02/04/10

BorderFire Report

I recently received a press release, titled “Eritrean man pleads guilty to alien smuggling,” that was issued by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on March 30th that is significant for a number of reasons.

First of all, as the title notes, a citizen of Eritrea has pleaded guilty to smuggling illegal aliens into the United States. The aliens came from a wide variety of nations and all were ultimately brought into the United States by circumventing the inspections process along the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico.

Along the way, on some smuggling runs, this “Magical Mystery Tour” included passing through Brazil and Venezuela, the latter a nation not considered a friend of the United States. I wonder if the government of Venezuela offered any assistance to the smuggler, Samuel Abrahaley Fessahazion, aka “Sami,” aka “Sammy,” aka “Alex” and aka “Alex Williams.”

What is of further concern to me is the fact that Fessahazion was able to game the immigration system and successfully commit immigration fraud by obtaining political asylum by making a false statements in conjunction with his application for political asylum.

Consider this passage from the press release:

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, 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, 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.

If Fessahazion had not been able to con the bureaucracy at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), it is entirely possible he would not have been able to remain in the United States or travel freely across our borders, an ability he gained when the agency charged with maintaining the integrity of the immigration benefits program failed yet again.

According to the press release, Fessahazion, himself, ran our nation’s border on March 20, 2008 and then he applied for political asylum roughly six months later. He had either studied our immigration “system” or had been well coached. In any event, he was granted political asylum in less than six weeks.

I have to repeat this to make certain you did not miss what I just wrote: Fessahazion was granted political asylum just six weeks after he applied for asylum, even though he claimed to have been facing persecution in Eritrea nearly half way around the world

Meanwhile, the investigation disclosed that while he claimed he was fleeing persecution in Eritrea, he was apparently dodging law enforcement in Guatemala as he smuggled East African aliens through that country en route to the United States.

For an illegal alien (Fessahazion) to file an application for political asylum based on credible fear while, in reality, he was smuggling aliens into our country is a clear case of chutzpah.

In order to apply for political asylum, an alien must establish “credible fear.” This means he must prove to our government that if he is returned to his country his life will be in grave danger because of his religion or other such factor. I would love to see the Report of Investigation (ROI) to discover how USCIS conducted its investigation into Fessahazion’s claim to “credible fear” in just six weeks

The granting of lawful status to aliens who enter our country is serious business.

Before we go any further, however, I do want to make an important point. Many aliens who are granted political asylum are not engaged in criminal activities but are fleeing truly horrific situations in their home countries. My concern is that the vetting process is apparently more geared toward keeping the bureaucratic production line moving at warp speed rather than making certain that meaningful efforts are made to see to it that the process has integrity. This is the clear obligation of our government and it is yet another obligation that is not being met. There have been a succession of GAO and OIG reports that document just how big a problem fraud is throughout the entire immigration benefits program, a program that is administered by USCIS

USCIS is the agency that would be called upon to spring into action (likely landing on its collective face) if our government manages to jam Comprehensive Immigration Reform down our throats.

It is absolutely astounding that the advocates for open borders and a sweeping amnesty program from millions of illegal aliens whose true identities, backgrounds, intentions and possible affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations under the aegis of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” keep noting how broken the system is. Yet they claim that the solution is for the same broken system to be given the job of handing out the keys to America’s front door regardless of the irreparable damage that this inept agency has already done to our nation’s security.

Here are a few more questions raised by, but not answered by, the press release:

  • Who are Fessahazion’s co-conspirators in the smuggling ring and where are they now? Does our government have them in custody or even know their identities?

  • What ever became of the aliens who Fessahazion smuggled into the United States? Are they in custody?

  • If Fessahazion is being charged with conspiracy, is anyone else being prosecuted for entering into the conspiracy? The others who engaged in the smuggling enterprise would certainly be co-conspirators, but then too, the aliens he smuggled also entered into a conspiracy with him or his partners.

All too often, our government has taken to the bizarre tactic of referring to smuggled aliens as “victims of human trafficking.”

When a person is moved across international borders against his will, that person is most certainly a “victim of human trafficking.” Often we see this sort of reprehensible crime being conducted when women are smuggled into a country for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. However, an alien who pays a smuggler to enable him to enter a country without inspection is not a victim, but a co-conspirator.

I would love to know what efforts are being expended to find all of the aliens who were smuggled into the United States as a result of the criminal activities of the smugglers who were involved in this case. This, of course, will be up to the prosecutors and the case agents to determine.

If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously.