Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn saga exposes lax immigration oversight

Amid the apparently collapsing attempted-rape case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is evidence of yet another refugee scam — this one perpetrated by the hotel maid who has been accusing the former head of the International Monetary Fund.

A national of Guinea, the 32-year-old woman — who continues to remain anonymous as a possible sex-crime victim — received legal asylum in the United States after recounting horrendous stories of her plight in her West African homeland.

Now she’s had to admit that most — if not all — of her claims were not true, according to reports.

The most damning thing she said in terms of disqualifying her as a credible witness in the prosecution of Strauss-Khan, 62, was that Guinean soldiers gang raped her because she and her husband in that country opposed the ruling government.

She told Manhattan prosecutors that she had indeed been raped, but not in that way. She had embellished her story, her lawyer said, in order to boost her asylum application.

Her asylum bid was, in fact, so sophisticated that some unknown collaborator had even given her a tape of the story she should tell. She apparently listened to the tape over and over to learn the story by heart.

The Manhattan prosecutors took but a few interview sessions with her to break her down and have her admit to the ruse — and to having told a multitude of other lies.

Back in 2004, however, gullible refugee processing officials accepted the gang-rape story and gave her papers to stay in the country.

There’s no reason to believe there’s any more scrutiny in Canada, which accepts even more asylum-seekers per population.

As far back as 2001, I revealed that a secret RCMP-assisted United Nations probe determined most individuals or families admitted to Canada from Kenyan refugee camps over the previous six years paid bribes of as much as $7,000 each to local UN staff for help in slipping past the Canadian screening process.

In that case, UN officials were demanding the bribes, while Canadian officials “assumed the UN agency was providing reliable material and approved many of the cases,” sources told me at the time.

Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, once inside the United States, proceeded to dupe even more social-services types, winning the right to remain in subsidized housing by lying about her income, the Manhattan prosecutors uncovered. They learned she also lied on her income tax returns, claiming deductions for two children, when one was the child of a friend.

In one interview with the prosecutors, the woman “threw herself to the floor in response to questions,” the New York Times reported, citing a “well-placed source.”

Which all goes to show, with just a little bit of verbal pressure, this asylum beneficiary could indeed be outed by determined truth seekers. But such types are not, apparently, to be found among the administrators of the asylum process that granted her leave to remain in the United States, or in the oversight mechanism for subsidized housing.

It’s not as if the prosecutors hadn’t given the maid a fair shake. The proof that they listened to her, and initially took her at her word, lies in the fact police were dispatched to arrest Strauss-Kahn at the earliest opportunity after she claimed he’d sexually assaulted her as she tried to clean his luxury suite in Manhattan’s Sofitel hotel May 14.

The police yanked him from a Paris-bound plane at John F. Kennedy Airport within hours of the accusation.

We learned at the time that the police knew of his whereabouts thanks to Strauss-Kahn himself, because the Frenchman called the hotel to say that he’d left behind one of his cellphones, and revealed his location so that a hotel staffer could deliver the device to him.

But the prosecutors were faced with a woman alleging attempted rape, so they’d hardly be swayed by the notion that his calling was inconsistent with that of a man who knows he should be running from the law.

You can bet that high in the prosecutors’ collective mind would also have been the inevitable backlash from women’s activist groups had they let a suspected sex attacker return to France, which does not extradite its nationals.

There would have been immediate comparisons to the debacle over the 1977 sex-with-a-minor case against Franco-Polish film director Roman Polanski, who fled the United States for France in order to avoid sentencing after admitting to having sexually abused a 13-year-old girl.

Indeed, against the backdrop of politically correct dictates, the prosecutors and police appeared to spare Strauss-Kahn no indignity as they shoved him through the booking system.

This was despite the uproar that erupted in France over the way the U.S. authorities subjected him to the infamous “perp walk” — which saw him paraded in front of cameras, wrists cuffed behind his back.

For the French, this was one of their most high-profile personalities: IMF chief when arrested, and a leading Socialist Party contender to challenge French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the country’s next presidential election.

Strauss-Kahn’s arrest led to his having to resign his IMF post, and drop out of the race for the French presidency.

The woman, meanwhile, remains unidentified, while experts say she is unlikely to face perjury charges over her grand jury testimony that led to Strauss-Kahn’s indictment – for fear it will send the wrong message to sex-assault victims.

