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Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government

A Cancer within the Immigration Agency

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

I think that . . . there's no doubt about the seriousness of the problem . . . We have a cancer--within, close to the Presidency, that's growing. It's growing daily. It's compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds itself. 

[John] Dean [recapping] the history of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up for . . . President [Nixon]. March 21, 1973

Perhaps only slightly less virulent than the Watergate variety, a cancer is spreading within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The malignancy began with the persistent refusal of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fulfill its Congressionally appointed police mission under the Homeland Security Act (HSA). Beginning in 2003 ICE routinely turned a deaf ear to the pleas of USCIS adjudicators to pursue suspected immigration-benefits fraud. Frustrated that fraudsters were going unpunished, USCIS similarly ignored the HSA and created a unit, now elevated to a Directorate, known as Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS)

The HSA's walling off of immigration-benefits adjudication (a task Congress assigned to USCIS) fromimmigration enforcement (the shared province of ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP]) reflected a conscious legislative decision.  Hearings in the late 1990s laid bare the longstanding problems of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) whose conflicting missions of enforcement and benefits had generated decades of immigration dysfunction. 

Afflicted with selective amnesia, however, Congress failed to rebuke ICE or USCIS for crossing the prescribed lines.  Instead, federal lawmakers fueled the mission-creep by larding FDNS with anti-fraud fees paid by businesses seeking immigration benefits for H-1B and L-1 workers.  The result has been that FDNS, staffed with 700 officers and an untolled number of private investigators, has conducted tens of thousands of "site visits" at business organizations and religious institutions throughout the country. 

An August 24 New York Law Journal article, co-authored by Ted Chiappari and me, available here, describes what can go wrong when FDNS site visits (which really should be called what they are, governmental investigations) are structured in a way to create merely an impression that the integrity of the immigration-benefits adjudication process is safeguarded when, in reality, the requirements for a meaningful and fair investigation are ignored.  As one truth-telling FDNS officer explained to the DHS Office of Inspector General (p.15)

Congress has been told by FDNS that there is a bunch of fraud, so Congress is asking for the proof. [Headquarters] HQ FDNS is asking the field to find the fraud so it can be shown to Congress. And I sense HQ FDNS' frustration with the field because we aren't finding it.... Some of the leadership personnel have never been adjudicators, so they are completely out of touch with reality.

So why, then, do I liken the activities of FDNS to a spreading cancer?  Here goes:

  1. Free Radicals.  FDNS, like the free radicals that damage healthy organisms, takes aggressive actions without regard to the well-being of the functioning corpus politicus.  FDNS has not published a notice in the Federal Register allowing public comment on how it conducts investigations of the H-1B and L-1 visa categories and has never undertaken a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis to determine the impact of these investigations on small businesses. 

  2. Vulnerable Victims. FDNS through its unannounced site visits invades the premises of unsuspecting and unprepared petitioning organizations. These on-site interrogations, akin to fishing expeditions, are not based on probable cause that a violation of the immigration laws has occurred; nor are they supported by a judicial search warrant.  FDNS provides no prior notice of the investigation to attorneys whom the agency knows are representing the sponsor or the foreign beneficiary.  The records FDNS asks to inspect and the individuals it seeks to interrogate are often, quite legitimately, at other locations; yet the investigators do not allow an opportunity to summon the records or the persons or reconvene at a later date.  Instead, its officers merely write a report that outlines "suspicious" circumstances. 

  3. Voracious Behavior. Like a spreading cancer, FDNS breaks down healthy structures. Its investigative techniques flout existing USCIS regulations which prescribe that if the agency desires additional information or testimony it must send a written request for evidence or schedule an interview at a USCIS office.

  4. Toxic Effects. Like a cancer, the growing influence of FDNS is debilitating the adjudication process by impairing customer service, speed of adjudication, and predictability of outcome, aslast year's internal revolt at the California Service Center and the ongoing opposition of USCIS adjudicators to headquarters policies reflect. FDNS has arrogated to itself a policing function, rightly the role of ICE under the HSA, that is at cross purposes, just like at the old bipolar INS, to the core function of USCIS -- the rendering of a decision, based on the evidence of record, to approve or deny a request for a particular immigration benefit.

