"Indian corporation pays record $34 million fine to settle allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes"

Hi Gang:
The ICE news release attached below heralds a success in combatting fraud committed on a huge scale by a major company based in India.  However, as has become all too common with successes scored by ICE, we find serious failures.
The failure in this case is very important- it concerns the fact that the ICE news release made no mention of any efforts by ICE to identify, locate, arrest and/or prosecute or deport the aliens who were illegally employed in the United States.  The likely reason that no mention was made of any such important efforts is simple- ICE never made those efforts to identify, locate, arrest or seek the prosecution or deportation of what must be presumed to be large number of illegal aliens who were working illegally.
Widespread public beliefs about illegal aliens working illegally in the United States often involve illegal aliens who ran our southern border and are doing economic “bottom rung” jobs that involve manual labor.  The sort of jobs that the immigration anarchists who are pushing Comprehensive Immigration Reform, would refer to as jobs “Americans won’t do.”  Of course that statement is a lie and an insult to hardworking Americans who have and continue to do tough back-breaking, dirty and dangerous jobs and are more productive than other workers.  The only thing exceptional about illegal alien workers is that they can be easily exploited and will work for exceptionally low wages under dangerously substandard conditions.

Homer Hickam, the author of the book, “The Rocket Boys” that became the basis for the excellent film, “October Sky” was the son of a coal miner in Coalwood, West Virginia

The book and film were autobiographical and told the story of Hickam’s childhood in the 1950’s when the launch of Sputnik motivated him to become involved with rocketry. He went on to become a NASA engineer. Because of his background and eloquence as a writer, he was called upon to address the memorial service for the miners who perished at the Sago Mine disaster in 2006, During the course of delivering his eulogy he stated, “There is no water holier than the sweat off a man’s brow!”

Contrast Homer’s reverence for hard working Americans that his eloquent statement reflected, with the contempt of those who derisively claim that Americans apparently won’t do hard work!

In the case reported on by the ICE news release, however, the illegal alien workers employed by Infosys were highly skilled workers doing High-Tech jobs Americans would eagerly do, however once again the issue is one of wages and profit.  The illegal aliens who worked for Infosys accepted much lower wages and although their countries of citizenship were not noted in the news release, are likely to have come from India and not Latin America.
Here is an important excerpt from the ICE news release:

“We will not tolerate actions that mislead the United States and circumvent lawful immigration processes, whether undertaken by a single individual or one of the largest corporations in the world,” said U.S. Attorney Bales. “The H-1B and B-1 visa programs are designed and intended to protect the American worker; and we will vigorously enforce the requirements of those programs.”

David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Dallas, concurred: “This settlement against Infosys is the largest immigration fine on record. The investigation indicated that Infosys manipulated the visa process and circumvented the requirements, limitations, and governmental oversight of the visa programs. The investigation also showed that more than 80 percent of Infosys’s I-9 forms for 2010 and 2011 contained substantive violations. Ultimately, these actions by Infosys cost American jobs and simultaneously financially hurt companies that sought to follow the laws of this nation. Companies that misuse the visa process can expect to be scrutinized and held accountable.”

What is significant is that the focus of these paragraphs is on the violations of law by Infosys but there was not a word about the aliens who took those jobs by conspiring with Infosys in the way that they applied for B-1 visas that did not provide them with the authority to work in the United States.  It is all well and good to make the statement about protecting American workers, but how are American workers being protected when illegal aliens workers- in any industry are not being arrested and deported in numbers that truly create a deterrence?
Once again the message for foreign workers who seek to work illegally in the United States, whether they enter by running the borders and doing manual labor jobs or game the visa process, our borders and immigration laws will not interfere with their ability to work in the United States.  This does not deter aspiring illegal aliens from around the world but actually serves to encourage them.
Imagine if an advertising firm was contracted to develop a campaign to send a clear message of encouragement for aspiring aliens from around the world who are debating whether to try to violate our borders and our immigration laws.  They might come up with a slogan like this:
“Illegal Immigration is about mind over matter- the administration doesn’t mind if you violate our borders and laws- so it doesn’t matter!”
To provide a bit of historic perspective to this issue, prior to the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 employers could not be prosecuted for knowingly hiring illegal aliens.  Back then smuggling, harboring, transporting, aiding, abetting the entry and illegal presence of illegal aliens was a crime, as it is today, under the provisions of 8 USC § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens, a section of law that is comprehended within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), it is a felony to aid, abet, encourage or induce aliens to enter our country illegally or remain in our country illegally.

