Ukrainian National Infiltrates Harrisburg High School

How an illegal immigrant lied about his identity and age and embedded himself among PA children.

A series of recent disturbing news reports have focused on an alleged illegal alien, Artur Samarin, a citizen of the Ukraine who reportedly entered the United States with a non-immigrant visa.  He apparently decided that rather than return to his native country, as required under the terms of his lawful admission into the United States, he would create a fictitious identity in the name of Asher Potts and then enroll in a high school in Harrisburg, PA in the fall of 2012 where he subsequently studied for four years.

His assumed identity also included a false date of birth that made him appear to be years younger than he actually is.

Let me begin by saying that I personally know nothing about Artur Samarin.  The only information I have to go by is the information that has been provided in news accounts.  When I was a federal agent I found that sometimes news reports about investigations I was involved in were as likely to be accurate as they were likely to be inaccurate.

That said, the reports about Samarin's case are important to consider because, as you will see, they involve a case that points out failures of the immigration system that have been the norm rather than the exception and these failures may have significant national security and public safety implications.

A local newspaper reported on this story in an article published on February 24, 2016, “Police: Harrisburg High student assumed false identity, is actually Ukrainian national."

The way he created a false identity to attend a local high school would have been troubling enough, but this was only the beginning of how Mr. Samarin went about his plans to hide in plain sight. He is a apparently an extremely bright student. He managed to achieve an exemplary 4.16 grade point average and consequently be admitted into the National Honor Society. A member of Congress actually presented him with that award. He went on to join the ROTC and Naval Sea Cadet programs at the high school. His academic specialty is science. He became a member of the honor society and told classmates he wanted to work for NASA.

He was certainly not keeping a low profile.  It causes me to wonder what his ultimate goals had been if his deception had not been discovered.

How his deception was discovered is unclear.  However, according to published reports, he was just four months from graduation when local police discovered his alleged crimes and arrested him.  In one article, DHS officials stated that they were “monitoring” the case.  The enforcement of our immigration laws is vested within component agencies of the DHS.  Therefore, DHS should be the lead agency in this matter -- the defendant in this case is allegedly an illegal alien who violated the terms of his admission into the United States.  He allegedly created a fictitious identity, which violates state law, but also violates federal law: Title 18 U.S. Code § 1028  (fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information.)

Even more significantly, he apparently violated Title 18 U.S. Code § 911, which simply states:

“Whoever falsely and willfully represents himself to be a citizen of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Yet the lame response from the leadership at the Department of Homeland Surrender, as I have come to refer to that dysfunctional agency, is to claim that they are simply “monitoring” the situation.

First of all, presuming all of the information that has been made available in the media is accurate, Samarin is an illegal alien subject to removal.  He did not evade the inspections process at ports of entry by entering without inspection, but, in fact, was admitted into the United States.  It would appear that he overstayed his authorized period of time by a period of years.

An estimated 40% of all illegal aliens present in the United States are aliens who, in one way or another, violated the terms of their lawful admission into the United States.

The requirement of tracking the arrival and departure of nonimmigrant visitors was a part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996. My September 3, 2015 FrontPage Magazine article addressed the significance of this requirement, that is still effectively functioning, “Keeping Track of Visa Violators.”

The 9/11 Commission also mandated that arrival and departure of nonimmigrant alien visitors be tracked as a matter of national security.  Consider this excerpt from Chapter 12 of the 9/11 Commission Report:

Looking back, we can also see that the routine operations of our immigration laws-that is, aspects of those laws not specifically aimed at protecting against terrorism-inevitably shaped al Qaeda’s planning and opportunities. Because they were deemed not to be bona fide tourists or students as they claimed, five conspirators that we know of tried to get visas and failed, and one was denied entry by an inspector. We also found that had the immigration system set a higher bar for determining whether individuals are who or what they claim to be-and ensuring routine consequences for violations-it could potentially have excluded, removed, or come into further contact with several hijackers who did not appear to meet the terms for admitting short-term visitors.

Our investigation showed that two systemic weaknesses came together in our border system’s inability to contribute to an effective defense against the 9/11 attacks: a lack of well-developed counterterrorism measures as a part of border security and an immigration system not able to deliver on its basic commitments, much less support counterterrorism.

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel detailed numerous examples of instances where terrorists made use of visa and immigration benefit and document fraud to embed themselves in the United States.

Page 54 of the Commission's report contained this excerpt under the title “3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot.”

Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.

In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.

Some of our politicians and candidates have conceded the need to keep track of aliens who are admitted to determine if they depart the United States within the time constraints of their admission. Although most of these politicians insist on the need to hire more Border Patrol agents, they ignore the need for more ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to enforce our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States to apprehend alien visa violators.

On December 20, 2015 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) posted my commentary, “Effective Interior Enforcement of Immigration Law Vital to Nat'l Security.”

Some news articles about the Samarin case noted that the policies of the board of education in Harrisburg prohibited the school from inquiring as to the immigration status of any of the students who attend the schools.  This is a widespread policy consistent with “Sanctuary Cities” and must end.

On July 16, 2015 Californians for Population Stabilization posted my article, “Sanctuary Cities and Collateral Damage.

Students and their parents have the absolute right to know who is attending our schools -- our children's lives are at stake.

We have naively declared schools in many communities to be “gun-free zones,” as though terrorists will not carry firearms when they are confronted by those signs.  Perhaps signs should be posted that declare schools to be “terrorist-free zones.”

Prior to boarding airliners and entering government and, often, corporate office buildings, we are required to provide appropriate documentation to attest to our true identities out of concerns for safety.  Should not similar precautions be taken where our children are concerned?

It is impossible, at this point to know what Samarin's long term goals might have been.  His goals may have been purely innocuous, but in this perilous world, such doubts need to raise concerns -- not only about this immediate case, but in general terms as well.

The question that he raises is whether he might have been a “sleeper.”  On January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat.”

When “Sanctuary Cities” intentionally shield illegal aliens from detection, they are not demonstrating compassion but a willingness to compromise our safety and security.

My September 24, 2015 FrontPage article addressed my concerns, ‘Sanctuary Cities’ or ‘Safe Havens’ for Terrorists?

Suicide is not an act of compassion.