Mr. KING. What do you think about the effect of eliminating the Federal deductibility for wages and benefits paid to illegals if we have a safe harbor for the instant check program on the I–9 information and sent the IRS in to do an audit and be able to collect the taxes that would be due on that Schedule C line item as well as the interest and the penalty?
Mr. KING. Could I ask unanimous consent to allow Mr. Cutler to answer that question?
Mr.HOSTETTLER. Without objection.
Mr.CUTLER. I agree with what you want to do with the tax law. I think it’s a great idea. Again, and I hate to keep harping on it, that is why fraud is so critical because the Gordian knot that would enable an alien to circumvent all of this is to get a green card based on a fraudulent marriage, for argument’s sake. Then he could work and the employer doesn’t have a problem and he is here and hiding in plain sight. That is why we need to see all of these issues addressed properly.
I never heard anyone talk much about immigration benefit fraud. The GAO in 2002, February, 2002 issued a report that said it was rampant and pervasive, and that is how the bad guys get to hide in plain sight. There are simple solutions to some of these problems. I don’t know if you realize this, but when an alien naturalizes he or she can take any name on the day of naturalization that he wants.
If we didn’t know that, for example, Osama bin Laden was a terrorist, he could naturalize and say, you know, John Smith is a great American name. I want to be known as John Smith. From that day forward he becomes John Smith and his U.S. passport will only have the name John Smith on it. If he is wanted in Germany for mass murder or France for mass murder, he walks in with a U.S. passport that says he is John Smith, he will be able to slip right through.
We need to look at that and say if we naturalize somebody we need to put all of the names that that person was known by on their passport. If an alien applies for a benefit from Immigration, they should fill out a questionnaire just like they do when they become a resident. Have you ever been arrested or have you ever committed a crime, have you ever trafficked in drugs, have you ever contributed money to a terrorist organization? If they say yes, they are deportable. If they say no and it can be proved they have lied, you can prosecute them.
This doesn’t cost anything. We need to get smart in what we are doing. Not only a matter of money, but a matter of strategy. Strategy will take leadership and take people at the top who understand how the law can be used effectively and then we can really help to make America a much safer country.
The purpose of this first chapter is to provide the reader with the necessary background information to facilitate reading the remainder of the report. We cover five important topics in this chapter: a summary of the allegations, a description of our investigation, a description of the report, INS’ structure and management, and a brief description of the naturalization process.
On August 31, 1995, INS announced its Citizenship USA (CUSA) program, an initiative for fiscal year 1996 designed to reduce the growing backlog of naturalization applications to the point where an eligible applicant would be naturalized within six months of application. Although CUSA was initially welcomed by Members of Congress as an appropriate response to the substantial INS workload, concerns about the initiative’s effect on processing integrity and concerns about its motives began to surface in the summer of 1996. In the wake of media reports suggesting that INS was compromising the integrity of the naturalization process to pursue politically motivated objectives, Members of congressional oversight committees made inquiries into the CUSA initiative. These inquiries culminated in a series of hearings in 1996 and 1997 that focused on naturalization testing fraud, breakdowns in the criminal history checking procedures, adjudicative irregularities, and political pressures.
The issues raised by Members of Congress had two common themes. The first was the sacrifice of processing integrity in order to meet high production goals. For example, in his opening statement at the CUSA hearings of September 10 and 24, 1996, before the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight’s Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice (hereinafter Subcommittee), Committee Chairman William Clinger stated, “[a]t issue here is the degree to which the quality of the INS’ work is being willfully compromised, and I think there is evidence that would substantiate that it has been willfully compromised for the sake of quantity.” Similarly, Subcommittee Chairman William H. Zeliff, Jr., who was not present for the hearings but had written to Subcommittee Members in anticipation of the September 24 hearing, asserted that “with so much water being pumped through the pipeline, figuratively, it is not surprising that the pipeline is bursting in many places.”
The second theme of the congressional concern about CUSA was that these compromises in processing integrity resulted from political pressures or politically motivated objectives. Subcommittee Member Mark Souder, who presided over the first CUSA hearings before the Subcommittee in the absence of Subcommittee Chairman Zeliff, stated in his opening remarks at the September 24 hearing, “[d]isturbingly, the evidence suggests that the naturalization push may have resulted from direct orders of the White House to naturalize new citizens [in order] to register them as Democratic voters for the upcoming elections.”
