I am providing you with a news release posted today, March 17, 2011, on the ICE (Immigration and Customs) website. The news release provided details about Maria Azada, an illegal alien who is a citizen of the Philippines and was arrested and charged with 17 criminal violations of law related to voter fraud.
It is, at least to me, a bit ironic that the arrest was made in Lake County, Illinois. Lake County is actually a part of Chicago, Illinois and we have all heard about “The Chicago Way” where you might say that the motto for Election Day might be summed up by the phrase, “Vote early and vote often!”
All kidding aside, there are issues that need to be considered in reviewing this press release.
A debate has been raging across our country about the necessity of requiring voters to provide documentary evidence of their citizenship before voting in elections in the United States. This news release should help to make it clear that it is only reasonable and prudent to make such documentation a requirement. The voting process and the integrity of that process bear directly on our democratic form of government.
Here are some questions that were not addressed in the press release but are questions I would very much want to have answers to:
First of all, I would love to know why, as it was alleged, that she voted in all of those elections spanning a period of some 6 years, between 2003 and 2009? What motivated her to cast those ballots? Was she urged to do this by any political organizations? The news release said that she has been charged with having claimed, falsely, to be a United States citizen on two separate occasions- yet she allegedly voted 9 times. What accounts for this discrepancy? Did she always use her own name when she voted or did she use false names?
The obvious followup question would be to find out what measures that may have been taken to attempt to prevent a noncitizen from voting in all of those elections? (Were there any hurdles that she had to jump or were there just some relatively insignificant “speed bumps” in place to attempt to prevent non-citizens from voting? (Clearly whatever measures may have been deployed did not stop Maria Azada from casting her ballots as she purportedly claimed!)
In conjunction with the issues I have raised above, I would love to know how many other such arrests and/or investigations into aliens voting illegally in elections have been carried out in the last year? How about in the past decade?
Next, I would love to know what immigration benefit she had been applying for when her interview by ICE special agents elicited her admission of committing voter fraud and having made false claims to United States citizenship? Was she the beneficiary of an application to accord her resident alien status that involved, for example, a marriage fraud?
The news release also talked about her allegedly the mutilation of election materials and tampering with voter machines. Again I would just love to know if this was simply a reference to her falsifying answers on a questionnaire prior to voting or if she went after those infamous “hanging chads” which were at issue in the 2000 Presidential election in Florida? Did she, perhaps take a hammer to the voting machine? Simply stated, what was construed to constitute “tampering with voter machines?” While we ask this question I guess we should also ask how many such machines were tampered with?
Now that I have given you lots of questions to contemplate, here are some facts that I want you to give some thought to:
1. It would appear that the way that her illegal voting came to light as a result of information that was obtained during the course of the interview that was apparently conducted because there were reasons to believe that she was not entitled to the immigration benefit that she had applied for. I suspect that the interview was focusing on fraud and the interviewing agents took the discussion into a fruitful direction that resulted in uncovering how Ms Azada had allegedly made false claims to United States citizenship and also illegally cast votes on at least 9 separate occasions. (I presume she is charged with only having voted illegally one time in each election, but then, this being Chicago, you never know!)
2. It is also extremely likely that if the ICE special agents had not taken the interview down the path that addressed alleged voting fraud that these violations of law might never have come to light. Again, this is pure speculation on my part, but there is no indication in the news release of the voter fraud charges having been discovered prior to the interview.
3. Considering that the allegation concerning voter fraud were developed during the course of an interview and the cooperation of Ms Azada who apparently made incriminating statements during that interview, it is likely that these violations might never have been discovered if the agents had not asked the right questions or even if she had been asked those questions if she had refused to confess. This raises the disturbing question as to how many other illegal aliens are voting? This is a problem that, according to discussions I have had with INS agents in the past, has been discovered in other cases in other parts of the country.
4. I can also tell you that illegal aliens typically lie about their true identities and their true immigration status. When I was an INS special agent, I encountered illegal aliens who falsely claimed to be resident aliens and even falsely claimed to the United States citizens. This tactic to evade deportation (removal) was a matter of concern for the entire time I was employed by the INS. In fact, when I attended Border Patrol Academy and when I received further training in New York by training officers, one of the areas we attempted to develop proficiency in was the identification of aliens making false claims to United States citizenship. Part of the training was to learn about particular idioms and terminology that was generally used by American citizens who were born in Puerto Rico.
