Los Angeles Times: ‘Computer ‘raid’ in Vernon Leaves Factory Workers Devastated

The news article I have linked below appeared in the Friday edition of the Los Angeles Times and was brought to my attention by Bruce DeCell. Bruce is a close friend and a founding member of an organization that I have been advising for a number of years, “9/11 Families for a Secure America.” Bruce is a former New York City police officer. He helped to create that organization after his son-in-law was slaughtered at the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

It is important to consider the news article and also pay attention to the fact that the article fails to properly identify the real issues raised by the events that apparently resulted in the writing of the report.

First of all, it is important to note that identity theft is the fastest growing white collar crime in the United States today, claiming literally millions of victims.

The article discusses how the IRS notified the company, Overhill Farms about the fact that a couple hundred of their employees were using Social Security numbers that did not match the names that the employees provided the company. Consider the implications of this situation.

Several years ago when I appeared on a college campus radio station in New York, the host of the program disagreed with me about the issue of illegal aliens and others who would use false names to gain employment. I have discovered that when we discuss various issues it is important to take the situation and create a hypothetical situation that the people you are having the discussion with can relate to on a personal level. So I asked the young man (and the station’s audience) to consider a similar situation.

I asked them to imagine that they had met the ideal person. I asked the host to imagine a very attractive young lady who was bright, had a sunny disposition and a great sense of humor. Next I asked him to imagine that she shared many of his interests. Furthermore, I asked that he imagine that he was dating her for a period of time, perhaps 6 months and everything was going really great. I asked him to imagine that one day, for one reason or another, she approaches him and she seems really upset. She asks him to be understanding with her because although she had told him her name was Barbara Smith, in reality her name was Joyce Jones.

She provides some convoluted explanation about her use of a false name but it is apparent that she was not in the witness protection program, but that for whatever reason, she had decided to use a phony name when they met.

I asked the show’s host, “Armed with all of this information, what would you do?”

His answer was quick and decisive. He told me he would stop seeing her because he could no longer trust her. He could no longer know what her real motivations were for deceiving him about something that is as basic as it gets her real identity.

Employees of a company also have a relationship with their employer and with their fellow workers. It is disturbing; to say the least, to imagine that someone you work with every day might not be who they claimed to be.

Motivation is, of course, important. An illegal alien who engages in identity theft is violating our laws. Such an employee may also be concealing a criminal history. Although it was not an everyday occurrence, I did encounter individuals in various factories and other employment situations who had serious criminal histories or were, in fact, fugitives from justice.

In one instance, when I was working for the INS when I was assigned to a squad that was known as ACIS (Area Control, Illegal Status) my goal, and the goal of my colleagues, was to find as many illegal aliens as we could and take them into custody. Today the newspapers make much of such field operations. Back then it was simply considered another day at work.

One day I was asked to have a brand new agent Join us. His name was “P.J.” As we headed out to check some leads that had been provided by the general public who called our office or wrote letters alerting us to illegal aliens, I warned P.J. that when you encounter someone you may have to arrest, always be mindful that it is a bit like fishing – you throw a hook into the ocean and you catch a fish, the problem is that you don’t know what fish you caught.

As we drove past a glass factory in Brooklyn we noticed that the union workers were on strike but that the factory was operating while employees were picketing the factory. We had a complaint about the factory that stated that they had hired a number of illegal aliens to act as “strike breakers.”

I approached the owner of the factory and asked his permission to interview his employees. This was prior to the Amnesty of 1986 and so it was not illegal for an employer to intentionally hire illegal aliens. The owner was under no obligation to cooperate with us, but he agreed to permit us to speak with his workers.

We went up and down the rows of machines and spoke with each employee. Most of them had proof of lawful immigration status in the United States. One guy, a wiry and relatively short man in his mid-thirties claimed to have been born in a Caribbean country, I believe it was Trinidad. He told me that he had naturalized and that his uncle had “made his papers.” Although his uncle could not petition for him to get a green card, his uncle, if he was telling the truth, might have filed an application for his brother or sister. That might have meant that the uncle had provided a petition for his mother or father and under such a situation, although his answer was not quite accurate, it was plausible.

