“Immigration Fraud Enables Criminals, Terrorists and War Criminals to Hide in Plain Sight”

Hi Gang:
Immigration fraud is the soft underbelly of the immigration system that is, in reality, a system in name only!
Immigration fraud not only undermines the integrity of the immigration system but undermines America’s national security and threatens public safety as well.  Yet this glaring vulnerability is not being addressed and is being exacerbated by the administration’s refusal to enforce our immigration laws.
Today I have written a commentary that focuses on two instances of immigration benefit fraud that enabled an Ethiopian war criminal and a PFLP terrorist to acquire United States citizenship and live, undetected for many years.  The Ethiopian for about seven years and the terrorist for about 18 years.  My commentary is entitled:
Immigration Fraud Enables Criminals, Terrorists and War Criminals to Hide in Plain Sight”

Unfortunately, this is not a new problem nor is this problem being addressed.  Indeed, it must be presumed that if Comprehensive Immigration Reform or similar legislation is ultimately enacted, that we can expect thousands of such cases to easily sale through the process at USCIS.
You should know that my concern (and it should be the concern of all Americans and our alleged leaders in Washington) is that the issue is not whether or not to grant citizenship to illegal aliens but if it makes any sense to provide aliens who violated our laws that were enacted to prevent the entry and presence of criminals and terrorists in the United States with identity documents- especially when we don’t have the resources to interview these illegal aliens in person, let alone conduct field investigations into their backgrounds.

On May 2, 2013, I was interviewed by Megyn Kelly of Fox News about the terror bombing of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013:

“Immigration Expert: The System Failed in Boston and Keeps on Failing”

On September 20, 2013 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my article about the failures of the vetting process for alien applicants who apply for immigration benefits:

“Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Background Checks Require a Reality Check”

The Summer, 2013 Edition of “The Social Contract” contained my article on political asylum that was entitled:

“Political Asylum: Where Compassion and National Security Intersect”

On July 30, 2012 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my commentary: 

“Fraud: The Immigration Vulnerability That Undermines the Immigration System and National Security”

The perils associated with visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud are well known to our leaders but they largely ignore it.  Consider that on May 20, 1997 I was called to testify before the House Immigration Subcommittee on the topic:


This important hearing was predicated on two terrorist attacks that were carried out more than four years earlier, in 1993 by aliens from the Middle East who, as was determined, gamed the visa process and/or the immigration benefits program.

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, two 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 a felony, fraud. Had the fraud been detected and had he been deported from the United States, those who were killed and wounded would not have been harmed.

Just one month later, on February 26, 1993 a bomb-laden truck was parked in the garage under the World Trade Center complex and detonated. The blast nearly brought one of the 110 story towers down sideways. As a result of the explosion, 6 innocent people were killed, hundreds were injured and an estimated one half billion dollars in damages were inflicted on that iconic complex of buildings located just blocks from Wall Street. That attack was also carried out by alien terrorists who managed to not only game the visa process in order to enter the United States but the immigration benefits program that enabled them to remain in the United States and embed themselves as they went about their preparations to carry out that attack.

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel contained numerous examples of instances where terrorists who engaged in terrorist attacks made use of visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud to not only enter the United States but embed themselves in the United States.

Here is the first paragraph from the preface of the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel:

“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.”

Page 47 of the above-noted report contained the following paragraph:

Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida. Mohammed Salameh, who rented the truck used in the bombing, overstayed his tourist visa. He then applied for permanent residency under the agricultural workers program, but was rejected.   Eyad Mahmoud Ismail, who drove the van containing the bomb, took English-language classes at Wichita State University in Kansas on a student visa; after he dropped out, he remained in the United States out of status.

On July 27, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic:


I made my best effort to provide my concerns known at the hearing and a  video of a segment of my testimony before that hearing provides crystal clarity about my grave concerns about the nexus between any such amnesty program and national security.  What I said back then is just as relevant today- perhaps even more so.

Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts nearly every challenge and threat confronting the United States today!  Simply stated, the immigration laws were enacted to save lives and protect the jobs of American workers.

Our armed forces are charged with securing America’s borders externally while the DHS is supposed to secure those same borders from within.  The failures of the DHS to live up to its half of the equation are undermining the efforts, valor and incredible sacrifices of Americas men and women who serve in our military!

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!

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!

It is not “Anti-immigrant” to be Pro-American!

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:


Immigration Fraud Enables Criminals, Terrorists and War Criminals to Hide in Plain Sight”

Michael W. Cutler, Senior Special Agent, INS (Ret.)