Often illegal aliens from Latin America and the Dominican Republic would falsely claim to have been born in Puerto Rico. When I was hired by the INS every member of the Officer Corps was required to successfully complete a course in Spanish language. That training included ways of determining if an alien who spoke Spanish was from Puerto Rico or might have been lying about this important fact. Today, Spanish language training is no longer even required of most ICE personnel! I would love to know how they would uncover such false claims to United States citizenship today!
By the way, we also learned about other ways of uncovering false claims to United States citizenship made by illegal aliens who were from other countries where the issue was not the way that the person in question spoke Spanish. I encountered a number of illegal aliens from Jamaica, Trinidad and St. Lucia who falsely claimed to have been born in the Virgin Islands of the United States. Again, I would love to know what training is being given to ICE enforcement officers to identify possible false claims to United States citizenship. This issue is always important, but I want you to consider the way that criminal aliens are identified in jails as being aliens when they falsely claim to be United States citizenship. Under a program known as “Secure Communities,” aliens who are arrested and determined to be aliens who are subject to deportation (removal) are identified when they are fingerprinted during the booking procedure and the fingerprints indicate that these aliens had been previously printed by immigration. This includes resident aliens who may lose their lawful immigrant status when they are convicted for committing certain crimes and also includes aliens who have been previously deported as well as aliens who were lawfully admitted through the inspections process and are fingerprinted pursuant to US VISIT.
The problem is that it is believed that more than half of our illegal alien population were not admitted into the United States but ran our nation’s borders. These aliens may not have any fingerprints in the various databases indicating that they are aliens. If they falsely claim to by United States citizens the question becomes, “What is being done to identify such illegal aliens as being aliens when they make false claims to United States citizenship?”
If you have read some of my other commentaries, you may recall that I have, on occasion, half jokingly said that you can tell a good guy from a bad guy by what the person does when he (she) gets up in the morning. A good guy gets up and goes through his stuff to see what he wants to wear. A bad guy gets up and goes through his stuff to see who he wants to be!
This final point brings us back to Maria Azada. The fact that she made false claims to being a United States citizen on at least two occasions and apparently sought to gain lawful status through immigration fraud causes me to be concerned about her ultimate goal. Was she simply trying to acquire lawful status in the United States in order to get a job and perhaps attempt to petition the United States government to enable members of her family to lawfully immigrate to the United States or was she involved in more nefarious plans? I am hopeful that the special agents of ICE are pursuing this question. This is a matter of great concern because the use of immigration fraud has been a tactic that has been employed by transnational criminals and transnational terrorists. I do not want anyone to get the mistaken impression that I have any reason to believe that she is involved in terrorism or transnational crimes- it is just that these are issues that should be addressed by the personnel of ICE which, I would remind you, is a component of the DHS, the Department of Homeland Surrender!
The purpose of our nation’s immigration laws is to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence is harmful to our nation and our citizens. When aliens manage to enter our country in violation of law or otherwise violate the terms of their admission into our country, the immigration laws are supposed to provide a lawful remedy in the removal of those aliens from our country.
This mission is, arguably, one of the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
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 resolve this year 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 this situation 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!
Please check out my website:
March 17, 2011
Lake County, IL
Illegal alien arrested, charged with voter fraud
LAKE COUNTY, Ill. – An illegal alien from the Philippines
was arrested Thursday morning on a felony complaint charging her with 17
counts related to voter fraud in Lake County. The state charges
resulted from a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and
the Lake County State’s Attorneys Office. U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) also provided assistance.
Maria Azada, 53, of Grayslake, Ill., was arrested March 17 by ICE HSI
agents and a Lake County State’s Attorneys special investigator. Azada
faces 17 felony counts in Lake County Circuit Court of perjury,
mutilation of election materials, and tampering with voting machines in
connection with illegal voting by a non-U.S. citizen.
The investigation began in February 2009 when Azada admitted to a
USCIS officer during an interview for an immigration benefit that she
had voted in an election. It is illegal for foreign nationals to vote in
national or state elections in the United States.
A subsequent investigation revealed that Azada allegedly voted nine
times in primary, general and consolidated elections between 2003 and
2009. According to the arrest warrant, Azada allegedly falsely claimed
to be a U.S. citizen on two Illinois Voter Registration applications.
“Our nation’s founders reserved the right to vote in this country for
U.S. citizens,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE HSI
in Chicago. “ICE HSI will work aggressively to investigate and bring to
justice anyone who falsely claims to be a U.S. citizen so they can
illegally vote in an election.”
If convicted, Azada faces up to five years in state prison on each of
the two perjury counts. She also faces up to three years on each of the
six counts of tampering with voting machines, and each of the nine
counts of mutilation of election materials.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and
is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is
entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of
proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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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.