He had no identity documents in his possession, but, if he was a United States citizen, he would not be required to have proof of his citizenship on his person. He answered my questions and provided me with his name, date of birth and the date he claimed he had entered the United States. Armed with this information, I went out to my government car and called in the information to the office and asked that they run the info through the computer to see if we could come up with corroborating information. After a couple of minutes the answer came back – there was no record of anyone in our database with his name and date of birth.

I went back to him with a couple of other agents and asked him some more questions about how he got to be a citizen or even a resident alien. He provided some more answers that made no sense and he appeared to get nervous. Before I had approached him for the second time, I had worked out a “Plan B” with the agents I was working with.

When I finished talking to him I feigned walking away from him and then we all converged on him and I ordered him to gently place a sheet of glass he was holding on the table in front of him. I was concerned that the glass could be easily used as a weapon.

For a split second, he appeared to be contemplating running but then he complied with my instructions and we quickly handcuffed him.

On the way out to the car he asked if he could get a sip of water. We permitted him to go to the water fountain and were amazed to see him easily work the handle on the fountain with his hands cuffed behind his back. I commented that I had a hunch he had been previously arrested.

He was driven to our office by one of the other teams of agents. En route the other team radioed me that the guy in custody had admitted to being an illegal alien and that he had used a false name, but he had a really very good and understandable reasons for using that false name. They told me that they would not tell me what was going on until we were in the garage at the federal building. My curiosity was really aroused!

In the garage I approached the other agents and the guy we had arrested. This is what they told me. Our illegal alien had been convicted of a homicide years ago. He had served a jail sentence and was subsequently deported from the United States upon his release from prison. Sometime after he was deported he was arrested by local cops on a non-related matter but that the police contacted the INS when they found out he had been previously deported.

Because of his criminal history the U.S. Attorney’s office decided to prosecute him for committing a felony unlawfully reentering the United States after being deported. He told us that he had escaped from a federal correctional facility and took that job at which we found him!

We contacted the U.S. Marshal Service and they arranged to take him into custody and charge him with his escape from federal custody. We made certain that detainers were lodged to seek his removal, yet again, whenever he would be released from prison.

The owner of the factory was speechless when we told him about his employee’s “interesting” background.

In another instance, I received information about a young lady from British Guyana who was employed at a bank in Manhattan. What was interesting about this case was the fact that she had been bonded because she had access to large sums of cash in conjunction with her duties at the bank.

My partner and I approached the manager of the branch and told her about the young lady. (On my way to the manager’s office, I was carrying my walkie-talkie and responded to a call from my office. A male employee of the bank passed me and seemed to get really upset. I did not pay this much attention but did make a mental note about his reaction.)

I told the manager of the branch about the information we had about her employee and she asked the employee to come to the conference room where we confronted her about the allegation about her illegal status and use of a false name. I had expected that the allegation was probably false, especially because she had been bonded and also investigated by the bank when they hired her. To our surprise, tears welled up in her eyes and she blurted out that she was, in fact, illegally in the United States and had used a false identity to get her job. We took her into custody.

A day or two later, the branch manager called me up and told me that the woman we had arrested had been dating a male employee at the bank and that he had been arrested by the FBI that day for embezzling funds. As it turned out, the “boyfriend” was the guy who appeared distressed when he saw me at the bank a couple of days earlier! He told the FBI agents that he spotted me and thought I was there to arrest him!

Companies must know who they hire. Loss prevention is a major concern for all companies. All too often thefts that are committed at a place of employment are committed by the employees. Additionally, it is important for people who go to work be protected from criminals who would use false identities to conceal their backgrounds and, perhaps, their malevolent intentions.

Violence in the workplace is a serious problem and represents a threat to all working men and women. Just about every criminal and terrorist uses changes of identity the way that chameleons use changes in coloration to hide in plain sight, often among its intended victims (aka Lunch!)