Here is an excerpt from that section of law:

Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) Offenses

Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) defines several distinct offenses related to aliens. Subsection 1324(a)(1)(i)-(v) prohibits alien smuggling, domestic transportation of unauthorized aliens, concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts. Subsection 1324(a)(2) prohibits bringing or attempting to bring unauthorized aliens to the United States in any manner whatsoever, even at a designated port of entry. Subsection 1324(a)(3).
Harboring — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) makes it an offense for any person who — knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals harbors, shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation.
Encouraging/Inducing — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who — encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.
Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.


However, prior to 1986 and the enactment of IRCA, simply employing illegal aliens an employer knew to be illegally present could not result in action being taken against those employers.  Back then the INS would arrest and seek the deportation of illegal aliens who were found to be working.  I participated in many raids on such employment venues and shared the frustration of my colleagues at the former INS that the employers who exploited these vulnerable aliens faced no consequences.  This provided tacit approval for the exploitation of these workers.
IRCA was supposed to balance the equation by deterring violators on both sides of that equation employers and illegal alien employees would both face consequences.  At least that was the theory.  Employers who could be proven to have known that their employees were illegal aliens could face fines and ultimately, criminal prosecution.
Of course the INS and now ICE has always suffered from an abject lack of resources to really deter the employment of illegal aliens.  Furthermore, under the policies of the current administration which have the impact of laws without the need for laws to have been enacted, illegal aliens are almost never arrested or deported even when they are determined to be working illegally in the United States.
This is also of concern because the 9/11 Commission noted that a number of the terrorists who attacked our country were, in fact, aliens who had been admitted into the United States through a port of entry and underwent the inspections process and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission. 

On July 30, 2013 the Washington Times published a truly disturbing report:

Homeland Security loses track of 1 million foreigners; report could hurt immigration deal

Here is how this important report begins:

The Homeland Security Department has lost track of more than 1 million people who it knows arrived in the U.S. but who it cannot prove left the country, according to an audit Tuesday that also found the department probably won’t meet its own goals for deploying an entry-exit system. The findings were revealed as Congress debates an immigration bill, and the Government Accountability Office’s report could throw up another hurdle because lawmakers in the House and Senate have said that any final deal must include a workable system to track entries and exits and cut down on so-called visa overstays.

The government does track arrivals, but is years overdue in setting up a system to track departures — a goal set in a 1996 immigration law and reaffirmed in 2004, but which has eluded Republican and Democratic administrations.
Going back to the focus of the Washington Times article and the fact that one million aliens have gone missing- this is not a new problem. In fact, on May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic:

“VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?”

In May, 2010 I was interviewed by CNN’s Casey Wian for a report that was titled,

“Tracking Down Visa Violators.”

On May 10, 2010 I was interviewed by Daniel Gonzalez, a reporter with the Arizona Republic for an news report titled,

“U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas.”

In considering that Infosys was fined $34 million it must be presumed that many aliens had been brought to the United States to work without the benefit of having an appropriate visa.  According to the news release, the alien employees certainly knew that they were gaming the system and committing fraud.  They are not only aliens who are illegally present in the United States, but, are apparently un-indicted co-conspirators. 
If ICE really did its job agents would seek to identify, locate and arrest these illegal aliens and, whether or not it was determined that they should be criminally prosecuted, they are certainly subject to deportation (removal) for having committed visa fraud.
However, there was no mention as to how many of these individuals and possibly their families had entered the United States over a period of years.  There was no mention as to where they are now or what is being done to locate them so that they can be arrested and deported.
It must be presumed that many of them are still living and working illegally somewhere in the United States.  In fact, if these illegal aliens come forward it is likely that the managers of USCIS would trip over themselves to give them a pathway to United States citizenship under the auspices of the wrong-headed Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
Once again the scales of justice at immigration have been thrown off balance.  Now illegal aliens are being given encouragement to enter the United States by any means, confident that their transgressions of our laws that were originally enacted to protect the lives and jobs of Americans don’t matter.
As I noted In my prepared testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on March 20, 2013 on the topic:

