One of the crimes that is rarely discussed in the media or acknowledged by our politicians is the crime of an alien making a false claim to U.S. citizenship a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 911:
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.
Illegal aliens may falsely claim to be United States citizens to evade detection by immigration law enforcement officers and hence, deportation (removal) from the United States but that crime is rarely prosecuted.
When I attended the U.S. Border Patrol Academy at the beginning of my career with the former INS was methods for breaking such false claims to U.S. citizenship. To my knowledge no other law enforcement agencies provide instruction in this issue.
In an earlier aptly titled article, False Claims To U.S. Citizenship I noted that because of such false claims, particularly when aliens are incarcerated, it is impossible to know how many illegal alien criminals are actually incarcerated around the United States, particularly in “Sanctuary” jurisdictions, where the rule of the day for immigration issues can be summed up as “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Most illegal aliens use stolen identities or assume false identities in order to accept unlawful employment in the United States, usually working at relatively menial, economic bottom rung jobs that require little, if any formal education or skills.
However, on March 28, 2019 the New York Times reported on an illegal alien who had become a member of the U.S. Border Patrol in an article, Border Officer’s Secret in Arizona: He Was Undocumented.
That article began with this excerpt:
Marco A. De La Garza Jr. spent nearly six years as a federal officer with Customs and Border Protection, working on the front lines of America’s southern border in Arizona and doing his best to keep undocumented immigrants out of the United States.A Navy veteran, he was known for going the extra mile: One day, while off duty, he rushed out of a barbecue at his in-laws’ house in Sierra Vista, Ariz., when he spotted an undocumented man being chased by the Border Patrol. He tackled the runner and held him until the agents caught up.Few knew Mr. De La Garza’s secret: He was undocumented, too.The nation’s main border protection agency had hired an unauthorized immigrant to police the border — one of at least four cases of undocumented workers revealed to be working at federal immigration agencies in recent years.Mr. De La Garza, 38, was born in Mexico, and had lied about his citizenship status and supplied his employer with a fraudulent Texas birth certificate that falsely said he was born in Brownsville, Tex.“In retrospect, I fully understand now that I was being selfish in my desire to serve my country that I had so loved,” he wrote after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of passport fraud and making false statements on his application for a federal law enforcement background check.Mr. De La Garza agreed to plead guilty to one count of passport fraud, and the other two counts were dropped. On Thursday he was sentenced in Federal District Court in Tucson to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine. Judge Raner C. Collins said his service to the country “ought to count for something.”
Let me make it clear from the outset that I have no knowledge about De La Garza’s character or his dedication to service in either the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Border Patrol. That said, I am troubled by the judge’s findings and statements concerning an illegal alien who had entered the United States illegally and then repeatedly committed felonies by making a series of false statements to join the U.S. Navy and serve on a nuclear submarine and submit to followup security clearances.
Mr. De La Garza lived and worked on a nuclear submarine as a trusted member of the crew although his very identity and background was a fabrication.
Nuclear submarines are among the most sensitive assets in our military’s arsenal.
On August 19, 2016 military.com published an AP article, Sailor Gets Year in Prison for Taking Photos in Nuclear Sub. That President Trump subsequently pardoned the sailor in this case does not minimize how seriously our military takes breaches of security.
De La Garza then lied when he filed an application to become a member of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Those highly sensitive positions have clear nexus to national security where the potential for harm to national security is inestimable and must be viewed from that perspective.
He additionally lied on his application for a U.S. passport with potential for further harm to national security. A U.S. passport is truly the “gold key to the kingdom.”
His positions in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Border Patrol involved in-depth background investigations, not merely “background checks” where a name and fingerprints are run through computer databases but actual field investigations are conducted to verify the information provided by the applicant seeking the job and the security clearance. Yet he succeeded in deceiving these background investigations.
An investigation into the way these investigations are conducted must be initiated.
As for his false application for a U.S. passport, the U.S. Department of State issues passports and has posted information about crimes involving passport and visa fraud on its website under the title, Passport and Visa Fraud: A Quick Course. One of the crimes enumerated in that posting is:
18 U.S. Code § 1542. False statement in application and use of passport which provides for a maximum of 25 years in prison if the crime was committed in conjunction with terrorism:
Whoever willfully and knowingly makes any false statement in an application for passport with intent to induce or secure the issuance of a passport under the authority of the United States, either for his own use or the use of another, contrary to the laws regulating the issuance of passports or the rules prescribed pursuant to such laws; orWhoever willfully and knowingly uses or attempts to use, or furnishes to another for use any passport the issue of which was secured in any way by reason of any false statement—Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 25 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism (as defined in section 2331 of this title)), 20 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (as defined in section 929(a) of this title)), 10 years (in the case of the first or second such offense, if the offense was not committed to facilitate such an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime), or 15 years (in the case of any other offense), or both.
We must not lose sight that his first violation of law was to enter the United States without inspection. All other crimes he subsequently committed would not have been possible had he not been able to enter the U.S.
Perhaps the judge who decided to let the defendant off with probation did so because he, not unlike all too many other judges and politicians, doesn’t consider immigration law violations to be serious.
Nothing could be further from the truth.