This press release [click here] was issued by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on June 22, 2010 to announce that a citizen of India who had been living in the United States had been arrested by ICE special agents and charged with filing false documents in support of visa applications for some 33 citizens of India who had claimed to be religious workers when, in reality, they had no religious training and were working at various jobs that had nothing to do with religion.
Certainly I am glad that the defendant in this case, Sagarsen Haldar has been arrested following the investigation into his alleged criminal activities. However, I am left with a number of questions that I believe would be interest to everyone.
First of all, the press release indicates that Haldar is an Indian national who is residing in the United States- specifically in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. How did he obtain his lawful status in the United States? Did he himself engage in some sort of fraud in order to obtain a visa? What sort of visa was he, in fact, granted? Does he have a green card, for example, based on a marriage to a United States citizen or resident alien? Has anyone investigated the basis for his visa?
The next series of questions I have concern his “clients.” The article indicates that some 33 citizens of India apparently conspired with him in order to secure religious visas in order to enter the United States. How long ago was the first visa issued? Did all of this happen within the past year or two or has this been an ongoing fraud scheme that spansa number of years? What if anything is being done to determine if any additional individuals were involved in this conspiracy? For example, how did the 33 individuals come to know about Mr. Haldar? Were there any others involved who acted, perhaps as intermediaries? Is anyone at ICE or the State Department looking at the consular offices at the United States embassy or consulate where the visas were issued to these individuals?
This of course begs the question- are there other petitioners such as Haldar who might have worked with a corrupt official at an American consulate or embassy? If so, have they also been identified along with their “clients” who might already be in the United States?
The article indicates that Mr. Haldar had a religious temple in Milwaukee. Was that temple being used in conjunction with other crimes such as tax fraud, money laundering or perhaps even more serious crimes- perhaps even involving national security issues?
Finally, I would absolutely love to know if ICE has identified all of the individuals who received assistance, in falsely claiming to be religious workers. from Haldar and if ICE has located them and taken them into custody?
Will they also be criminally prosecuted for their part in the conspiracy?
Will they be removed (deported) from the United States along with any family members they may have brought with them on their fraudulently obtained visas?
What activities might these 33 individuals been engaged in that motivated them to be willing to provide Mr. Haldar with up to $30.000.00? That would be an extremely large payment for a minimum wage worker to be willing to provide to someone who would assist them in illegally entering our country! Think how many years it would take for such a minimum wage worker to be able to repay after paying for his own expenses and sending a few dollars back home! It could take nearly a lifetime for such a debt to be repaid by someone making under ten dollars an hour!
So many questions!
Now the next thing I want you to consider is just how rare such prosecutions are because there are so few special agents employed by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to try to lend integrity to the immigration benefits program and the process by which visas are issued.
Of 94 terrorists who were identified as operating in the United States in the decade leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 59 of those terrorists were found to have engaged in either visa fraud or immigration fraud. If you do the math you will quickly realize that this amounts to about two-thirds of those terrorists gamed the system in order to enter our country and/or embed themselves in our country.
With all of the talk about the Mexican border and the resources that the United States has or has not provided to secure our nation’s borders, just about no one is even discussing visa fraud and/or benefit fraud. Ironically, this was the very topic of the first hearing before a Congressional hearing at which I testified in May of 1997 after the two terrorist attacks of 1993.
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.
Just one month after the attack on the CIA, the World Trade Center was heavily damaged by a bomb placed in the back of a rental truck that was parked in a garage in the World Trade Center garage. I have noted on previous occasions, including when I have testified before Congressional hearings, Mahmoud Abouhalima, one of the key players in this deadly attack, acquired amnesty as an agricultural worker during the 1986 Amnesty. He never worked on any farm but, rather, drove a cab and had his driver’s license suspended on numerous occasions for a variety of vehicle and traffic law violations. In fact the only thing he was ever found to have planted was a bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center that left 6 people dead, hundreds- if not thousands of people injured, and an estimated one half billion dollars in damages inflicted to that iconic fixture of the New York City Skyline that was reduced to rubble, along with the victims who were trapped in that complex and the airliners that struck them, as a result of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
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: http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa27480.000/hfa27480_0f.htm
A recent newspaper report indicated that there are all of 272 ICE special agents for the entire United States seeking to locate an estimated 4.5 million illegal aliens who overstayed their authorized period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their admission into the United States! You could literally say that the odds are not good for the United States of America!