“Building an Immigration System Worthy of American Values”

“Law enforcement is at its best when it creates a climate of deterrence to convince those who might be
contemplating violating the law that such an effort is likely to be discovered and that if discovered,
adverse consequences will result for the law violators. Current policies and statements by the
administration, in my view, encourages aspiring illegal aliens around the world to head for the United
States. In effect the starter’s pistol has been fired and for these folks, the finish line to this race is the
border of the United States.”
Here is the link that provides a video of the hearing as well as the prepared testimony of the witnesses: 

Employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens should absolutely face serious consequences for hiring illegal aliens and entering intor conspriacies to game the immigration system, but so should the illegal aliens that they employ.  As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango!”

Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts nearly every challenge and threat confronting the United States today!  Simply stated, the immigration laws were enacted to save lives and protect the jobs of American workers.

It is not “Anti-Immigrant” to be Pro-American!

Our armed forces are charged with securing America’s borders externally while the DHS is supposed to secure those same borders from within.  The failures of the DHS to live up to its half of the equation are undermining the efforts, valor and incredible sacrifices of Americas men and women who serve in our military!

If our government’s failures to protect American jobs by securing our nation’s borders and effectively enforcing our immigration laws 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!


-michael cutler- 

Please check out my website:

http://michaelcutler.net/

       

On Friday evenings from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM Eastern Time, I host my show, “The Michael Cutler Hour” on the USA Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio.

Call in and join the conversation!  The phone number is 310-982-4145

I hope you will be listening!  (Please tell your friends and neighbors!)

Here is a link to the program:

http://www.usaradionetwork.com/cutler.htm



http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1310/131030plano.htm


News Releases

October 30, 2013

Plano, TX

Indian corporation pays record $34 million fine to settle allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes

PLANO, Texas – Infosys Limited, an Indian company involved in consulting, technology and outsourcing, has agreed to a record $34 million civil settlement based on allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes, and also agreed to enhanced corporate compliance measures. The $34 million payment made by Infosys as a result of these allegations represents the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

This settlement was announced by U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Eastern District of Texas. This case was investigated by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, and by attorneys from ICE’s Office of Principal Legal Advisor.

Infosys is located in 30 countries and in 17 U.S. cities, including a location in Plano, Texas. The Plano location is responsible for handling the immigration practices and procedures for U.S. operations of Infosys. Infosys brings foreign nationals into the United States to perform work and fulfill contracts with its customers under two visa classification programs relevant to this matter, H-1B and B-1.

The H-1B visa is a strictly regulated visa program that protects the American worker from unfair competition from overseas countries that have drastically lower labor wages. The H-1B visa allows employers to temporarily employ foreign nationals needed for certain specialty occupations. The H1-B visa also protects foreign workers and mandates that they must be paid fair wages while working in the United States. H-1B visas are limited by congress to 65,000 visas nationally per year.

However, there is no limit to B-1 visitors. And the B-1 visa program only allows foreign nationals to temporarily enter the United States, for conferences, seminars, and the like. B-1 visa holders are not allowed to work in the United States. Infosys unlawfully and fraudulently used B-1 visa visitors as though they were H-1B workers in violation of U.S. immigration law.

