THE TERRORIST SMUGGLING INDUSTRY
The Terrorist Smuggling IndustryMichael Cutler
Over the past couple of days I have received numerous e-mails concerning a March 23, 2011 posting by Pajamas Media. Here Patrick Poole reported on what must be considered clear evidence that terrorists have entered the United States by evading the inspections process along our nation’s southern border. The article included a link to a DOJ Pre-sentencing Memorandum prepared by the United States attorneys who prosecuted Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane in San Antonio, Texas (Western District of Texas) for making false statements in conjunction with an application he filed for political asylum.
The DOJ pre-sentencing report is about 20 pages in length and contains significant information that is of extreme importance to illustrate many of the vulnerabilities I have often noted in various venues and especially when I have provided testimony at Congressional hearings into immigration related issues.
First of all, you will notice that Dhakane, apparently a citizen of Somalia, attempted entry into the United States on March 28, 2008 at the port of entry located at Brownsville, Texas. He was not admitted into the United States but was detained. On October 28, 2008 he filed a form I-589 in conjunction with an application for political asylum in which he omitted material facts and provided false statements about his interactions with terrorist organizations.
What should grab your attention is how many aliases were listed for him on the first page of the memorandum. Criminals and terrorists often use changes in identity as camouflage, much the same way that a chameleon uses changes in coloration in order to hide in plain sight, often among his intended victims. This is one of the most compelling reasons that our government, absolutely must never provide an illegal alien with any sort of identity document until and unless the true identity of the alien can be determined. A massive amnesty program such as the program that is often referred to as “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” would compel the overworked, inept and incompetent agency known as United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to suddenly have to process unknown millions of applications that would be filed by illegal aliens. This agency has come under extreme criticism by the GAO and OIG for being unable to carry out its current mission because of a lack of resources and leadership. Any massive amnesty program would simply cause this terminally hobbled agency to implode if Comprehensive Immigration Reform was to be enacted.
In 2007 I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Times, entitled,Immigration bill a “No Go” in which I stated that the term “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” was utterly misleading. I recommended that a more accurate and honest name for this legislation would be the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act.”
Senator Jeff Sessions quoted from this article on the floor of the United States Senate on three separate days during the floor debate into that bit of legislative detritus.
At this point I want you to see the importance of immigration laws in terms of national security, and especially where the efforts to protect our nation against terrorism is concerned. A number of individuals who have been identified as being terrorists or who have been identified as being involved in efforts to support terrorism have engaged in visa fraud and/or immigration benefit fraud. Examples of immigration benefits include the filing of applications by aliens to extend their authorized period of admission into the United States, applications to change non-immigrant status to enable aliens to attend school applications for political asylum, applications to become lawful immigrants and applications to naturalize and thereby become a citizen of the United States.
Mir Amal Kansi
Consider the case of Mir Amal Kansi, a citizen of Pakistan who lied on his application for political asylum in the United States but was nevertheless granted political asylum, whereupon he showed his appreciation to our government when, on January 25, 1993 he stood outside CIA Headquarters in Maclean, Virginia with an AK-47 and opened fire upon vehicles being driven by CIA officers who were reporting for work that winter morning. Before his rampage was over, two CIA officers were dead and three others were wounded.
Kansi is not the first terrorist to commit fraud in his applications for an immigration benefit or for a visa. In fact, the 9/11 Commission noted that of 94 terrorists who were identified as operating in our country in the decade prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001 roughly two thirds of them (59) were found to have made use of visa fraud and/or immigration benefit fraud in order to enter our country and embed themselves in communities across our nation.
Here is a recent example of such a fraud that was successfully carried out by an illegal alien in our country. An alien whose tactics closely parallel those employed by Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane.
On March 30, 2010 the United States issued a press release, entitled, “Eritrean Man Pleads Guilty to Alien Smuggling.”
I have provided you with the entire text of that press release beneath the Daily Mail report, but for the sake of convenience, here are the three short paragraphs I have taken directly from the press release that “cut to the chase:”
WASHINGTON – Samuel Abrahaley Fessahazion, 23, an Eritrean national, has pleaded guilty to helping smuggle illegal aliens to the United States for private financial gain, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District of Texas and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton.
Fessahazion, aka “Sami,” aka “Sammy,” aka “Alex” and aka “Alex Williams” pleaded guilty yesterday in Houston before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy A. Atlas to one count of conspiracy, and two counts of encouraging and inducing aliens to come to, enter or reside in the United States in violation of law for the purpose of private financial gain.
