Sunday, December 26, 2010

Outgoing NY Governor Paterson pardons 24 immigrants

There does not seem to be any published info on just who got the pardons but there is no doubt that the governor has good reason to criticize the actions of the U.S. immigration bureaucracy. It is a barely accountable monster. And Paterson does seem to have selected the applicants carefully. So although it may be the only time that I ever agree with one of his decisions, I suspect that this was one exercise of his powers that deserves approval -- JR

Governor David Paterson issued pardons Friday to 24 immigrants with prior criminal convictions to prevent their deportation.

In a statement Friday, Paterson said his administration has reviewed more than 1,100 pardon applications and found that federal immigration laws are often "excessively harsh and in need of modernization."

Paterson said the 24 people he had pardoned committed offenses in the past but had paid their debt to society and are now making positive contributions to their communities.

"With these pardons, I have selected cases that exemplify the values of New York State and any civilized society: atonement, forgiveness, compassion, and the need to achieve justice, and not simply strict adherence to unjust statutes," Paterson said. "I will not turn my back on New Yorkers who enrich our lives and care for those who suffer."

In May 2010, Paterson created an Immigration Pardon Panel to collect information and help deserving individuals avoid deportation. He said the initiative was designed to counter aspects of federal immigration laws that may result in inflexible and unjust decisions to deport legal immigrants.


Illegal Immigration and Terrorism

I first heard the news report about the threat that al Qaeda might attempt to have their operatives poison foods in restaurants and hotels yesterday morning when I was listening to the local CBS Radio station in New York City. That is certainly not the way you want to start your day!

Fox News has been airing news reports about the potential that al Qaeda might attempt to have their terrorists carry out attacks on our soil by poisoning the food at restaurants and hotels.

What is missing from the discussion about the threat of terrorism and what is missing from the strategy of our government to protect our nation and our citizens from the threat of terrorism and transnational criminals either, is the way that the immigration laws could and should be brought to bear to help prevent the entry of terrorists into our country and to prevent them from easily embedding themselves in our country as they prepare to attack us.

It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy.

Congress gave the Commission the mandate to study, evaluate, and report on “immigration, nonimmigrant visas and border security” as these areas relate to the events of 9/11. This staff report represents 14 months of such research. It is based on thousands of pages of documents we reviewed from the State Department, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, approximately 25 briefings on various border security topics, and more than 200 interviews. We are grateful to all who assisted and supported us along the way.

The story begins with “A Factual Overview of the September 11 Border Story.” This introduction summarizes many of the key facts of the hijackers’ entry into the United States. In it, we endeavor to dispel the myth that their entry into the United States was “clean and legal.” It was not. Three hijackers carried passports with indicators of Islamic extremism linked to al Qaeda; two others carried passports manipulated in a fraudulent manner. It is likely that several more hijackers carried passports with similar fraudulent manipulation. Two hijackers lied on their visa applications. Once in the United States, two hijackers violated the terms of their visas. One overstayed his visa. And all but one obtained some form of state identification. We know that six of the hijackers used these state issued identifications to check in for their flights on September 11. Three of them were fraudulently obtained.

Throughout this report and the 9/11 Commission Report itself, there are demonstrated links involving immigration laws, the visa issuing process and other laws and components of the immigration system that deal with the entry of alien terrorists into our country and their ability to acquire lawful status as an embedding tactic. Yet time and time again we have heard our nation's leaders tell us that immigration has nothing to do with the "War on Terror!"

Immigration fraud and visa fraud are all but ignored by our government even though such fraud runs rampantly throughout the immigration system and creates a huge threat to national security. The Visa Waiver Program which enables aliens to enter our country without first applying for visas in order to seek entry into the United States continues to be expanded even though the visa issuing process, if properly implemented can add an effective additional layer of security for our nation and also help keep terrorists from gaining access to airliners.

To provide you with a particularly egregious example of how superficially visa fraud it pursued, consider that on October 14th of this year, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued a press release touting the prosecution of a Brazilian couple that had amassed at least 55 million dollars by running a visa fraud scheme that enabled over one thousand aliens to secure visas in order to enter the United States so that they could get jobs in some 190 hotels across our nation.

Admittedly the potential that any of these illegal aliens are engaged in terrorism is small but the point is that the government admits that there are about 5 million such illegal aliens who are present in our country today who did not run our borders but violated the terms of their admission. I have heard from sources that there may actually be twice as many illegal aliens in our country today who violated the terms of their admission. Yet there are reportedly only 272 special agents of ICE who are assigned to attempt to locate and apprehend these millions of illegal aliens! You must also remember that the terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 and that other terrorists who have entered our country in order to participate in various terrorist related activities were also visa violators!


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