Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a press release on January 25, 2011.
The press release reports on an important prosecution of an attorney who, according to the information provided in the press release, allegedly helped “dozens” of his clients to game the immigration system by conspiring with these alien clients and others, to commit visa fraud.
Certainly this investigation is important and it is entirely appropriate for the folks at ICE to crow about this case. Of course, as the saying goes, an indictment is not a conviction and we will have to wait and see how the prosecution proceeds. However, I also think that it is important to ask questions that were not answered by the press release – and I can assure you that these questions also illustrate the deficiencies in the enforcement of our immigration laws.
To begin with, none of the clients were identified by name or nationality. This is significant because my concern is that it is possible that among the clients were aliens from so-called “Special Interest Countries.” These are countries that the United States Department of State has so designated because these countries have an involvement with the sponsorship of terrorism or are otherwise involved with terrorism.
My concern is that some of these clients might be citizens of these countries and may have entered our country with the intention of conducting terrorist-related activities in our country. The 9/11 Commission noted that of 94 terrorists that they identified as operating in the United States in the decade leading up to the attacks of September 11, 2001, approximately two-thirds of them (59) used visa fraud and/or immigration benefit fraud as a means of entering our country and embedding themselves in our country.
Additional terrorism suspects who have since been arrested in the United States have also been determined to have used the system by which visas are issued or immigration benefits are conferred upon aliens to enter our country and then embed themselves in our country, enabling them to hide in plain sight.
Additionally, I am not sure that ICE even knows how many “clients” availed themselves of the services of Parmesh N. Dixit, the attorney whose arrest was reported upon in the press release. This is not mere conjecture on my part – please consider the fact that the press release provided the following statement:
“This immigration attorney allegedly used his knowledge of the United States’ visa programs to fraudulently manipulate the system for dozens of clients,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates. “He is now charged with deliberately lying about his clients’ qualifications to make them look qualified for a U.S. work visa, when he knew they were not. Lies on federal visa applications violate federal laws. Those who help others fill out visa applications with false information – lawyers or not – face prosecution.”
In reporting on the fact that “dozens” of his clients benefitted by Dixit’s alleged manipulation of the system, it is clear that the agents may not have a fix on the precise number of such aliens even though the press release did note that he had been charged with 28 counts of visa fraud. The reason I make this statement is that the while certainly 28 represents slightly more than two dozen, I am suspicious about the total number because he was also charged with 42 counts of harboring.
The issue of harboring is also of great concern. It is extremely unusual for an attorney to harbor his clients. Generally the crime of harboring is associated with two general situations – employers who provide housing for their illegal alien employees when it is not customary for employees of a particular industry to be be provided with housing accommodation and alien smugglers who harbor the aliens they have smuggled as they wait for opportunities to transport them to their intended destinations and/or get paid for their smuggling “services.”
Now we must ask the obvious question, was Parmesh N. Dixit engaged in alien smuggling? There was no mention as to how the aliens had entered the United States. It may be assumed that at least some of them may have been admitted with visas obtained through fraud. It may be that all of these aliens did, indeed, enter the United States this way. On the other hand, it is also possible that some of the aliens may have evaded the inspections process by running our borders or that they entered the United States via the inspections process and then sought to acquire resident alien status by availing themselves of Dixit’s “services.”
Mr. Dixit was not charged, at least thus far, with alien smuggling or transporting, but he has been charged with harboring. He also was apparently working with others with whom he conspired. There is no mention of the people he conspired with, other than his clients. Of course he could have simply conspired with his clients, but when you consider that the fraud he is alleged to have committed involved false claims about aliens seeking visas in order to work in the United States, the obvious question is whether or not individuals who were involved with the employment of foreign workers had conspired with the aliens and or the defendant.
Of course this would raise the possibility of companies that only exist on “paper” whose only purpose for existence is to provide the illusion of employers seeking employees. If this was the case, the issue that needs to be clarified is where are the other co-conspirators? Who are the corporate executives who offered those jobs and where are they? Did they know that they were being provided with employees who would not be able to do the work they were purportedly seeking employees to do?
