The term document mill is used by law enforcement authorities to describe a criminal organization that manufactures and sells fake identification. Document mills are behind much of the identity theft that has victimized millions of people in the United States. Among the customers of fraud document vendors are fugitives from justice, international terrorists, members of transnational criminal organizations, and illegal aliens.
Indeed, many of those fugitives, criminals and terrorists are aliens who are illegally present in the United States.
False identity documents pose a threat to national security and public safety. Periodically law enforcement agencies, ranging from local police departments to federal agencies, conduct raids to arrest document vendors. After the raids are concluded these agencies, along with state and federal prosecutors often issue press releases touting their successes in shutting down the document mills that supplied the street vendors with the identity documents. These press releases often make note of how these bogus identity documents facilitated the criminal activities of those who purchased them.
These law enforcement operations are important, and the press releases often explain how dangerous fraudulent identity documents are, especially when they are used by terrorists and criminals.
What is not discussed is how failures at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) enable aliens to game the lawful system enabling criminals and terrorists to acquire bona fide identity documents from our federal government in conjunction with providing lawful status to those aliens. USCIS is overwhelmed — its adjudications officers deal with an onslaught of more than six million applications for a variety of immigration benefits each and every year.
The lack of integrity to this vital process by an agency that operates under the aegis of the DHS is not being addressed by the administration and the administration’s unilateral decision to provide millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and identity documents. It will create an open invitation for terrorists and criminals to successfully game this already overwhelmed, inept and incompetent system thereby creating a national security nightmare.
In effect, the lack of integrity to the adjudications process turns USCIS into a de facto document mill, with one major and significant difference — USCIS is an official government agency and the identity documents it issues are actual, authentic documents that convey lawful status to aliens even those who are not lawfully entitled to such legal status. Sometimes these documents are even issued to aliens who game the process to acquire those documents in false aliases.
Management at DHS clearly recognizes the importance of combating immigration fraud, the official ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Website) makes note of the significance of immigration fraud in this statement found on that website:
“ICE places a high priority on investigating document and benefit fraud. These types of fraud pose a severe threat to national security and public safety because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, other criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States.”
Would that the adjudications process actually possess the level of integrity that this statement clearly mandates!
Incredibly, congress recently voted to fully fund the operations of the DHS including the administration’s soon to be implemented amnesty program for millions of aliens who evaded the vital inspections process to enter the United States Without Inspection. (The term “undocumented” ignores this obvious fact — these are aliens who entered our country surreptitiously.)
So much for congressional oversight! As I noted in a February piece at FrontPage Magazine, congressional oversight is actually congressional overlook.
Aliens who game the immigration benefits program to acquire among other benefits, temporary lawful status under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, lawful immigrant status or even United States citizenship are committing felonies under our federal laws. The broad term is immigration fraud.
Immigration fraud is hardly a “victimless crime.” Indeed, the 9/11 Commission Report noted that immigration fraud was a major tool used by terrorists to enter the United States and embed themselves in the United States enabling them to hide in plain sight as they went about their deadly preparations to attack the United States.
While it is unlikely that the person who purchases a false ID on a street corner will be able to use that phoney document to acquire legitimate identity documents from other agencies, the identity documents that USCIS, a division of the DHS (Department of Homeland Surrender) issues are known as “breeder documents.” These documents enable those to whom they are issued to immediately apply for and receive Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and other such identity documents. They provide the bearers of these documents with credibility. These documents enable the bearers to be legally hired — indeed, the USCIS-issued documents sail through the e-Verify process and these aliens have every bit as much right to work in the United States as a native-born United States citizens.
Clearly these documents issued by USCIS represent the key to America’s front door, also providing access to government and corporate office buildings and access to transportation systems.
The issue of integrity to the immigration benefits program has always been an issue of great concern with significant consequences for America and Americans.
It was known that visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud were among the vulnerabilities that made the 9/11 attacks possible. In fact, on May 20, 1997, more than four years before the attacks of 9/11, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims conducted a hearing that was predicated on the two attacks of 1993 at the CIA in January and the first World Trade bombing one month later, on the topic: “Visa Fraud and Immigration Benefits Application Fraud”
Immigration fraud not only undermines the integrity of the immigration system but national security as well. Indeed, the issue of immigration fraud was identified by the 9/11 Commission as a key method of by which terrorists not only entered the United States but embedded themselves in the United States.
Consider these quotes from Chapter 12 of the 9/11 Commission Report under this section:
For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons. Terrorists must travel clandestinely to meet, train, plan, case targets, and gain access to attack. To them, international travel presents great danger, because they must surface to pass through regulated channels, present themselves to border security officials, or attempt to circumvent inspection points.
In their travels, terrorists use evasive methods, such as altered and counterfeit passports and visas, specific travel methods and routes, liaisons with corrupt government officials, human smuggling networks, supportive travel agencies, and immigration and identity fraud. These can sometimes be detected.
Now you must consider this statement:
All but one of the 9/11 hijackers acquired some form of U.S. identification document, some by fraud. Acquisition of these forms of identification would have assisted them in boarding commercial flights, renting cars, and other necessary activities.
The point is that the aliens who have applied to participate in DACA and those who will apply to participate in the follow-on program created by presidential executive order, without the benefit of enabling legislation, will not be interviewed in-person and no meaningful field investigations will be conducted to insure the integrity of this wrong-headed program.
There have been a string of GAO and Inspector General reports about the abject lack of integrity to the processes by which aliens are provided with lawful status and identity documents without the implementation of this massive program that will involve millions of aliens who entered the United Staters without inspection. There will be no way to verify the following:
- If the alien has not been previously fingerprinted in the United States or a handful of other countries it is likely that there will be no way to determine the actual identity of the alien including possibly, even the country of citizenship or criminal convictions.
- The alien’s affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations.
- Date, place and manner of entry into the United States.
- Verification that all material questions were answered truthfully and accurately so that the alien is actually entitled to the immigration benefit being applied for.
Recently ABC News aired an alarming report, “The $500,000 Green Card; Are Suspected Criminals, Spies and Terrorists Buying Their Way Into America?”
On December 10, 2014 the Seattle Times published a report,“GAO will audit EB-5 program for investor visas” that noted that at the behest of Republican Senators. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Bob Corker of Tennessee, and former Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma the GAO will conduct and investigation into the EB-5 Visa Program that was the focus of the ABC News report.
However, the investigation will take some time to conduct and report on while there is no certainty as to what impact the findings will have on how this administration enforces and administers the immigration laws.
I’ve written several recent articles on the national security risks of executive amnesty, including one in February for Progressives For Immigration Reform, entitled “The Immigration Factor –Naturalized U.S. Citizen Added to FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.”
But this has been a problem for some time. In June 2007, the Washington Times published my op-ed, “Immigration bill a ‘No Go,’” where I articulated my adamant opposition to the previous attempt to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform based on how it would have impacted national security. I recommended that this disastrous legislation be renamed the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act” because of the lack of integrity to the process by which millions of aliens would be granted lawful status and official identity documents.
Senator Sessions was in obvious agreement with my concerns. On June 27, 2007 the senator quoted my statements during the senate debate on the pending Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act that was under consideration at the time.