According to plea documents, from at least June 2007 until approximately January 2008, Fessahazion was the Guatemalan link of an alien smuggling network that spans East Africa, Central and South America. Specifically, according to the court documents, Fessahazion illegally entered the United States at McAllen, Texas, on March 20, 2008. He applied for asylum on Sept. 30, 2008, claiming in his application that he was traveling across Africa in 2007 and 2008, fleeing persecution in Eritrea. However, according to court documents, Fessahazion was actually in Guatemala during that period facilitating the smuggling of East African aliens to the United States. Fessahazion was granted asylum by the United States on Nov. 13, 2008.
Stop and give some thought to the statement that he purportedly ran our border on March 20, 2008 and then applied for political asylum on September 30, 2008, over six months after he allegedly ran the border, and in under six weeks his application for political asylum was approved! He claimed he was facing prosecution on the other side of the planet yet the government rushed to provide him with political asylum! This “rush to judgement” rewarded him with political asylum even though he completely falsified all of the significant relevant facts!
Here are two other important facts for you to consider-
1. There was no mention of Fessahazion being charged with committing fraud in his application for political asylum.
2. There was no mention of any effort being made to locate and/or apprehend the illegal aliens he helped to smuggle into the United States.
Furthermore, in pushing for various forms of amnesty for illegal aliens our nation’s “leaders” have all but declared that running our borders should be a prerequisite for naturalization. This is a betrayal to our citizens and our nation, not only because it makes a mockery of the many millions of lawful immigrants who, since the founding of our nation entered our country in accordance with law to help build this great nation, but because such a huge amnesty program would be riddled with fraud that would enable aliens whose intentions are malevolent to game the system.
As I have often noted, visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud are among the most often used criminal violations that federal law enforcement agencies employ in seeking to thwart terrorists operating in our country- yet there are only approximately 6,000 special agents of ICE who enforce our nation’s immigration laws throughout the entire United States of America. To put this in perspective, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has approximately 35,000 police officers to enforce the laws and safeguard the lives and property of those who live, work and visit the City of New York. It is also of extreme importance to note that the Special Agents of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) also enforce customs laws which have nothing to do with immigration laws. Additionally, the great majority of supervisors and managers of ICE and CBP (Customs and Border Protection) came from the former United States Customs Service and hence have no real background in the enforcement of the critically important immigration laws.
On May 5, 2005 I was invited to testify at a hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic: “New ”Dual Missions” of the Immigration Enforcement Agencies.” You can find the transcript of that hearing, in its entirety, here. The concerns I expressed back then apply today.
The memorandum noted that Dhakane smuggled numerous aliens into the United States who he believed would, if called upon, engage in terrorist acts within our country. He boasted that he had earned more than $75,000 on a single day by smuggling citizens of Somalia into the United States through Latin America. Some of these aliens were smuggled from Brazil. It is worth noting that the Tri-Border Region of Brazil is known to host training camps for Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations. Furthermore, the memorandum made it clear that in addition to smuggling these aliens into the United States, he coached them in the way that they should apply for political asylum and also furnished a number of them with fraud passports from a number of different countries.
Here are a couple of questions not addressed and therefore not answered in the memorandum:
1- Have our officials identified all of the aliens who were smuggled into the United States with the assistance of Dhakane? (If not, what is being done to try to figure out who they all are?)
2- Are all of those smuggled aliens in custody? If not, what efforts are being made to locate and arrest them?
The fact that Dhakane is accused by the Department of Justice is the primary reason that so many folks e-mailed me the Pajamas Media article that contained the link to the memorandum. Certainly this is of extreme significance- especially while Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Surrender, as I have come to refer to her inept bureaucracy, maintains that the border is secure! I take no satisfaction in assailing Ms Napolitano. I was proud to be a Special Agent of the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) one of the key agencies that was merged with the former U.S. Customs Service and several other agencies to form the DHS. However, I found many problems with the INS and I continue to find at least as many problems with the DHS. However, the first step in solving problems is to identify the problems. If Ms Napolitano can continue to spew these meaningless assertions that the border is secure she is either lying or ignorant. Either way she cannot possibly be effective in her mission unless her mission is to engage in something I came to refer to a number of years ago as “Operation Back-Rub.”
When a child wakes up at night suffering from a nightmare or night terrors, the parent will often rub the child’s back and in soft, soothing tones, try to convince the upset youngster that all is well. The goal of the parent is to help the child go back to sleep. Of probably equal importance, if the child goes back to sleep, the awakened parent can also go back to sleep. Hence the term I have coined is “Operation Back Rub!”
The point is that it is clear that our borders are not stopping criminal or terrorists from entering the United States.