In fact, when you consider the paragraph from the press release I have attached below, you really have to wonder what was truly going on. On the one hand the issue of visas is noted and then there was information about aliens who apparently sought to acquire United States citizenship through fraud. An alien who has a visa to enter the United States is not eligible to acquire citizenship – it certainly appears odd that the issue citizenship was raised in the press release but yet there was no mention of naturalization fraud. I have to hope that the author of the press release, apparently an ICE employee, would understand the difference between an alien with a visa versus an alien who applied to naturalize!
According to the charges and other information presented in court, from July 2005 through July 2008, Dixit conspired with others to obtain visas for his clients by submitting fraudulent applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Dixit filed applications for citizenship containing false information, altering the facts so that aliens who were not eligible for work visas would appear eligible.
Next we should consider the fact that Dixit, himself, was noted as having dual citizenship. The press release noted that he has both a United States Passport as well as a British passport. Again, this raises one of the issues that continues to frustrate me – the fact that ICE failed to note if the defendant in this case was born in the United States and acquired British citizenship as well as U.S. citizenship at birth if his parents were British subjects. On the other hand, it is more likely that he acquired his own United States citizenship through the naturalization process.
I would hope that someone at ICE is exploring the possibility that if Mr. Dixit is, in fact, a naturalized citizen that he had gamed the system for himself by committing fraud before he sought to help his clients. It would certainly be important to know if he is a naturalized citizen and how old he was when he naturalized.
Another issue of importance is the whereabouts of Dixit’s “clients.” The press release noted that 28 aliens had filed for visas yet there were 42 counts of harboring. Are any of these individuals in custody? Have any of these aliens turned state’s evidence and are now cooperators? Why were there nearly twice as many aliens who were harbored as there were aliens who sought visas through fraud? The issue of the current whereabouts of the aliens is especially important if, as I noted above, there is any potential that these aliens had entered the United States with truly nefarious goals – to either become involved in criminal or terrorist organizations.
If these aliens have not all been identified, what efforts are being made to discover all aliens who committed visa fraud? What efforts are being made to arrest and prosecute the aliens who obviously conspired with Dixit? If Dixit conspired with them, then it goes without saying that they conspired with him! Yet there was absolutely no mention of anyone else being arrested or indicted. I would love to know why this issue was utterly ignored in the press release. Was this simply an omission in the press release or is the simple truth that there is no effort underway and no effort forthcoming, to seek to apprehend and prosecute the client coconspirators?
It is obviously important to prosecute those aliens who conspired with Dixit because they committed felonies. It is also of extreme importance that these individuals be arrested and prosecuted because of the potential message that this case sends. If aliens become convinced that even if they are found to have committed fraud that little or no effort will be expended to find them, arrest them and prosecute them, then we encourage countless more aliens to engage in visa fraud and/or immigration benefit fraud as a viable tactic for getting to the United States.
Today the administration has taken to conducting “silent raids” that, in extremely limited numbers, targets employers of illegal aliens while almost invariably, ignoring the illegal alien employees. As you may know, on January 26th of this year, I was called to testify at a hearing into the employer sanctions efforts (or lack thereof) being carried out by ICE.
The hearing was conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement and it was Lamar Smith, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who invited me to provide my testimony. The topic for this hearing was:
“ICE Worksite Enforcement – Up to the Job?”
