Immigration Fraud Threatens National Security
Soldiers at Fort Bragg arrested for alleged marriage fraud conspiracy.
With nearly all of the focus of the immigration debate centering on the abject lack of security along the U.S./Mexico border, other failures of the overwhelmed immigration system are being utterly ignored. Make no mistake: that dangerous border must be made secure against the illegal and uninspected entry of aliens, but the other failures of the immigration system are no less serious and pose no less of a threat.
The majority of these failures center on the lack of resources for the enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States, an issue I addressed in my recent article about the importance of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to arresting illegal aliens, there are many other elements critical to the interior enforcement mission. One of the most critical is to conduct investigations to uncover immigration fraud, whereby aliens are provided with various immigration benefits such as being granted political asylum, lawful immigrant status and even U.S. citizenship to which they would not be entitled if all of the relevant material facts were known.
Such investigations are conducted by a subdivision of ICE known as HSI (Homeland Security Investigations).
On January 27, 2019 military.com published an article, "Marriage Scam Paired Fort Bragg Soldiers with Immigrants, Feds Say" that had previously appeared in the News & Observer and focused on a marriage fraud ring that was allegedly operating at Fort Bragg that would have provided aliens with green cards and access to the military base.
Here is how this report began:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- A sergeant and a private at Fort Bragg sought to arrange sham marriages between soldiers and immigrants, offering cash, housing benefits and furniture as incentive for potential brides, according to federal court documents.
Arrest warrants were issued last week for Sgt. Edward Kumi Anguah, described as "the facilitator" of the conspiracy, and Pvt. Ahmid Mohammed-Murtada, a recently naturalized citizen from Ghana serving in a Fort Bragg Army unit, court records show.
The investigation began in December when an agent for the Department of Homeland Security interviewed Pvt. Endasia East about having an affair with a single soldier while married to Sulemana Ibrahim, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
During that interview, "she confirmed the marriage was in fact fraudulent," according to court records.
On February 22, 2019 the Military Times reported on the same investigation: "Fort Bragg soldiers indicted in marriage and immigration fraud sting," which reported in part on the magnitude of punishment that the defendants in this case face:
Anguah faces up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, harboring an alien to come to the U.S. and visa fraud, according to the release.
Hoomkwap and Murtadaas faces 15 years and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and harboring certain aliens to come to the U.S.
Ibrahim faces 35 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, harboring certain aliens to come to the U.S., visa fraud and making false statements under oath.
These penalties are extremely serious, befitting the nature of the crimes that were allegedly committed, and stand in stark contrast with the way a number of films have trivialized the crime of marriage fraud, in which an American marries an illegal alien, not out of love but to prevent the alien from being deported, as the basis for “romantic comedies.” Consider Green Card which starred Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell, and the film The Proposal which featured Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson and Betty White.
For many years the mainstream media and Hollywood have distorted the truth about immigration in many ways. Immigration law enforcement agents have been vilified in numerous films, some of which featured big-name stars, such as Crossing Over starring Harrison Ford.
The 9/11 Commission had a far more sobering take on marriage fraud and other forms of immigration fraud. The concerns of the Commission served as the premise of my article, "Immigration Fraud: Lies That Kill."
Consider this quote from the government report that was prepared by the 9/11 Commission staff, 9/11 and Terrorist Travel:
Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.
Now let’s go back to the news report about the alleged marriage fraud ring at Fort Bragg.
As a former INS agent, the first issue that caught my eye was the fact that at least one of the key players in the alleged conspiracy is himself a naturalized citizen. Hopefully the HSI agents are assiduously reviewing his immigration file to determine if he committed immigration fraud in order to acquire lawful immigrant status and subsequent U.S. citizenship.
U.S. citizenship provides aliens with the “keys to the kingdom.” In the years since the 9/11 Commission wrapped up its work, a number of terror attacks in the United States states have been carried out by aliens who had been granted political asylum, lawful immigrant status and even U.S. citizenship.
The challenge for USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), the division of DHS that adjudicates applications for immigration benefits, is being overwhelmed by millions of applications that they adjudicate each year with minimal resources to verify the information contained in those applications.
Although the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that Good Moral Character investigations be conducted for each naturalization case, today little more can be done than run fingerprints and query databases with relatively few if any actual field investigations conducted to weed out fraud.
It is also worth noting that according to a New York Times article published in May 2015, when Osama bin Laden’s compound was raided by Navy Seals on May 1, 2011, among the documents found in bin Laden’s personal library was a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report, three reports on Al Qaeda by the Congressional Research Service, and an application for United States citizenship.
I compare the plight of the hapless Adjudications Officers of USCIS with the hilarious episode of I Love Lucy in which Lucy and her friend Ethel are hired to wrap candy in a factory. The candy hurtles at them on a conveyor belt that continues to accelerate until all they can do is either eat the candy or stuff them into their clothes.
However, the prospect of overwhelmed Adjudications Officers approving applications because they cannot keep up with the tsunami of applications is no laughing matter.
In the months after the terror attacks of 9/11 we were constantly reminded that to succeed, the terrorists only need to “get it right” once. Each immigration application potentially provides that opportunity the terrorists eagerly seek.