According to court documents, the government alleged instances of Infosys circumventing the requirements, limitations, and governmental oversight of the H-1B visa program by knowingly and unlawfully using B-1 visa holders to perform skilled labor to fill positions in the United States for employment that would otherwise be performed by U.S. citizens or by legitimate H-1B visa holders. The government also alleges that Infosys violated U.S. immigration laws to increase its profits, minimize costs of securing visas, increase flexibility of employee movement, obtain an unfair advantage over competitors, and avoid tax liabilities. Following are the specific allegations:

  • Infosys fraudulently used B-1 visa holders to perform jobs that involved skilled labor that were instead required to be performed by U.S. citizens or legitimate H-1B visa holders.

  • Infosys submitted “invitation letters” to U.S. Consular Officials that contained false statements regarding the true purpose of a B-1 visa holder’s travel to deceive the U.S. Consular Officials and secure entry of the visa holder into the United States. These letters often falsely stated that the purpose of travel was for “meetings” or “discussions,” when the true purpose was to engage in activities not authorized under a B-1 visa.

  • Infosys directed B-1 visa holders to deceive U.S. Consular Officials, including providing specific instructions to avoid certain terminology, to secure entry of the visa holder into the United States. Infosys created a “Do’s and Don’ts” memorandum that it provided to foreign nationals entering the United States on a B-1 visa that included the following directions: “Do not mention activities like implementation, design & testing, consulting, etc., which sound like work”; “Also do not use words like, work, activity, etc., in the invitation letter”; and “Please do not mention anything about contract rates.”

  • Infosys told its foreign nationals to inform U.S. Consular Officials that their destination in the United States was the same as that provided in the Labor Condition Application, notwithstanding the fact that Infosys knew that the destinations had changed.

  • Infosys wrote and revised contracts with clients to conceal the fact that Infosys was providing B-1 visa holders to perform jobs that involved skilled or unskilled labor that were otherwise required to be performed by U.S. citizens or required legitimate H-1B visa holders.

  • Infosys concealed the fact that B-1 visa holders were performing jobs that involved skilled or unskilled labor that were otherwise required to be performed by U.S. citizens or legitimate H-1B visa holders. Infosys billed clients for the use of off-shore resources when, in fact, work was being performed by B-1 visa holders in the United States.

  • Infosys failed to maintain I-9 records for many of its foreign nationals in the United States in 2010 and 2011 as required by law, including a widespread failure to update and re-verify the employment authorization status of a large percentage of its foreign national employees.

The settlement agreement requires Infosys to pay $34 million to the United States. This agreement was largely predicated on Infosys’s cooperation with the United States during the investigation and on compliance measures taken by Infosys in the areas of B-1 and H-1B visas and I-9 documentation, both prior to and during the course of the investigation. The settlement agreement requires additional auditing for I-9 forms, a reporting requirement for B-1 usage, an agreement to continue to use only detailed invitation letters, and the continued use of corporate disciplinary processes for employees that violate the immigration laws of the United States.

“We will not tolerate actions that mislead the United States and circumvent lawful immigration processes, whether undertaken by a single individual or one of the largest corporations in the world,” said U.S. Attorney Bales. “The H-1B and B-1 visa programs are designed and intended to protect the American worker; and we will vigorously enforce the requirements of those programs.”

David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Dallas, concurred: “This settlement against Infosys is the largest immigration fine on record. The investigation indicated that Infosys manipulated the visa process and circumvented the requirements, limitations, and governmental oversight of the visa programs. The investigation also showed that more than 80 percent of Infosys’s I-9 forms for 2010 and 2011 contained substantive violations. Ultimately, these actions by Infosys cost American jobs and simultaneously financially hurt companies that sought to follow the laws of this nation. Companies that misuse the visa process can expect to be scrutinized and held accountable.”

The investigation and settlement also earned the praise of George M. Nutwell III, special agent-in-charge of the Houston Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service said that: “The Infosys investigation illustrates the unique role that DSS plays in investigating complex visa fraud cases that reach far beyond U.S. borders. DSS collaborates with our law enforcement partners and is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those who violate the law.”

This case was investigated and the settlement negotiated by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shamoil T. Shipchandler, Alan R. Jackson, and J. Kevin McClendon, and attorneys from ICE’s Office of Principal Legal Advisor.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423 or complete our tip form.