Jim Kouri
Hillary Clinton warns Arizona of impending Justice Department action
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By Jim Kouri
June 19, 2010

The media is buzzing about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comments regarding an anticipated Justice Department lawsuit against the people of Arizona over that state's newly passed immigration enforcement law. Sadly, instead of trying to help the people of Arizona fights criminal aliens and helping to enforce the current immigration statutes, the Obama Administration has chosen to side with a foreign country against his own people.

President Barack Obama says he wants lawmakers in both houses of Congress to make progress this year on reforming the immigration system. However, he's not talking about how his administration is failing to protect citizens from criminal aliens, according to border security advocates.

For example, United States immigration and State Department officials fear that their newly developed, high-tech visas are being sold on the Mexican black market. The US government hoped the newly designed visas would help in curtailing rampant illegal immigration at the Mexican border, but investigators believe many of them are being bought or rented by Mexicans seeking illegal entry into the US.

Well over 11,000 of these Laser Visas, issued to Mexicans for legitimate travel into the United States were reported stolen or "lost" in just two border cities. Government officials claim this is a 15 percent jump from previous figures.

The ATM card-sized documents, which include the legal holder's photograph and scanned fingerprints, were actually developed for use in 1998 hopefully to increase security and standardize documents used by Mexicans to cross the border since so many different types of documentation made the screening process cumbersome and confusing.

"While many may have been legitimately 'lost,' it seems probable that quite a few are either 'stolen' or 'reported stolen' in order to sell them," a U.S. consular official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

"There appears to be a healthy market for both buying and renting laser visas on the border," she added.

Mexicans call these visa cards "Micas," which allow bearers to cross into the US without other supporting documents. The card also allows them to travel up to 25 miles inside California or Texas and they may remain in the US up to 30 days.

According to figures provided by Reuters, 8,745 of the border crossing cards went astray last year in Ciudad Juarez, south of El Paso, Texas, and 3,095 in Tijuana, opposite San Diego, California. No figures were available for other cities along the 2,000-mile border.

The problem got so bad that the US Embassy in Mexico City revamped its visa policy late last year, but did not inform anyone of the mounting problem. The embassy now replaces "lost" or stolen cards with stickers placed inside passports hope this will curb the illegal market of the laser cards.

The paradox is that in an effort to beef up security at the Mexican border using state-of-the-art technology, the US may have made it even easier to compromise that very security.

Also, the US is getting zero help from the government in Mexico City during the course of investigations. While not speaking "on the record," off the record some US law enforcement people believe elements within the Mexican federal and local governments are assisting in the diversion of legitimate visas.

While US authorities say they possess no concrete evidence that organized Mexican human trafficking rings overseeing the illicit trade are using these cards, many security experts believe there are several organizations trafficking in this document.

But Tijuana police claim most of the stray visas are sold by cash-strapped holders to human traffickers in the gritty industrial city of 2 million people, on a widely used route for Mexican illegal immigrants headed for the Californian border.

Recently, seven illegal aliens from Mexico were arrested for allegedly operating a fraudulent document ring in Chicago's "Little Village" area. The organized crime enterprise generated approximately $2.5 million a year.

Found inside the residence was equipment used for making fake government documents, including: five high-speed computers, printers, ID card printers, scanners, laminating pouches, foil strips with security features, dozens of counterfeit identification cards, and other document-making paraphernalia. The estimated value of the seized items is approximately $10,000; the street value of the software is believed to be about $100,000.

Law enforcement commanders throughout the US believe that there are similar operations being conducted by Mexican organized crime cells. The Castorena crime family, a Mexican organized crime family that has controlled the majority of the fraudulent document manufacturing and sales trade in the US over the past 10 years, is believed to be trafficking in these new high-tech visas. Some even believe they are attempting to duplicate these cards.

© Jim Kouri

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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