And yet, there’s no need to feel too sorry for Strauss-Kahn, a married man whose defence in the case was that he did have sex with the maid, but that it was consensual.

The New York Post cites sources Saturday saying that the maid was doubling as a prostitute — raising the question of whether the sex act could have been transactional.

And her lawyer continues to insist that, despite his client’s past “mistakes,” she’s not lying about her encounter with Strauss-Kahn. It was violent, he says.

Still, this was one asylum seeker that should have been stopped in her tracks from the get go. When screeners are ready to bite at any old sob story, the integrity of the entire program is called into question. That can only lead to doors being closed to genuine refugees and asylum-seekers, as the public loses confidence in the bureaucrats’ ability to keep out the scammers.


E-Verify bill hit, defended

Republicans in Congress have proposed legislation to make it mandatory for US employers to electronically verify workers’ legal status as a means of discouraging illegal immigration and preserving jobs for Americans.

House Judiciary Committee chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and 11 other Republicans introduced the so-called E-Verify bill, also known as the Legal Workforce Act, which requires employers to use a Homeland Security Department electronic data base to check the immigration status of newly-hired workers.

The proponents said the measure has a good chance of passing the GOP-controlled House.

At the Senate, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and nine other fellow Republicans have introduced a companion bill, but the fate of the measure passing is probably less certain in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Smith said the proposed measure would make more jobs available to millions of unemployed Americans, who, he said, are being eased out by undocumented immigrants.

“Seven million individuals work illegally in the United States. These jobs should go to legal workers,” Smith said. “And Congress has the opportunity to make sure this happens.”

He said E-Verify, an electronic employment eligibility verification system available free online, allows employers to quickly identify those working illegally in the United States.

Requiring its compulsory use by all employers would weed out illegal workers and open up more jobs for Americans and legal immigrants, Smith added.

The US Chamber of Commerce threw its support behind the bill but said it is only one component of immigration policy that needs to be addressed by “balancing many competing interests.”

“While some concerns and technical issues may arise as the bill is subject to hearings and line-by-line analysis, this legislation represents a legitimate balancing of many competing interests. We hope to continue to work with Chairman Smith to resolve any impediments to passage as the legislation moves forward,” said Randy Johnson, vice president of the chamber.

“The chamber believes a workable employment verification system addresses only one part of our nation’s dysfunctional immigration system in need of reform,” Johnson added. “It is our hope that Congress can also move legislation concerning other aspects of immigration reform, recognizing that compromises will be necessary.”

But opponents of the bill warned the bill, if passed, would have disastrous impact on local industries, especially those in agriculture, and do more harm than good to the US economy.

Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-California) said that by requiring all employers to use E-Verify, the bill grows the government and adds tens of billions to the burden already shouldered by taxpayers.

The San Jose lawmaker stressed that the system “does not even work half of the time and could shrink the economy, decimate at least one industry, and destroy millions of jobs.”

Lofgren pointed out that since 2005, every serious proposal to “fix our broken immigration laws” has included an electronic system as a means of ensuring those legally allowed to work make it to the American workforce.

“Some now want to move E-Verify on its own … Without other reforms to fix the entire system, mandatory E-Verify would cause tremendous damage to our economy and kill American jobs,” Lofgren said.

According to supporters of E-Verify, the system — which is already mandatory in such states as Arizona, Alabama and Georgia — is simple, convenient and free.

Numbers USA, an organization that espouses cutting back present levels of immigration, said that the use of E-Verify is the smart thing to do for any employer now, even while the bill is pending.

“An employer who uses the pilot in good faith cannot be held liable for hiring an illegal alien — use of the system is an affirmative defense — or for discrimination because he never has to ask the candidate for more or different documents since the computer does all of the checking,” the group explained in its website.

Moreover, mandatory use of E-Verify (formerly Basic Pilot Program) ensures that all U.S. businesses operate on a level playing field, Numbers USA said.

Detractors argued that E-Verify “is good only on paper and that its full implementation would do more harm” to Americans — unless it becomes part of a broader, comprehensive measure to address the immigration system.

According to those opposed to the bill, the E-Verify system is imperfect and the accuracy cited by Smith could be misleading because it refers only to verification of workers with legitimate documents. For instance, the system fails to verify undocumented workers half of the time because many of them use valid documents belonging to other people, critics said.


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