had hidden in his shoes.  Richard Reid is a citizen of Great Britain and therefore he was not required to obtain a visa before flying to the United States to apply for admission into our country.  Had he been required to obtain a visa, if there had been no Visa Waiver Program, it is likely he would never have secured the visa and would have not been permitted to board the airliner he intended to destroy.  Our government officials now require citizens of the United States and all others who seek to board airliners to remove their shoes for inspection because of Mr. Reid- however, the vulnerability created by the Visa Waiver Program has not only been utterly ignored, but more countries have since been added to list of those countries whose citizens do not need to seek visas before traveling to the United States to apply for admission into our country even though other terrorists have also entered our country under the Visa Waiver Program!
You can review the State Department’s website for information about this wrong headed and, indeed, treacherous Visa Waiver Program at: 

Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:

Andorra Hungary New Zealand
Australia Iceland Norway
Austria Ireland Portugal
Belgium Italy San Marino
Brunei Japan Singapore
Czech Republic Latvia Slovakia
Denmark Liechtenstein Slovenia
Estonia Lithuania South Korea
Finland Luxembourg Spain
France Malta Sweden
Germany Monaco Switzerland
Greece the Netherlands United Kingdom
Some time ago I compiled a list of the ways in which the visa process can be helpful to law enforcement and bolster our nation’s efforts to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence on our country may prove harmful to our nation and our citizens. 

Here is the list of the 6 benefits that the visa requirement provides to national security and that the Visa Waiver Program denies our nation:

 

1.  By requiring visas of aliens who seek to enter the United States, this process helps to screen potential passengers on airliners that are destined to the United States.  Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber” was able to board an airliner to come to the United States although he had no intentions of entering the United States, his apparent goal was to blow up the airliner and its many passengers somewhere over the depths of the Atlantic Ocean by detonating explosives he had concealed in his shoes.  Because he is a subject of Great Britain, a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, Reid did not obtain a visa before he boarded that airliner. 

2.  The CBP inspectors are supposed to make a decision in one minute or less as to the admissibility of an alien seeking to enter the United States.  The visa requirement helps them to do a more effective job.  Their’s is a tough job I can certainly relate to, I began my career at the former INS as an immigration inspector at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and worked there for 4 years before I became a special agent.

3.  The application for a nonimmigrant visa contains roughly 40 questions that could provide invaluable information to law enforcement officials should that alien become the target of a criminal or terrorist investigation.  The information could provide intelligence as well as investigative leads.  You can check out the application for a nonimmigrant (tourist) visa by clicking on this link:

https://evisaforms.state.gov/ds156.asp

 
4.  If an alien applicant lies on the application for a visa that lie is called “visa fraud.”  The maximum penalty for visa fraud starts out at 10 years in jail for those who commit this crime simply in order to come to the United States, ostensibly to seek unlawful employment or other such purpose.  The penalty increases to 15 years in jail for those aliens who obtain a visa to commit a felony.  For aliens who engage in visa fraud to traffic in narcotics or commit another narcotics-related crime, the maximum jail sentence that can be imposes rises to 20 years.  Finally, when an alien can be proven to have engaged in visa fraud in furtherance of terrorism, the maximum penalty climbs to 25 years in prison.  It is important to note that while it may be difficult to prove that an individual is a terrorist, it is usually relatively simple to prove that the alien has committed visa fraud when there is fraud involved in the visa application.  Indeed, terror suspects are often charged with visa fraud. 

5.  The charge of visa fraud can also be extremely helpful to law enforcement authorities who want to take a bad guy off the street without tipping their hand to the other members of a criminal conspiracy or terrorism conspiracy that the individual arrested was being arrested for his involvement in terrorism or a criminal organization.  You can arrest the alien who commits visa fraud for that violation of law and not for other charges that might make it clear that the investigation underway is targeting a criminal or terrorist organization.

6.  Even when an alien applies for a visa and his application is denied, the application he filed remains available for law enforcement and intelligence personnel to review to seek to glean intelligence from that application.