Senior Fellow, Californians for Population Stabilization

The 9/11 Commission noted that visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud were the preferred methods of entering and embedding themselves in the United States for terrorists- not only those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 but in the case of terrorists found to have operated in the United States in the decade prior to those attacks.

On September 13, 2011 the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security conducted a hearing on the topic


Representative Candice Miller, who chairs this important subcommittee noted in her opening remarks at that hearing:

On that day in September we learned a very hard lesson as a 9/11 Commission has noted. For terrorists, they said, travel documents are as important as weapons and four of the 9/11 hijackers had overstayed visas, a missed opportunity to prevent the attacks.

Apparently Representative Miller understands the need to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States even while aliens who violate the terms of their admission are almost guaranteed that ICE will make no efforts to locate or apprehend them.

Furthermore, it is vital to focus on the issue of travel documents. Two recent reports, one of which, in fact appeared on the ICE website makes it clear that aliens who defraud the visa and or immigration benefits program and are ultimately found to have committed fraud, may well evade detection for many years. This poses a continuing threat to public safety and to national security.

The first case to consider was reported in an ICE news release posted on October 22, 2013:

“Naturalized US citizen charged with immigration fraud for failing to disclose terrorism conviction”

In this case Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 66 years of age had entered the United States as a lawful immigrant in 1995 and became a naturalized United States citizen in 2004. According to the news release she had omitted the fact that she had been convicted in Israel in 1969 for her role in the bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem which killed two people. She had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the crimes but she was released ten years later as a part of a prisoner exchange.

The fact is that she managed to conceal her background when she immigrated to the United States and again when she applied for and received United States citizenship. She lived among us for 18 years.

The next case to consider is that of Kefelgn Alemu Worku, an Ethiopian war criminal who lied about his name and background when he immigrated to the United States and subsequently became a naturalized citizen. His story was reported in the Denver Post on October 20, 2013 in an article entitled:

“How an Ethiopian torturer hid in Denver for 7 years in plain sight”

Here is an excerpt from the Denver Post article:

For seven years, Alemu Worku’s new identity served perfectly for hiding in plain sight among young men who didn’t know the horrors of political torture and killing back home — and the many other people who didn’t want to know.

But a federal jury’s conviction of Alemu Worku this month for immigration fraud — stealing another man’s identity and concealing his bloody past to become a U.S. citizen — has energized a hunt by Ethiopian-Americans. They hope to expose hundreds more human rights violators they say are hiding in Denver and other U.S. cities.

Here we have a dangerous individual living in the United States- in fact, living among people whose families may have suffered because of him, because our screening process failed.

His case is similar to the many cases involving Nazi war criminals from the Second World War. No one knows how many more such war criminals from Ethiopia and elsewhere, are hiding in plain sight today.

What you may not know is that when an alien becomes naturalized he (she) is eligible to ask for a name change and when these newly minted citizens apply for a U.S. passport, that passport will only reflect their new names. I have raised this issue at Congressional hearings because it represents a threat to our national security and to the security of the countries to which they may travel but this obvious danger has never been addressed.

Today, under the auspices of DACA (Deferred Action- Childhood Arrivals) hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have been granted identity documents without so much as a face to face interview. Comprehensive Immigration Reform would be similarly administered- creating ample opportunities for huge numbers of criminals and terrorists to create brand new identities for themselves enhancing their ability to hide in plain sight, posing a clear and present danger to America and Americans.

Incredibly, fraud in the immigration system fails to protect America and Americans yet nothing is being done to address this serious threat to our safety and well-being.   

On Oct 22, 2013, at 4:23 PM, <mfotopoulos@earthlink.net> <mfotopoulos@earthlink.net> wrote:

Hi, Mike – I thought you might be interested in doing a short blog post on this story that ran in the Denver Post this weekend. It illustrates many of the points you often talk about, including “hiding in plain sight.”


As well, the article notes that in the metro Denver area, there now live an estimated 30,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans. That’s a huge immigrant population, which to me is yet another example of the huge number of people we’re absorbing into the fabric of the country (or not, depending to what degree of assimilation one believes is actually happening).


The third point I thought might be worth discussing is this idea of the U.S. becoming the de facto country to mete out justice for gross abuse that’s occurred in other countries, with the perpetrators now living here (by gaming the immigration system to get here).


Anyway, just passing it along if it might be of interest to write about … am traveling this week, so best way to reach me is through email.






By Bruce Finley and Tom McGhee 
The Denver Post

Posted: 10/20/2013 12:01:00 AM MDT15 comments

Updated: 10/21/2013 09:18:07 AM MDT

Read more: How an Ethiopian torturer hid in Denver for 7 years in plain sight – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24347284/how-an-ethiopian-torturer-hid-denver-7-years#ixzz2iU29PeeW
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