  5. Surgery and Radiation.  While cancer as yet has not been cured, medical science often succeeds in causing a state of remission.  Doctors typically do this by means of surgery and radiation. So too with FDNS.  Congress or the President should excise this alien growth from the benefits-adjudication process. It should also apply irradiation prophylactics to prevent a recurrence of anti-fraud tumors within USCIS.   To the degree that purgatives are required to remove harmful impurities and maintain the health and integrity of our U.S. immigration system, they should be exclusively of the ICE-y variety.

John Dean's words about Watergate and its cancerous effects could just as readily be applied to the pernicious behaviors of FDNS:  "We have a cancer . . . that's growing. It's growing daily. It's compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds itself."  Just as Watergate posed a threat to constitutional government, FDNS is dealing a body-blow to the Fourth Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures."  Cut it out.


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  1. Brittanicus's Avatar

    Corruption through the IRS.

    The IRS reported it has issued 10.8 million ITINs (Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers), with a very few being used by celebrities for book signing, foreign investors and whatever other reason? So at the most must leave roughly 10 million illegal aliens as heads of household that have arrived in violation of the law, hired as an infringement of the law, and using ITINs to skirt the law, since the program began in 1976. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on Thursday released an account, unveiling that the Internal Revenue Service, returned $4.2 billion dollars in refundable tax credits 2010 to illegal aliens. Using IRS ITIN numbers so illegal aliens are paying into the US taxation system, but are collecting in 'earned income child tax credits,' most of this money back. An illegal alien cannot qualify for a legitimate Social Security number, to file income tax returns, so they use the ITIN number issued by the IRS.

    This questionable program was intended to assuage that tax burden on the lowest American income earners, but in recent years has shown to be rife with fraud. President Obama's stimulus program included tax cuts for low-income workers. Obama's intention was, to put cash back into taxpayers' hands, so they will spread it around to heighten the economy. But thanks to the (EITC) Earned Income Tax Credit, the majority of this "tax relief" will go to individuals who have never paid anything in taxes--and have already defrauded prior administrations and today's government in massive sums each year--to Illegal aliens. ." The Inspector General said that the IRS should require those claiming the credit to prove that they are actually eligible to work here legally? However, IRS management "claims" that they have no legal power to request any proof with the inspection of individual income tax forms. A copy of the Inspector General's report can be found here:

    An IRS audit showed that 72 percent of tax returns filed by those using (ITIN) taxpayer identification numbers and not a Social Security numbers claimed the child tax credit. Nearly all ITIN-based returns include W-2 forms that list Social Security numbers, belong to U.S. citizens, IRS data shows. Foreign Nationals use the stolen or fabricated Social Security numbers to gratify the employment necessities of businesses. In violation of the law, the ITIN numbers have also involved in using the IRS number as Identification to open bank accounts and obtain driver's licenses and to vote.

    Illegal aliens as well as Americans are cheating the rest of the taxpayers, with Mothers filing under their Maiden name for perhaps two children, then the Father filing for the same two children as a different tax return under his family name and both receiving child refund tax return dollars. Of course, as always this is just the tip of the iceberg on fraudulent returns.

    Frosty Wooldridge wrote for News with Views:

    "Your U.S. Congress participates in and supports one of THE most fraudulent taxpayer abuse schemes ever concocted within the Federal Government. It's time the administration put its foot down rather than allow millions of unlawful immigrants to step onto American soil--while soaking billions out of the U.S. Treasury.

    Since the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) became part of the income tax code in 1975, it has quietly become the largest cash transfer program in the United States. At a cost of more than $44 billion per year, EITC spending dwarfs that of the traditional welfare program--Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)--and food stamps combined. More than 23 million households currently receive the credit.

