Last week, two Muslim leaders in Boston were arrested for immigration fraud - illegally filing fraudulent visa documents and obtaining religious workers' visas. The arrests were the culmination of a multi-year investigation in Boston and New York:
The ICE agents arrested Hannan Wednesday along with 32 other people in eight states and the District of Columbia in connection with an alleged nationwide scheme to help many foreigners, mostly from Pakistan, immigrate and remain in the U.S. by filing false applications for religious workers' visas. Most of those taken into custody did not have religious training or experience to qualify for the visas, and held secular jobs here in the U.S., such as working at gas stations and factories or driving trucks, according to the ICE. Others were religious workers but had used fraudulent identity documents to get their visas, the agency said.
The agency claims the petitioners of the visas took substantial cash fees from the foreigners for the false paperwork filed on their behalf.
Despite the fact that the imams were not arrested precipitously, but only after a multi-year investigation, they have an excuse ready:
"All it is is a minor administrative technicality error" in his immigration paperwork, said Vilal Kaleem, associate director of the American Muslim Society's Boston chapter. "It's completely disgraceful in the manner they dealt with it," he said of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Kaleem said Hannan was driving his family to an immigration office for an interview for the green-card proceedings on Wednesday when the federal agents arrested him. Hannan's son and daughter were crying following the arrest, Kaleem said.
So, so sad. My heart breaks.
Meanwhile, the Muslim community in Boston is doing what Muslims do best: seething.
Muslim leaders in the Boston area expressed outrage yesterday over the arrest and jailing of two senior clerics..."It's just so flabbergasting the way they would do this" ..."This seems to be a direct attack at our religion and community"..."it is deeply humiliating when a man of such high religious status in our community is treated as a criminal in front of the world"..."Why do you just arrest some respected members of the community and haul them away?"..."People are attached to the imam. They will be very upset. Everyone loves him."
Oddly enough, it is apparently not humiliating for "a man of such high religious status" to act as a criminal. Because though our government rarely enforces it, it is still technically illegal to break our immigration laws. Unfortunately, when it comes to our immigration law, this will likely turn into the following scenario: They broke the law. They got arrested for breaking the law, but now it's the government's fault for enforcing the law.
The Muslim American Society provides contact information to their community so that they can demand a "safe and speedy return" and to demand "fair, speedy, and respectable treatment" of the imams. I'll provide the contact info here for you should you prefer to register thanks that our laws are actually being enforced:
The MAS provides contact information, so folks can insist on "fair, speedy and respectable" treatment of the imams.
Senator Edward Kennedy (617)565 3170
Request to speak to Tom Cohan, (ext. 119)
Senator John Kerry (617) 565-8519
Request to speak to Carmen Velazquez
Yeah, I know - fat lot of good it will do to contact those two Senators, but if you've got nothing better to do, have at it.
At a time when Muslim immigration to America is at an all-time high, even more are sneaking into the country illegally than ever before. In July, Homeland Security discovered that more than one-third of religious workers visas were obtained using fraudulent means, and the fraud was particularly rampant among Muslims.
The probe found a particularly high fraud rate among applicants from countries the government deemed to pose a security risk, such as Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq, the report found.
Some immigration watchdogs say that the program should be seriously curtailed because, even in cases where the applications are legitimate, the visas could bring radical clerics into the country.
Last year, for example, the FBI arrested three Pakistani men associated with a mosque in Lodi, California. All had entered on religious-worker visas. Two were accused of ties to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan before coming to the United States, and the third, an imam, allegedly delivered sermons endorsing violence against non-Muslims before he came to America.
This is only one more reason among many why our immigration enforcement is the front line of our national defense. The two issues are inextricably intertwined. To remain lax in immigration enforcement is to invite infiltration and attack. This is why all those whose first act on American soil is a criminal one MUST be deported, no matter their ethnicity or nationality. Our immigration laws have to be strictly enforced if we are to have any hope of future security.
This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.