Of course it is also well known that illegal aliens may also use false identities to conceal their illegal status and possibly, criminal histories.

What we don’t know, can hurt us! Anyone who is using a false identity can also do great harm to the person whose identity is stolen. I have read about Americans who are disabled and receiving disability payments being accused of falsifying claims of being disabled and having their payments stopped. They weren’t going to work, but their identities were! In some instances it took a significant amount of time to resolve the issue while their payments were stopped and they had to figure out how to pay their bills.

The article makes the point that the jobs of most of the illegal aliens who were fired are now being done by other workers. I call that a wonderful outcome! Think of how many Americans and resident aliens are now out of work and desperate to find a job to pay their bills. The unemployment rate is rapidly closing in on 10%. Think about what that means. One in ten workers is now unemployed. If more illegal aliens could be identified and removed from the workplace, more Americans would be able to work. Yet the reporter of this story appears upset at this outcome. I wonder how he would feel if he lost his job and found that an illegal alien was sitting at what had been his desk?

The article also makes it clear that the employer in this case provided ample time and opportunity for the workers whose Social Security numbers did not match, to resolve the issue and thus keep their jobs. Not one of the fired employees did so. What does that tell you?

Here are a couple of additional things to consider.

The place where the illegal aliens, whose identities are unknown, was a massive food processing plant. With all of the talk about the potential for a terrorist attack, don’t you believe that a massive food processing plant constitutes “critical infrastructure?” It is important that there is integrity to the food distribution system that provides food to millions of Americans. How much harm could a team of terrorists do if they sought employment at a large food processing plant and then poisoned the food?

The Congress just voted to not continue the E-Verify Program that the article explained could help to prevent the hiring of illegal aliens in the first place. Additionally the administration is apparently intent on not providing so-called “No Match” letters to employers to warn them if their employees are using apparently stolen Social Security numbers.

So, with virtually no resources being allocated to enforcing the immigration laws and now the best tools about to be dismantled, the immigration laws will become little more than minor speed bumps to illegal aliens seeking to enter our country and take unlawful employment.

As you may know, I am a senior fellow with CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization). Here is a notice that they have sent out – please check it out:

Alert! Obama administration to cancel E-Verify requirements and rescind “no-match” letters! The Obama Administration is planning to issue two regulations that will make it easier for illegal alien workers to find jobs.

President Obama is likely to cancel President Bush’s executive order requiring all government contractors to use the E-Verify program to verify the eligibility of all employees.

He also plans to rescind the “no-match” rule, whereby the Social Security Administration sends letters to employers when an employee’s name and Social Security number do not match.

If the goal of the economic stimulus program is to pump money back into the economy to get our economy moving, then it makes no sense to not enforce the immigration laws that can help Americans and resident aliens get jobs that they desperately need. It also makes no sense to hire foreign workers whose primary goal is to send their paychecks out of the United States and back to their families in their home countries. Last year over 40 billion dollars was wired from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean, predominantly by illegal aliens.

Additional money was transmitted in other ways from the United States to not only Latin America and the Caribbean but to countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and elsewhere. It is to be presumed that more than one hundred billion dollars were sent from the United States to these other countries. This was money that was not earned by American citizens and lawful immigrants. This is money that was not spent, saved or invested in the United States. This makes about as much sense as attempting to fill a bathtub with water but not closing the drain as you turn on the faucets. You could run the water all day and still have an empty tub! There are so many reasons why it is imperative that our nation secure its borders and create an immigration system that has integrity. This economic component of the immigration crisis confronting our nation is but one of several that includes national security, criminal justice, health care and education.

The politicians who refuse to represent the citizens of this nation need to pay with their jobs! 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 politicians who were elected to represent us and make it clear that if they continue to 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! 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!

Computer ‘raid’ in Vernon leaves factory workers devastated – Los Angeles Times

Michael Cutler
Michael Cutler, a former Senior INS Investigator, an expert witness in more than a dozen Congressional Hearings is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to the '911 Families for a Secure America.' He writes about the nexus between immigration and national security.