Immigration Fraud Enables Criminals, Terrorists and War Criminals to Hide in Plain Sight

by MICHAEL CUTLER October 28, 2013

The 9/11 Commission noted that visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud were the preferred methods of entering and embedding themselves in the United States for terrorists- not only those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 but in the case of terrorists found to have operated in the United States in the decade prior to those attacks.

On September 13, 2011 the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security conducted a hearing on the topic


Representative Candice Miller, who chairs this important subcommittee noted in her opening remarks at that hearing:

On that day in September we learned a very hard lesson as a 9/11 Commission has noted. For terrorists, they said, travel documents are as important as weapons and four of the 9/11 hijackers had overstayed visas, a missed opportunity to prevent the attacks.

Apparently Representative Miller understands the need to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States even while aliens who violate the terms of their admission are almost guaranteed that ICE will make no efforts to locate or apprehend them.

Furthermore, it is vital to focus on the issue of travel documents.  Two recent reports, one of which, in fact appeared on the ICE website makes it clear that aliens who defraud the visa and or immigration benefits program and are ultimately found to have committed fraud, may well evade detection for many years.  This poses a continuing threat to public safety and to national security.

The first case to consider was reported in an ICE news release posted on October 22, 2013:

 "Naturalized US citizen charged with immigration fraud for failing to disclose terrorism conviction"

In this case Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 66 years of age had entered the United States as a lawful immigrant in 1995 and became a naturalized United States citizen in 2004.  According to the news release she had omitted the fact that she had been convicted in Israel in 1969 for her role in the bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem which killed two people.  She had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the crimes but she was released ten years later as a part of a prisoner exchange.

The fact is that she managed to conceal her background when she immigrated to the United States and again when she applied for and received United States citizenship.  She lived among us for 18 years.

The next case to consider is that of  Kefelgn Alemu Worku, an Ethiopian war criminal who lied about his name and background when he immigrated to the United States and subsequently became a naturalized citizen.  His story was reported in the Denver Post on October 20, 2013 in an article entitled:

"How an Ethiopian torturer hid in Denver for 7 years in plain sight"

Here is an excerpt from the Denver Post article:

For seven years, Alemu Worku's new identity served perfectly for hiding in plain sight among young men who didn't know the horrors of political torture and killing back home - and the many other people who didn't want to know.

But a federal jury's conviction of Alemu Worku this month for immigration fraud - stealing another man's identity and concealing his bloody past to become a U.S. citizen - has energized a hunt by Ethiopian-Americans. They hope to expose hundreds more human rights violators they say are hiding in Denver and other U.S. cities.

Here we have a dangerous individual living in the United States- in fact, living among people whose families may have suffered because of him, because our screening process failed.

His case is similar to the many cases involving Nazi war criminals from the Second World War.  No one knows how many more such war criminals from Ethiopia and elsewhere, are hiding in plain sight today.

What you may not know is that when an alien becomes naturalized he (she) is eligible to ask for a name change and when these newly minted citizens apply for a U.S. passport, that passport will only reflect their new names.  I have raised this issue at Congressional hearings because it represents a threat to our national security and to the security of the countries to which they may travel but this obvious danger has never been addressed.

Today, under the auspices of DACA (Deferred Action- Childhood Arrivals) hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have been granted identity documents without so much as a face to face interview.  Comprehensive Immigration Reform would be similarly administered- creating ample opportunities for huge numbers of criminals and terrorists to create brand new identities for themselves enhancing their ability to hide in plain sight, posing a clear and present danger to America and Americans.

ncredibly, fraud in the immigration system fails to protect America and Americans yet nothing is being done to address this serious threat to our safety and well-being.  

Michael W. Cutler, is a retired INS Senior Special Agent. His career with the INS spanned some 30 years. He has provided expert witness testimony at more than a dozen Congressional hearings, he provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission and provides expert testimony at state legislative hearings across the country and in trials where immigration is at issue.

Mr. Cutler is a Senior Fellow at CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) where his articles focus on border security and immigration issues especially where they impact national security, community safety, the economy and a host of other issues.

Hie can be reached through his website, that contains his commentaries, Congressional testimony and links to his appearances on national television news programs and other public venues.

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