On November 21, 2017 the Department of Justice issued a press release, “Denaturalization Sought Against Five Child Sexual Abusers in Florida, Illinois and Texas.”
According to the press release, each of the five men had become naturalized United States citizens more than a decade ago and had all engaged in illegal sexual contact with children prior to becoming U.S. citizens. Three of the victims who had been sexually assaulted were merely six years old at the time they were assaulted.
In each case the alien concealed his criminal acts against his victim in filing for citizenship. Such false statements constitutes a felony under the provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 1425 (Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully) with a potential maximum prison sentence of 10 years in prison. However the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison may be imposed if such fraud was committed in conjunction with terrorism.
However, the statute of limitations of ten years has tolled for each of these individuals. (Most federal felonies have a statute of limitations of 5 years, where naturalization fraud is concerned, however, the statute of limitations is ten years. We will address the reason for this shortly.)
Consequently while these criminals cannot be criminally prosecuted for committing immigration fraud, all were naturalized well over a decade ago, the Justice Department is seeking to have them stripped of their citizenship to set the stage for removing (deporting) them from the United States.
Advocates for immigration reform insist that such aliens will undergo “security checks” that are conducted when aliens file applications for various immigration benefits. Clearly this flawed system failed where these five individuals referenced in the DOJ press release are concerned.
The only thing worse than no security is false security.
Aliens who seek to naturalize are supposed to undergo in-depth background investigations known as Good Moral Character (GMC) investigations.
Naturalization fraud not only enables criminals to evade detection but has a serious national security component as well.
This vetting process was greatly abbreviated under the Clinton administration and, as I noted in my April 2015 article, How DHS Ineptitude Facilitates Terrorist Operationshas not only enabled terrorists to escape proper scrutiny, they have been able to acquire various immigration benefits that enhance their ability to travel freely and embed themselves.
For terrorists United States citizenship and a U.S. passport is the ultimate “Key to the kingdom” facilitating their travel around the world using both their U.S. passport and the passport of their country of birth to cover their tracks and gain credibility in seeking entry into a series of counties around the world as they travel to receive training, conduct clandestine meetings and carry out attacks.
My article was predicated on a naturalized United States citizen, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud who had immigrated to the U.S. from his native Somali and was subsequently charged with traveling to Syria to fight against members of the U.S. military in the hopes of killing several American soldiers.
He was charged with several crimes including making false statements to the FBI agents who interrogated him but no mention was made of the fact that he had naturalized just one year earlier and had apparently lied on his application for citizenship.
On June 29, 2017 The Justice Department issued a press release, “Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to Terrorists” which laid out all of the charges to which the defendant pleaded guilty. However, the charge of naturalization fraud was not included. It is interesting to note that for one of the crimes, lying to the FBI agents in a matter involving terrorism, Mohamud can be sentenced to a maximum of 8 years in prison. However, naturalization fraud committed in conjunction with terrorism carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and would pave the way for his being stripped of United States citizenship.
There are many other documented cases of naturalized citizens who, intent on carrying out terror attacks seek U.S. citizenship thereby enabling them to obtain a U.S. passport. That strategy that was an integral part of their plans yet, inexplicably, not all of those cases have resulted in the terror suspect being charged with naturalization fraud.
Because of the particular significance of naturalization fraud and its potential nexus to national security and terrorism, while most federal felonies have a statute of limitations of five years, the statute of limitations for naturalization fraud is ten years.
In point of fact, the 9/11 Commission determined that immigration fraud and visa fraud were frequently used by terrorists as a means of entering the United States and embedding themselves in the United States in preparation for the deadly attacks they planned to conduct. This fact prompted me to write about Immigration Fraud- Lies That Kill.
Going back to the press release about the five aliens who face denaturalization, while, as the saying goes, “better late than never,” what is not clear is why it took the federal government more than a decade to uncover the fact that these individuals had lied on their applications for United States citizenship.
This is not simply an issue of the matter of being frustrated that justice delayed is justice denied, and the fact that because of the statute of limitations they escaped the possibility of being prosecuted and sentenced to jail time and a fine. A potentially even more significant issue is the unavoidable fact that each every day these child molesters were present in the United States, moving freely through the towns and cities where they lived that they may have had the opportunity to attack more defenseless children.
Indeed, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that some additional children may have been attacked but that the attacks went unknown and/or unreported.
If the system had worked as it should have worked, these predatory aliens might well have been stripped of their lawful immigrant status and deported from the United States before they even had the opportunity to file for naturalization.
Therefore Attorney General Sessions should consider issuing a directive to find out how the system permitted these five miscreants to slip through the cracks for such a long period of time.
It would be important, for example, to know if any of these criminal aliens had been aided by the anarchistic sanctuary policies of jurisdictions that seek to downgrade the nature of crimes for which aliens stand accused so that these aliens can be shielded from deportation, even where this endangers public safety including the youngest and most vulnerable members of communities across the United States.
Not only does this endanger pubic safety and national security but also undermines the principle of equal protection under the law for United States citizens.
Undoubtedly there are many other aliens who have similarly fallen through the infamous “cracks in the system.”
Every such criminal is a potential ticking time bomb whose presence, each day, poses a threat to the safety to the residents of the communities in which they live.
In the wake of recent mass shootings attention has focused on failures of the system that is supposed to prevent criminals and those suffering from serious mental illness from purchasing and possessing firearms. In the wake of several mass shootings, to everyone’s horror and frustration, it was determined that the shooter should have been barred from possessing firearms but, for various reasons, the system was not provided with relevant information that would have barred the gunmen from owning firearms.
The laws did not fail, the way they were administered, however, did. Vital relevant information was not included in databases undermining the integrity of the background checks.
On November 22, 2017 the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release entitled, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions Directs FBI and ATF to Conduct a Comprehensive Review of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”
It is important to make certain that guns do not fall into the hands of criminals and the severely mentally ill. It is, however, no less important to make certain that no less attention is given to the vetting systems concerning aliens who live in towns and cities across the United States.
As was noted in the official report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel”
Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud…
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.
Therefore a similar directive needs to be issued that addresses the failings of the process by which aliens seeking immigration benefits are scrutinized, including the impact that “sanctuary” policies may play in undermining this critical system.