The transcript of that hearing was published in NewsBlaze:
While we are on the topic of hearings relating to these important issues, on May 18, 2004 I was called by the then Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims, Sheila Jackson Lee, and asked to testify before a hearing that was entitled:
I pushed the issue, at that hearing, about considering fraud as a tool of alien smuggling. Here is a short excerpt from my prepared testimony (you can read my entire testimony by going to the link above.):
“I would also suggest that the efforts to facilitate cultivating informants in alien-smuggling cases also be used in conjunction with informants who similarly assist in providing information that leads to the elimination or disruption of large-scale fraud rings. Traditionally, these rings either furnish many fraudulent documents to circumvent components of the Immigration and Nationality Act or devise schemes which, on a large scale, provide aliens with a means of obtaining immigration benefits – such as residency and citizenship – to which they are not entitled through such schemes as marriage fraud and labor certification fraud. I make these recommendations in view of the fact that, according to recent GAO reports, fraud is highly prevalent in the immigration benefits program.”
The point is that I am greatly concerned about many of the questions I raised in this commentary about the case discussed in the press release.
Two final points:
I can assure you that this alleged operation is not by any stretch of the imagination unique. There are many fraud rings operating across our nation that are aided and abetted by their cohorts in other countries. These fraud rings compromise our nation’s security and endanger our safety. There is such a lack of resources dedicated to conducting these critically important investigations.
There are probably no more than a few dozen special agents of ICE for the entire United States of America who are assigned to combat this extremely serious vulnerability. Considering the threats to our national security that these fraud rings comprise, it is unconscionable that more resources are not being made available to combat this grave threat.
It should also be noted that there are many instances where the sort of visa fraud that is conducted undermines American workers where the aliens may, in fact, possess reasonable skill levels but where the applications are manipulated to make certain that Americans are blocked from getting those jobs, especially in so-called “high tech.”
This sort of fraud represents a betrayal of our citizens who are finding it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to support themselves and their families by being hired to do the work that they have been educated and trained to perform. In some instances, American and resident alien workers have lost their jobs to unscrupulous employers and their attorneys who work cooperatively to undermine these workers.
Just last week I provided a couple of links to news segments that had aired on Lou Dobbs Tonight when Lou was on CNN. I believe that these video clips are relevant to this discussion and are of such importance that I am also including them here:
Check out this video of a segment of Lou Dobbs Tonight that aired on November 15, 2007 and dealt with the issue of H1B visas and made it clear that there is no shortage of American engineers, computer programmers and others with graduate degrees in the high tech industries.
What will really infuriate you is the video of an immigration lawyers’ conference in which lawyers were being coached to “not find qualified U.S. workers!” The lecturer who is instructing the attorneys is a guy by the name of Lawrence M. Lebowitz, the Vice President of Marketing for the firm of Cohen & Grigsby. This video was posted on You Tube by the Programmer Guild, an organization that is comprised of computer programmers.
This video runs for roughly 4 minutes and 30 seconds and I urge you to watch this video that was, I believe, made clandestinely.
I want you to now consider that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is that all-inclusive body of laws that regulates the entry of aliens into the United States and also their presence in the United States. It deals with immigration benefits and the grounds under which an alien might be removed (deported) from the United States.
Under the INA, the law…” …excludes aliens seeking to immigrate “for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor,” except that such aliens may be eligible for a visa if:
the Secretary of Labor has determined that (A) there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified and available at the time of application for a visa and admission into the United States and at the place where the alien is to perform the work, and (B) the employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of the United States workers similarly employed.”
The bottom line is that visa fraud hammers our nation and our citizens in so many ways and yet virtually nothing is done to combat this serious threat to our well being. In fact, one of my most serious issues with Comprehensive Immigration Reform is the way that it would cause an already dysfunctional agency, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to implode by requiring God knows how many millions of applications to be dumped into the bureaucratic hopper of that inept, overwhelmed and corrupt organization – causing me to refer to “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” by a far more honest and descriptive name, the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act!”
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!
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.
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.In less than two years more than one third of the seats in the United States Senate will be up for election. In less than two years every single seat in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs! The politicians have become accustomed to expecting that the power of the incumbency is on their side. We only have ourselves to blame for this.
We the People need to take every opportunity to confront those who were elected to represent us and make it clear that if they fail to represent us, we will find someone who will!
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!