                                                                                          ***************************************************************
Mr. Vertoont clearly overstayed his authorized period of admission and managed to also secure unlawful employment.  There was no mention made as to where he was working at the time of his arrest or as to whether or not his employer new that he was an alien who is not entitled to work in the United States.  Under the brilliant program known as “silent raids” in which illegal aliens are not arrested by their employers are subject to fines if they are found to be intentionally employing illegal aliens- had it not been for the request of the Belgian government that this sociopath be located and arrested, he would have had nothing to fear from ICE even though he was clearly an illegal alien.
I also want you to give some thought to how much it cost our government to keep this criminal alien in custody while the wheels of justice turned, ever so slowly.  
You may be wondering why the United States has a Visa Waiver Program.  Several weeks ago I was interviewed by the Washington Times’ White House Correspondent, David Boyer, for a news report he was working on about how Poland was now seeking to join the elite club of countries whose citizens don’t need to apply for visas before entering the United States.  Here is the link to that news report that was published on May 26th of this year:
In writing a commentary in conjunction with that report I made a number of points that you should consider today.
Our government is responding to the extreme pressure being brought to bear by the Chamber of Commerce and executives of the travel, hospitality and related industries under the auspices of a program known as the “Discover America Partnership.”  That consortium has now been joined by the National Retailer Federation (NRF)!  They oppose virtually any measure to secure our borders even as our nation faces continuing threats of terrorist attacks and even as members of the Mexican drug cartels and other transnational gangs and criminal organizations find that our borders serve as little more than “speed bumps” when they seek to smuggle illegal aliens including criminals and terrorists into our country. 
Check out the link I have provided to you below and excerpts from the material to be found on the webpage posted by the organization that posted the material.  These industries’ executives have absolutely no expertise in national security or in issues where border security are concerned and the visa issuing processes are concerned.  Yet they have staked out a position because they are motivated by nothing more than greed!  The more people who will travel to the United States, the more people who are likely to stay in hotels, eat in the restaurants, attend Broadway shoes and buy the souvenirs and other trinkets peddled in cities around the United States.  
NRF Joins New Travel Coalition to Reform Visa Process
Increase in Tourism to Generate Demand for U.S. Goods and Create 1.3 million U.S. Job

The National Retail Federation is calling for comprehensive reform to the antiquated visa process that has cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars. To help advance these measures, NRF has joined the Discover America Partnership, a broad coalition to advance visa and reentry reforms for international travel.


“The visa process is broken and is in desperate need of reform”


“The visa process is broken and is in desperate need of reform,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We need a visa policy that will bring visitors from the fastest growing countries to the U.S. to help generate jobs and bolster economic growth.”

A new report issued by the U.S. Travel Association outlines how common-sense reforms that are relatively easy to implement could create 1.3 million more U.S. jobs and add $859 billion to the U.S. economy by 2020 – all with little or no cost to taxpayers.

The report’s comprehensive, four-step plan will help the United States achieve its goal of becoming more competitive in the global travel market, which in turn will expand U.S. exports, create new jobs and drive economic growth. The report recommends:


  • America must align U.S. State Department resources with market demands;

  • America must reduce visa interview wait times to 10 days or fewer;

  • The U.S. State Department must improve planning, measurement and transparency; and

  • America must expand the Visa Waiver Program.


The Discover America Partnership, under the leadership of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Travel Association, is a lobbying and grassroots campaign to advance visa and entry reforms that will enable the United States to regain the 17 percent market share of overseas travelers it had in 2000 by 2015.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF’s global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the United States, NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion. www.nrf.com 

Date Posted: 2011-05-16

More news about: 
 
Industry: Restaurant 
 
Category: Other 
 
Travel Industry Wire

Powered by Restaurant News Resource

It is understandable that the business executives want to have more customers but while they have signed on to a program referred to as “Discover America” it is apparent that they have forgotten that al-Qaeda has already discovered America! 
They are also very short sighted- in the days, weeks and even months after the attacks of September 11, 2001 airliners flew with many empty seats.  Hotels, restaurants and tourist-related businesses were nearly devoid of patrons.  It was seen as an act of patriotism and, in fact, heroic, for people to board airliners and fly anywhere in the United States but especially to major cities.  
If, God forbid there is another terrorist attack it is entirely possible that many hotels will go bankrupt along with restaurants and other businesses that depend on tourism.
I am not, however, surprised that these corporate executives do not seem to dive a damn about the safety of our nation- not when it may cause them to lose revenue.  What is  infuriating is that our “leaders” in Washington are actually doing what these idiots tell them to do when they call for an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program!  
What qualifies these corporate executives to essentially create a program that endangers our nation’s security?  How credible is their advice?
These business executives have no knowledge and no experience in anything other than knowing how to separate people from the contents of their wallets and yet when they demand that our nation compromise its security and endanger the lives of the citizens our government gladly does what these executives want!
By the way, did you notice how the language calling for an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program sounds remarkably like the language calling for Comprehensive Immigration Reform?  Here is a direct quote from that web page again- in case you missed it the first time:
                                                                                  **************

“The visa process is broken and is in desperate need of reform,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We need a visa policy that will bring visitors from the fastest growing countries to the U.S. to help generate jobs and bolster economic growth.”

                                                                                  **************

How many times have we heard that the immigration system is broken and the solution is to implement a program (Comprehensive Immigration Reform) that would provide perhaps tens of millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents even though there is no reliable way of knowing anything about the vast majority of these people whose presence represents a violations of our borders and our laws that are intended to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence would be harmful or might even present a clear danger to our citizens and our nation?
When you read the Washington Times article, I want you to pay attention to an interesting point that Dave Boyer made about one of the proposed requirements that must be met by countries before they can be added to the list:
                                                                                                            ***********************

 “The bills would make an overstay rate of less than 3 percent the primary qualifying criteria for a nation’s membership in the program. Current policy uses a country’s rate of visa refusals, which many experts think is an outdated method of assessing security risks.”

