A news release titled: "Former home healthcare aide guilty of defrauding an elderly couple" appeared on the ICE Website a few days ago. The excellent work by the Special Agents of ICE was carried out by ICE's New York Office, the office where I spent my entire career. Certainly the agents who conducted this investigation did an excellent job and should be commended for their achievement.
A few serious questions, however, remain.
First of all, my concern is how many other criminals and illegal aliens (and potentially terrorists) have been able to obtain United States passports in false names in order to get jobs and travel freely around our country and, indeed, around the world?
In fact, although not noted in the press release- you have to wonder if she actually made any international trips using that fraudulently obtained passport! This could have enabled her to board airliners and enter countries even if her true name was on every watch list in the world!
You also have to wonder at the hell she likely created for the woman's whose identity she stole in order to receive an actual United States passport. It is also extremely disturbing that she was actually issued a valid United States passport by the State Department- think of how easily she might have traveled to countries all over the world in a false identity and with a United States passport that she was certainly not entitled to possess! If she was able to do this- you have to believe that many others have succeeded in doing the same sort of thing and may well still be "out there!"
Meanwhile, think about how, in the name of national security, the searches that passengers seeking to board airliners must undergo, are becoming ever more intrusive it would also be worthwhile to know how Isabel Wilson, aka Isabel Freeman entered the United States in the first place. It would also be worthwhile knowing how her husband, presumably an alien, entered the United States and what efforts, if any, have been made to locate him.
This case illustrates a number of points that need to be considered and very much need to be addressed by the ICE. The issue to which I refer is immigration fraud.
Immigration fraud involves two basic varieties- the creation of counterfeit or altered fraudulent identity documents, the gaming of the various bureaucracies on the city, state or federal level to acquire actual official identity documents and the gaming of the immigration benefits program to acquire lawful immigration status and even United States citizenship by defrauding the immigration system that is administered by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
In fact, the very first time I was invited to provide testimony before a Congressional hearing was when then House Immigration Committee, Lamar Smith and then Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Henry Hyde, invited me to testify before a hearing convened by the Immigration Subcommittee conducted on May 20, 1997 on the topic:
"VISA FRAUD AND IMMIGRATION BENEFITS APPLICATION FRAUD"
You can review the transcript of that hearing, in its entirety here.
This hearing was, in large measure called because the terrorists who participated in two terrorist attacks in 1993- first at the CIA in January of that year and then at the World Trade Center the following month, were all foreign nationals (aliens) who had gamed the visa and/or the immigration benefits programs in order to enter the United States and embed themselves in our country in order to be able to carry out those attacks.
Clearly Immigration fraud involves a serious potential threat to national security and to the safety of our citizens.
The use of identity documents to conceal the true identity of individuals is also extremely problematic. Most criminals, both United States citizens and aliens, almost invariably use multiple false identities to conceal their true identities, and cover their tracks. This is why law enforcement agencies routinely fingerprint suspects of crimes in order to attempt to determine the true identities of these individuals. I have seen arrest records ("rap sheets") of criminals who had so many false names that their records required more than one page to list all of the aliases that they criminals employed. Indeed, change of identities provide the same sort of camouflage for a criminal that the change of coloration is employed by chameleons and other such creatures who use those changes as a means of hiding in plain sight. The 19 terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 employed more than 300 false names and variations of false names for this very purpose as they embedded themselves in our country in preparation for their deadly attacks.
Illegal aliens often make false claims to being United States citizens and although such false claims constitute a felony, it is unusual for these false claims to be criminally prosecuted unless their are extenuating circumstances. In this case, it is clear that Ms Wilson was extremely adept at acquiring false identities and using those identities in order to victimize an extremely vulnerable, elderly couple.
One of the other nagging thoughts that come to mind is the potential that she may have carried out similar crimes in the past, victimizing still other people.
If a chain is as strong as its weakest link, where so many of the various components of our federal government's bureaucracy are concerned, it would appear that all that we have are weak links and all but nonexistent links!
It is unbelievable that there are still so many people who steadfastly oppose the enforcement of our nation's immigration laws. In point of fact, those laws are intended to protect our nation and our citizens from foreign nationals (aliens) whose presence in our country pose a threat to our security and well being. I have often referred to such opponents of immigration law enforcement as being "Open borders advocates." In reality, I believe a more appropriate description for these folks is "Immigration Anarchists!"
The often cited claim that the enforcement of immigration laws is about being xenophobic or racist. In point of fact, the immigration laws are utterly blind as to the race, religion or ethnicity of people. The only distinction that these laws make is whether or not a person is a citizen or not!
There are precious few Special Agents of ICE and State Department who are actively engaged in conducting these critically important investigations into fraud that is committed to defeat our nation's borders and the borders of other countries around the world. This case should serve as an example of how easily the system can be gamed and how this imperils the well being of our nation and our citizens.
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
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.