Brad Stone, the Special Projects Producer at WSB-TV, the Atlanta based ABC affiliated news station has produced a series of hard hitting reports on how bad the situation is along the Mexican border. I was pleased to have been interviewed by Brad on a number of occasions. Here is a link to his broadcast on this important issue that aired several months ago.
The memorandum also delved into other crimes that Dhakane engaged in including money laundering and structuring. He is believed to have moved hundreds of thousands of dollars from the United States to terrorist organizations overseas.
I presume that some of the money that he moved may have come from his “fees” that he was paid for his smuggling “services.” However, the memorandum also made it clear that he operated an unofficial banking operation created to move money surreptitiously. It has to be presumed that some of this money was given to him by other individuals who were in the United States. The obvious question this raises is how these individuals acquired the money that they gave him to send to terrorist organizations. While some of the money may have simply been money that was earned by working in the United States, the likelihood exists that some of the money was obtained by committing crimes in the United States. Terrorists often commit all sorts of crimes in order to get their hands on money the way that an organized crime group engages in a variety of crimes in order to raise money.
In my experience, the crimes may range from various scams that would fall under the general category of mail fraud. Examples include coupon fraud where a grocery store owner redeems many more coupons for products than he sells, to insurance fraud including where arson is concerned, to the sale of narcotics. There were no indications of any of these sorts of crimes being related to the large sums of money that he admitted moving out of the United States, but given the scale of the money laundering operation, you have to presume that the funds were sourced in all sorts of ways.
It is also worth noting that in order to bolster his own application for political asylum Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane is accused of imprisoning and repeatedly raping an underage girl he tried to pass off as his “wife” even though they were never married. According to statements contained in the memorandum, he repeatedly raped her in an effort to impregnate her to create a compelling image of a man with a young pregnant wife!
When there are those of us who demand that our government lives up to its Constitutional obligation and its moral obligation to protect its citizens, there are those who would accuse those who demand secure borders of being “anti-immigrant!”
How much more suffering and how many more people need to die before our “leaders” like Napolitano will admit that there is a problem?
Not long ago Janet Napolitano stated that running our nation’s borders is not a crime! This statement would have been frustrating if anyone else would make such an absurd statement. However, when the Secretary of Homeland Security could make such an outlandish statement you could almost want to replace America’s motto of “E Pluribus Unum” which translates to “From many one” to “Abandon all hope- all ye who enter here!”
Napolitano and a laundry list of political and governmental administration officials have attempted to trivialize the risks that our nation’s open borders pose to the safety of our nation.
To provide a bit of clarity, any alien who has been previously deported from our country commits a felony when he (she) runs our borders in an effort to re-enter the United States without authority. The real issue is not if it is a crime when an alien evades the inspections process but to consider why there is an inspections process in the first place. The immigration laws of our nation specify various reasons why an alien should be excluded from entering our country. Among the reasons for exclusion are dangerous communicable diseases, serious mental illness, posing a threat of violence, aliens who are convicted felons, are war criminals, have committed human rights violations, are human traffickers or drug smugglers, are involved in espionage or terrorism. There are a number of other categories of aliens whose presence is supposed to be prevented by our DHS officials. This is why border security is so critical to the safety and security of our nation and our citizens.
When the Apollo 13 crew realized that the service module of their spacecraft had experienced an explosion half way between the earth and the moon, they immediately radioed Mission Control in Houston, Texas and reported, “Houston we have a problem!”
Had they and members of mission control not immediately accepted the true magnitude of the crisis they faced, it is clear that the crew of Apollo 13 would not have returned home alive. Flight Director Gene Kranz immediately poured all of the resources at his disposal into a “full court press” to find a way to work the problem and get those three valiant astronauts home alive.
In briefing his team, Kranz is famously remembered for declaring, “Failure is not an option!”
I had the extreme privilege of meeting both Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13 and Gene Kranz, on separate occasions. These men are true leaders!
Now we come to Napolitano, the Secretary of DHS upon who our nation depends for its security and, indeed its survival.
She would do well to learn by the clarity of vision that was evidenced by the swift and focus response mounted by those men so many years ago! She and our other national “leaders” also need to come to the very same conclusion that Gene Kranz immediately came to given the magnitude of the threat they faced- Failure is not an option where our borders and failures to establish an immigration system that possesses true integrity are concerned!
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Michael Cutler is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a recognized authority who addresses the implications of immigration on national security and criminal justice. His website can be read here. Each Friday evening from 7 till 9 pm EDT, he co-hosts a radio show called “Bordering on Insanity” on RePatriot Radio. The audience call-in numbers are: 940-825-1041 and 940-825-1042.
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