As noted above, INS’ implementation of a program to address the increasingly severe backlog of naturalization applications was initially perceived as an appropriate response to a workload crisis. Several months into the CUSA program, Members of Congress expressed satisfaction that INS was recognizing the need to address the backlog by hiring temporary employees to help process cases in INS’ five busiest districts, dubbed the “Key Cities” for the CUSA initiative.1 A few months later, however, that approbation yielded to concerns that INS was applying lenient naturalization criteria in order to maximize the number of new citizens before the November 1996 presidential election. Citing a May 20, 1996, the Washington Times article alleging that political motives were compromising the naturalization process, Congressman Souder questioned INS in a letter dated June 10, 1996, about the basis for selecting the targeted cities as the Key Cities for the backlog reduction effort, changes in naturalization criteria, and exhortations to new citizens to vote.
Over the next few months, the allegations about CUSA multiplied and the pursuit of information about the program by Congress intensified. In July, Subcommittee Chairman Zeliff reiterated congressional concern that CUSA was politically motivated and compromised the naturalization process. In a letter to Commissioner Meissner dated July 9, 1996, he raised a number of allegations about CUSA, including the use of inexperienced INS personnel to adjudicate applications, the delegation of processing and testing to outside groups biased in favor of approval, lowered testing requirements, and efforts to increase voting by new citizens. In part dissatisfied with INS’ original response to his July request for information, Chairman Zeliff again wrote to Commissioner Meissner on August 15, 1996, insisting that INS produce the previously requested information and requesting additional information on a wider range of topics than he had previously, from citizenship statistics to INS contacts with the Office of the Vice President.
In September 1996, following its review of approximately 30,000 pages of documents submitted by INS, the Subcommittee held two hearings concerning CUSA, one on September 10 and the other on September 24. The first hearing focused on naturalization testing fraud. This issue had become the subject of particular concern with the airing of an exposé on ABC’s 20/20 in July that detailed fraudulent practices by Naturalization Assistance Services, Inc. (NAS), one of the outside contractors authorized by INS to conduct English and Civics testing of applicants on its behalf. The hearing focused generally on the concern that outside testing entities were plagued by fraud and abusive practices.
The second hearing on September 24 focused more broadly on the overall naturalization process during CUSA. The Subcommittee explored allegations that INS failed to wait for the results of criminal history checks before approving applications for naturalization, failed to train new adjudicators adequately, pressured adjudicators to process cases too quickly or simply to ignore disqualifying evidence and approve cases, and encouraged or facilitated voter registration for newly-naturalized citizens.
Additional hearings during which facets of the CUSA program were examined were held before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration on October 9 and 22, 1996, and May 1, 1997; the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary and Related Agencies on April 10, 1997; the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Departments of Commerce, Justice and State, the Judiciary and Related Agencies on March 4, 1997; the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice on March 5, 1997; and the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims on April 30, 1997. These hearings continued to focus attention on testing, criminal history checks, and political influence and motivation during CUSA.
Overall, the allegations spanned a wide spectrum, from a lack of rigor in the adjudications process (“there are allegations that because of, in our feeling, a somewhat unrealistic goal driven by political considerations that there has been a sloppiness in the . . .process”2) to a willful sacrifice of standards to political ends (“INS has taken direction from the Vice President’s Office to quadruple the average number of naturalized citizens to 1.3 million over the past year, including direction to waive longstanding laws and regulations”3). Beyond these allegations, there were allegations by Members of Congress, by persons testifying before Congress and by others that INS had selected the Key Cities to maximize benefit to Democratic candidates in the 1996 election, had actively solicited more than half of the total applicants naturalized, had stripped resources from enforcement functions, and had not subjected new adjudicators to security clearances.
At the request of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice’s Justice Management Division (JMD) assisted INS in responding to congressional questions and a congressional subpoena concerning the naturalization of persons with disqualifying criminal records and for whom no fingerprint check was conducted. JMD, in turn, hired KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, an independent consulting firm, to “oversee and validate” INS’ review of all approved and completed naturalization cases from fiscal year 1996.
