How DHS is failing to heed its own warnings.
Frontpage, by Michael Cutler, July 5, 2015:
On June 22, 2015 the ICE Newsroom posted a startling “Top Story” news release under the category, “Document and Benefit Fraud.” The title of the news release was obviously crafted to create the illusionthat a major vulnerability to U.S. national security, the threat of a terror attack, was being addressed: “ICE-DMV partnership combating identity, document fraud.”
The news release was accompanied by a poster. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how many words the above poster is worth.
Here is how the news release begins:
If you walk into your local Department of Motor Vehicles office (DMV) on any given day, you’ll most likely find a crowd of people waiting to get a new license or updating their vehicle registration.
What many aren’t aware of is that while they’re waiting in anticipation of their number to be called there may be document and identity fraud taking place just a few feet away.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) identified a potential vulnerability in which DMV employees exploit their positions by selling DMV-issued identification documents for financial gain. The access DMV employees have to the tools and technology needed to produce identity documents has been exploited by criminals who seek these documents to mask their identities and commit crimes ranging from narcotics trafficking, firearms distribution, and murder to even terrorist acts.
With these factors in mind, in December 2009, HQ HSI Identity and Benefit Fraud Unit (IBFU) launched a national outreach campaign to raise awareness about potential employee misconduct at DMV facilities. HSI Special Agent Keith Fowler, a National Program Manager within the IBFU, was charged with implementing and overseeing the outreach campaign.
Since day one, Mr. Obama and his administration have created a larcenous narrative that was carefully crafted to skirt the nexus between immigration and the threat of terrorism. The news release is consistent with that narrative and ignores the nexus between immigration and terrorism.
The 9/11 Commission certainly made note of failures of state agencies, especially Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) that enabled a number of the terrorists who wrought such destruction to assume multiple false identities by acquiring multiple driver’s licenses. However, the 9/11 Commission made it clear that failures of components of the immigration system enabled the terrorists to enter the United States and embed themselves in the United States.
At the risk of stating the obvious, for the terrorists to game the process by which driver’s licenses are issued, they first need to enter the United States. If the terrorists could not have acquired visas and could not have entered the United States. They could not have attacked us.
Even if the terrorists had managed to enter the United States by stowing away on a ship or running our borders, but were unable to successfully defraud the immigration benefits program they could not have attacked us.
While the poster seeks to create the illusion that DHS is working aggressively to protect America and Americans, In reality, some of the greatest threats to national security are the direct result of the many failures of the DHS that fundamentally undermine national security and public safety.
To this point, the staff of attorneys and federal agents who were assigned to the 9/11 Commission issued a report known as the “9/11 and Terrorist Travel – Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.”
This report focused specifically on the ability of the terrorists to travel around the world, enter the United States and ultimately embed themselves in the United States as they went about their deadly preparations. Page 54 contained this excerpt under the title “3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot.”
Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.
In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.
Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.
The poster and press release above focus on how the administration is trying to convince state motor vehicle agencies to go after their corrupt officials who provide criminals with licenses they should not have. Does DHS have to convince state governments to seek to identify corrupt officials?
The irony is that DHS is providing lawful status to immigration law violators without any legal underpinning. USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), the division of DHS that adjudicates all applications for various immigration benefits has provided hundreds of thousands of “DREAMERs” with official identity documents to signify that they have been granted temporary lawful status and employment authorization- without a face-to-face interview and without field investigations. This is a virtual open invitation to fraud.