Today when the issue of illegal immigration is raised, especially when it involves human trafficking, the discussion turns to the southwest border of the United States, the border that, at least on maps, separates the United States from Mexico.
We have even heard political leaders, including those who would become our nation's next president, talk about “America's four border states” as though the immigration crisis that impacts most of the serious challenges and threats that confront our nation is only an issue of concern for the states of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas and the only way to violate our immigration laws is to run our nation's southwest border!
Undeniably, those four states are getting hammered because of the human tsunami that unrelentingly charges across our nation's southwest border each and every day. However, any state that has an international airport or a seaport of necessity and commonsense, must also be considered a border state. Furthermore, even when illegal aliens run our nation's borders, they are likely to travel to states that are far from the border where they first set foot on American soil.
Today my commentary will address a particularly creative criminal operation that allegedly enticed illegal aliens to enter the United States under false pretenses. The aliens, according to a press release issued by the Office of the United States Attorney for Denver Colorado on March 9, 2012, purports that the aliens who entered the United States with the assistance, indeed the enticement of the two defendants in this case, thought that they were following the immigration laws of the United States and would be lawfully earning substantial salaries as instructors in the nursing profession in a nursing school operated in the United States. Once they got here they were told that the jobs for which H-1B visas had been issued were no longer available and that they would have to settle for a fraction of the wages that they were promised to work in extended care facilities in areas for which they had no specific training. Allegedly the facilities that hired these aliens thought that they were also complying with the immigration laws.
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) also issued a news release about this case on March 9, 2012.
The two alleged con artists who were identified as Philip Langerman, 77, and Kizzy Kalu, 47, purportedly had everyone they dealt with bamboozled and they were raking in the profits, literally and figuratively at the expense of their victims. Kalu is in custody and Langerman is being sought.
The press releases did not disclose how many aliens were ultimately involved or what their countries of citizenship were. The press releases made no mention of the whereabouts of these aliens or whether or not efforts will be expended to seek to send them back to their countries of citizenship. Under current policies, they are likely to be declared “Victims of Human Trafficking.” While they may have been swindled out of the jobs they expected to work at with appropriate salaries, they may now be entitled to remain permanently in the United States.
Additionally, the only way to determine Kizzy Kalu is an alien, a citizen of Nigeria, was to do some surfing on the internet. It is nearly Orwellian to consider how the issue of immigration status has all but been stricken from the government's official vernacular!
The means by which he entered the United States, however, has never been disclosed anywhere. Clearly the administration is seeking to blur the distinction between aliens who have been lawfully admitted and aliens who either violated our laws when they initially entered the United or, in one way or another, violated their terms of admission after they entered the United States. This is a deceptive practice and one that, as an apparent “unintended consequence,” may cast aspersions upon law abiding immigrants because there are so many illegal aliens present in our country today and the administration refuses to effectively address this serious problem.
This case is of extreme importance because it involves the violation of many of our immigration laws and demonstrates just how easily a crafty crook can game the system that is, at its foundation, supposed to protect American lives and American jobs. In fact, the news releases note that the defendants have been charges in 132 count criminal indictments.
Here is an excerpt from the press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's office of Denver, Colorado:
According to the indictment, Kalu and Langerman were involved in a scheme making false representations to foreign nationals, to the State of Colorado, to the United States of America, and others for the purpose of obtaining money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses and representations. One purpose of the scheme was to obtain the apparent lawful presence in the U.S. of foreign nationals which would supply labor to a business entity controlled by Kalu. After the foreign nationals’ presence was obtained, Kalu used methods of coercion, including the threat of causing their deportation, to obtain their labor at various long-term care facilities in Colorado.
Langerman made and caused to be made representations that an educational institution by the name of Adam University, located in Denver, Colorado, was a bona fide institution of higher education, was in need of professional instructors with expertise in the area of nursing (which were considered “specialty occupations” under U.S. immigration regulations). Adam University is alleged to have existed in name only. The foreign nationals were granted H1B visas permitting them to be employed as nurse instructors/supervisors at Adam University.
The scheme allegedly involved Foreign Healthcare Professional Group (FHPG), a company operated by Kalu, recruiting foreign nationals to be employed by Adam University as teaching professionals and supervisors in the field of nursing. Kalu allegedly knew Adam University was an educational institution in name only, and was not in need of any instructors in nursing.
It would be helpful to provide you with a bit of background information at this point about the way that the issue of immigration law enforcement must consist of more than a debate about border fences and punishing employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens. Undoubtedly these two issues are important, however, there is far more to the immigration system that creates a multitude of vulnerabilities to the immigration system and hence to the security of our nation that is almost never addressed but must be if the system is to have real integrity.
On May 18, 2004 the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims conducted a hearing on the topic: “PUSHING THE BORDER OUT ON ALIEN SMUGGLING: NEW TOOLS AND INTELLIGENCE INITIATIVES"
I was notified about that hearing by counsel to the then Ranking Member of that Subcommittee, Sheila Jackson Lee weeks before it was held. I was initially told that the purpose of the hearing was to explore ways to combat alien smuggling and human trafficking. I was happy to have been provided with that information about an upcoming hearing and engaged in a discussion with her counsel about the need to include immigration fraud in taking up the issue. Eventually Rep. Jackson Lee agreed to include the issue of immigration fraud in the hearing and she providing me with a letter of invite to testify at the hearing as her witness. This ultimately resulted in the creation of a fraud task force.
During the course of my prepared testimony, I discussed the issue of the need to cultivate informants and to not only go after the smugglers who facilitated the entry of illegal aliens by running our nation's borders and circumventing the inspections process, but to also provide necessary resources to combat fraud rings- rings that provide counterfeit or altered identity documents, and those rings that enter into conspiracies to perpetrate fraud schemes.
Here is an excerpt from my prepared testimony about this issue:
I would also suggest that the efforts to facilitate cultivating informants in alien-smuggling cases also be used in conjunction with informants who similarly assist in providing information that leads to the elimination or disruption of large-scale fraud rings. Traditionally, these rings either furnish many fraudulent documents to circumvent components of the Immigration and Nationality Act or devise schemes which, on a large scale, provide aliens with a means of obtaining immigration benefits—such as residency and citizenship—to which they are not entitled through such schemes as marriage fraud and labor certification fraud. I make these recommendations in view of the fact that, according to recent GAO reports, fraud is highly prevalent in the immigration benefits program.
Finally, I want to reiterate the point that I welcome efforts that enhance the enforcement of the immigration statutes that would help in securing our Nation's borders and, consequently, our Nation's security. I believe that the additional discretionary authority should be given to both components of the enforcement program, ICE and CBP, to facilitate the vital missions of these two agencies.
Several years ago, when I testified at another Congressional hearing, I compared the immigration system with a balloon. I said that when you squeeze on a balloon at one side, it would bulge somewhere else. The point is that effective immigration law enforcement must take into account how smugglers and aspiring illegal aliens and especially the criminals and terrorists among them, will seek to compensate when law enforcement expends efforts to thwart alien smuggling and other immigration related crimes. Today when the Border Patrol steps up enforcement activities along a point on the border, the smugglers simply find other vulnerable points along the border to establish new smuggling routes. The entire immigration system works the very same way. If you make it exceptionally difficult for illegal aliens to gain employment, you will simply provide incentives for conscientious and determined illegal aliens to commit immigration fraud to acquire Green Cards by gaming the system.
It only takes one hole at the bottom of a boat to cause that boat to wind up at the bottom of the lake. The immigration system has many holes and they all need to be plugged if our nation and our citizens are provided with the important benefits that would be gained by creating an immigration system that has real integrity.