By February 1997, the KPMG-supervised review had preliminarily identified 71,557 (or 7 percent) of the 1,049,872 persons believed to have been naturalized during CUSA as having a record of either INS administrative action (like deportation) or criminal activity. The review also found that 113,126 naturalized applicants (11 percent of the total number of persons naturalized) had not had complete criminal history checks conducted because their fingerprint cards were returned to INS by the FBI as “unclassifiable” and new cards had not been resubmitted. Finally, for an additional 66,398 applicants (6 percent of the total number of persons naturalized), FBI had no record of any criminal history check having been requested or conducted by the FBI.4 These findings raised further questions about the integrity of INS’ criminal history review process and about the objectives of the CUSA program generally. Congressman J. Dennis Hastert, then the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice, asked at the March 5, 1997, hearing, “what happened that permitted 180,000 applicants to be naturalized without background checks at all?”5
By February 1997, the KPMG-supervised review had preliminarily identified 71,557 (or 7 percent) of the 1,049,872 persons believed to have been naturalized during CUSA as having a record of either INS administrative action (like deportation) or criminal activity. The review also found that 113,126 naturalized applicants (11 percent of the total number of persons naturalized) had not had complete criminal history checks conducted because their fingerprint cards were returned to INS by the FBI as “unclassifiable” and new cards had not been resubmitted. Finally, for an additional 66,398 applicants (6 percent of the total number of persons naturalized), FBI had no record of any criminal history check having been requested or conducted by the FBI.4
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
(CNSNews.com) — Three people convicted of crimes as a result of a terrorism-related investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) were later naturalized as U.S. citizens by the Obama administration, according to federal auditors.
The March 2011 audit (released on April 21, 2011) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), entitled Criminal Alien Statistics: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests and Costs, shows that three individuals were among “defendants where the investigation involved an identified link to international terrorism but they were charged with violating other statutes [not directly related to terrorism], including fraud, immigration, drugs, false statements, and general conspiracy charges,” referred by DOJ as Category II terrorism-related cases.
The three individuals in question can be found in a DOJ list of unsealed terrorism-related investigations conducted from Sept. 11, 2001 through Mar. 18, 2010. There are 403 defendants on that list of which, according to the GAO, at least 43 percent were aliens–both legal (26 percent) and illegal (17 percent)–at the time they were charged with crimes.
“Prosecuting terror-related targets using Category II offenses and others is often an effective method–and sometimes the only available method–of deterring and disrupting potential terrorist planning and support activities,” explained the DOJ in the document that listed the defendants.
Staff members of GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice team who worked on the audit told CNSNews.com in an e-mail that the three individuals were naturalized as U.S. citizens under President Barack Obama.
“One of the individuals was naturalized in late 2009. The other two were naturalized in 2010,” says the e-mail from the GAO.
In the audit, the GAO analyzed the immigration status of the individuals on the DOJ list using information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“Based upon our analysis of USCIS and DOJ data, three of the individuals on the DOJ list received U.S. citizenship after their convictions,” stated the GAO audit report. “Two were convicted of unlawful production of an identity document and one was convicted of transferring funds out of the country in violation of U.S. sanctions.”
“An individual applying for naturalization must demonstrate good moral character for a statutory period of time–from 5 years preceding the application up to admission to citizenship,” added the GAO. “This includes not having been convicted of crimes, such as murder, rape, drug trafficking, or other aggravated felonies prior to or during that period, as well as not having been convicted of other crimes during that period, such as certain drug offenses or convictions that led to 180 days or more of prison time.”
However, according to the USCIS, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) says that in determining good moral character, the federal government can look further back than five years, adding that it “may take into consideration as a basis for such determination the applicant’s conduct and acts at any time prior to that period.”
The INA, which allows a person who has been a permanent resident for at least 5 years to apply for naturalization, governs the eligibility requirements to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen, including establishing good moral character, the USCIS stated on its Web site.
“USCIS determined that each of these individuals were able to demonstrate good moral character within the required period of time and met all other requirements for naturalization,” stated the GAO.
In explaining why the individuals were allowed to become naturalized U.S. citizens, USCIS indicated that “the convictions were outside of the [five year] statutory period, were not aggravated felonies, and resulted in no prison time for the defendants; all required background checks were conducted and resolved with appropriate law enforcement agencies; and no national security, public safety, or other grounds of ineligibility existed.”
The GAO report was requested by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), chairman of the House Judiciary Immigration and Policy Enforcement Subcommittee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), ranking member of that panel.
In a press release about the report, King’s office highlighted that “three individuals on DOJ’s list of convictions resulting from international terrorism investigations were granted citizenships after their convictions” as a “key” finding of the GAO audit.