                                                                                                            ***********************

The problem is that there is absolutely no way of reliably knowing what the overstay rate is for any country!
One of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission was to implement US-VISIT which would track the arrival and departure of aliens who enter the United States on nonimmigrant visas.  Our nation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this program that was deemed to be essential by the 9/11 Commission and, after many years, the departure of aliens from the United States is not accurately tracked.  So much for national security!
I have a theory- I believe that there is a reason that the departure of nonimmigrant aliens has never been accurately determined because under the Visa Waiver Program, if it was determined that the overstay rate of aliens from a particular country exceeded the 3% figure, that country would have to be eliminated from the program.  Being the cynic I am, I am of the opinion that this is simply a matter of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell!”  
Except in this case- ignorance is anything but bliss!
Certainly the successful conclusion of the case involving Andy Vertoont represents a success- the problem is that there are hundreds of thousands of criminal alien fugitives plying their “trades” throughout our country with precious few resources at ICE in the hunt.  In this game of “Hide and Seek” the bad guys are easily entering our country and hiding- (Embedding themselves, to use the 9/11 Commission vernacular) with almost no one seeking!

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.

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. 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 make 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.  I implore you to get involved!

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:

Additionally- this summer, on Friday afternoons from 4:00 PM until 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I will be filling in for Tom Garcia as the host on The USA Talk Radio Network’s excellent radio show, “The American Hour.”



I hope you will be joining my cohost, Paula Lauzon Ostman and me, on Fridays this summer!

Here is the link for this program:






http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1107/110706orlando.htm

News Releases

July 6, 2011
Orlando, FL

ICE returns fugitive pedophile wanted for child rape, extortion to Belgium
Agents captured the Belgian man in Central Florida late last year

  • Andy Vertoont

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Belgian man wanted for child rape and extortion in his home country was turned over to authorities in Brussels, Belgium, today by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

ICE agents and officers, assisted by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, arrested Andy Vertoont, 31, a native of Belgium, at his place of employment in Ocala, Fla., on Nov. 12, 2010. ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in Orlando had initiated an investigation as a result of a request for assistance from the Belgian Federal Police and the ICE HSI attaché office in Brussels.

Vertoont remained in ICE custody pending his removal to Belgium, where he is wanted on an arrest warrant for the June 2009 rape of a 12 year-old-boy in Belgium. He had been arrested in Belgium and conditionally released prior to his trial. Shortly thereafter, he fled to the United States to avoid prosecution in Belgium.

Vertoont is further accused of extorting 12,000 Euros (approximately $17,000 in U.S. currency) from an individual in Belgium, where he allegedly threatened to physically harm the individual if he did not pay the money.

He was also previously arrested, convicted and sentenced in Belgium in 2001 for raping two children, ages 11 and 12.

Vertoont, escorted by ICE ERO officers, departed Miami International Airport in Miami on Tuesday and was turned over to authorities at the Brussels Airport in Brussels on July 6.

“To those who think they can come to the United States to escape their criminal past – think again,” said ICE Director John Morton. “ICE will not allow the United States to be a safe haven for those who have come to our country in an effort to evade prosecution and punishment for crimes they commit in their home country. ICE, along with our law enforcement partners, will use every tool at our disposal to end the sexual exploitation of our children and keep them safe wherever they live.”

“Criminals who think that they can use the United States as a sanctuary to avoid justice for monstrous acts committed against children are sadly mistaken.” said Brian DeMore, ICE HSI’s attaché to Belgium and the European Union. “Law enforcement agencies will continue to work tirelessly across jurisdictions and national borders to protect the world’s children from these predators. I commend the collaboration of HSI and our international law enforcement partners – especially the Belgian Federal Police – who assisted in tracking down this child predator so that he can face justice here in Belgium.”

Vertoont last entered the United States on Oct. 1, 2009, on a visa waiver not to extend beyond 90 days and he remained in the United States beyond 90 days without authorization. He was ordered removed by an immigration judge on Jan. 10.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

The ICE HSI Office of International Affairs serves as the agency’s liaison to counterparts in local government and law enforcement. HSI has 69 offices in 47 countries around the world, including an office in Brussels. HSI’s international operations include:

  • Coordinating investigations with foreign law enforcement counterparts;
  • Providing domestic and international HSI offices with investigative case support and information related to cross-border criminal activities involving people, goods and technology;
  • Providing training and capacity building to foreign law enforcement counterparts;
  • Assisting in removal operations by facilitating efforts to repatriate removable aliens; and
  • Referring requests from host country agencies to HSI domestic investigative offices

You may also visit us on FacebookTwitter 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.

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