    Edwin Rubenstein exposed one of the most dramatic tax frauds ever on the American taxpayer: "Defrauding the American taxpayer," Volume 19, Number 3, spring 2009, Social Contract, "The Earned Income Tax Credit and Illegal Immigration - A Study in Fraud, Abuse, and Liberal Activism."

    "More than one in four immigrant households received the EITC in 2000--nearly twice the 13.2 percent rate of house-holds headed by Native Americans. And because immigrant households are larger via higher fertility, their EITC payments are larger than those received by native households.

    "Bottom line: Immigrants accounted for about 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2008 but receive an estimated 26 percent of EITC benefits--about $12 billion."
    The most distressing aspect of EITC stems from unlawful immigrants tapping into the program on a massive scale. For example, in Greeley, Colorado this year, district attorney Buck Young raided a tax filing agency to find over 1,000 fraudulent returns by unlawful workers. While they paid little or nothing in taxes, they received hundreds of thousands in bogus returns, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. That same scam multiplies all over the country.

    "Tax relief" goes to people who never paid a cent in taxes, and may have already defrauded the government of huge sums each year. "EITC scams are common, well-organized, and massive," Rubenstein writes in the report. EITC ranks second out of 57 government programs in fraudulent payments.

    "But enthusiasm for the credit has blinded policy makers to its problems. The EITC program is dominated by fraud. Year after year about one-third of all EITC returns are based on illegal multiple returns, phony Social Security numbers, or claims of non-existent children or spouses. A disproportionate share of illegal alien households receives the benefit.

    "For most poor families, the tax credit check is the largest single sum of money they will receive during the year. Most receive it after filing income taxes. But some need the money immediately, and they can get it--for a price. A niche financial sector thrives by lending EITC recipient's immediate cash in return for a hefty chunk of their credit check. The cost to the poor of these so-called Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) has been estimated at 6 percent of the entire EITC program.

    The EITC is the most illegal-immigrant friendly of poverty programs; illegal immigrants constitute a far larger share of the poverty population now.

    Implication: The EITC is a textbook case of unintended consequences. Our economic meltdown may be among them."

    There is only one cure for the corruption in federal agencies and that is joining the TEA PARTY. Thousands of fraudulent programs will be exposed and billions of dollars will be saved. This confronts the rot that has entered the Democratic and the Republican parties, and the astronomical deficit that America is suffering from. Read some unrevealed evidence at Judicial Watch, that is a legal non-profit, being the opposite to the Communist backed ACLU; a panderer to the illegal alien invaders. In addition, NumbersUSA gives you in depth analysis of costs to taxpayers and insider news from Congress. Lastly, the controversial website of "American Patrol" gives you one-click Bridging editions to the nationwide media, where the truth prevails.

    1. Remember illegal aliens do vote in federal elections, and we all need to contact our politicians, to either issue an official to scrutinize voter rolls, or specifically absentee ballots.
    2. ISSUE a mandatory federal ID card, for all Americans.
    3. Make illegal entry punishable as a felony, not a civil offence.
    4. Build the real 2006 Double border Fence.
    5. The TEA PARTY will not tolerate illegal immigration or any form of amnesty, including Sanctuary cities, dream acts or covert enactments by disguising Immigration Reform.
    6. The TEA PARTY will support Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and other states against any retribution by the Democratic or Republican establishment.

    MY EARLIER BLOGS: http://brittanicus-enoughiseno...

    No Copyright. Distribute Freely.
  2. Rosivan's Avatar
    More than 214,000 Kansas individuals and faleiims claimed and received more than $451 million last y 22,460 individuals and faleiims received EITC worth almost $42 million, an average of $1,869.a0The prior year in Johnson County 19,038 individuals and faleiims received EITC worth more than $33 million, an average of $1,748.
  3. Tifa's Avatar
    First and foremost, I would like to say thank you from sonomee in receipt of tax credits But the statistics themselves are still quite shocking lifting over 6.6 million people out of poverty last year, including 3.3 million children. It does actually sound as though we are talking about a third world country.
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