Make no mistake, where the instant case is concerned, the agents and prosecutors who conducted the investigation into Sagarsen Haldar’s alleged crimes did an excellent job. My concern is that there are many loose ends that must be tied up.
The questions I have raised must be answered by the officials who are conducting the investigation. All of these issues require resources and real leadership. The implications could not be more serious.
Thus far the resources have been lacking along with the will to get the job done effectively. Yet the administration and members of Congress, in both houses are apparently planning to find a way to foist “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” on us. There is a list of reasons as to why I am adamantly opposed to Comprehensive Immigration Reform- but first and foremost on my list is NATIONAL SECURITY!
I have often said that the only thing worse than no security is false security. Providing millions- arguably tens of millions of illegal aliens with official identity documents and lawful status in our country when there would be no way of knowing the true identities of those incomprehensible huge numbers of illegal aliens would create a national security nightmare that would dwarf any threat our nation has ever previously faced!
The tens of millions of illegal aliens who would, no doubt show up at immigration offices, will not be able to prove who they are. That is what “undocumented” really means. They haven’t a shred of official paper to attest to their names, their nationalities, their date, place or manner of entry into our country.
Of course the proponents for Comprehensive Immigration Reform will tout the fact that each application will undergo a security check. All that this means is that the applicants will be fingerprinted and their names, as they write them on their applications, will be checked against a database. Any criminal or terrorist who has never been fingerprinted in the United States and provides a false name, would easily pass through this cursory process in a New York minute! Not only would they get away with it- the government of the United States would provide them with a brand new “clean” name. If their true names were on terror watch lists around the world, the government of the United States would have provided them with a brand new identity just as certainly if they had been enrolled in the “Witness Protection Program!”
Just stop and think how much damage and how great was the loss of life on September 11, 2001. That attack required only 19 terrorists.
How many terrorists would seek to participate in the massive amnesty program that the Comprehensive Immigration Reform program would create?
USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is the agency that would be in charge of administering Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Time and again the GAO (General Accountability Office) and the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) have conducted investigations and issued reports that clearly indicate that USCIS is inept and incompetent.
The last time that Comprehensive Immigration Reform was proposed, the legislation would have required that at least 100,000 applications for inclusion in that program would be processed each and every working day! That would be in addition to all of the other applications that they were already dealing with. It is estimated that each year that beleaguered and incompetent agency processes more than 6 million applications- without having to deal with the tsunami of applications that Comprehensive Immigration Reform would create!
November 2nd cannot come fast enough!
We the People, throughout this nation, must do the same sort of thing with all of our elected “representatives.” We must seek opportunities to make it clear to them that we understand their game plan and won’t tolerate it!.
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 and members of al-Qaeda!
If reading this makes it difficult for you to sleep now- perhaps you could do something worthwhile- perhaps you might spend a couple of your sleepless hours writing letters to your elected representatives this evening and remind them that Election Day is just months away!
We the People can add to the consternation of these politicians who are failing to live up to their oaths of office by contacting them and making it abundantly clear that election day is coming and they should think of election day as their personal “Day of Reckoning!”
Our government must live up to its obligation of protecting its own citizens and, indeed, all who are present in our country from the criminals and terrorists who would threaten our lives and the survival of our nation and our way of life. In the end, the government is actually those who are elected to act as our “leaders.” Those who fail to truly lead and look out for those they are supposed to represent, need to be sent packing this coming Election Day!
If 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.
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 Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the outrageous betrayal that this would represent given the national security implications that this program would have, 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. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
Later this year, each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Later this 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. 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!
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!