On February 10, Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes (aka Jorge Sosa) was sentenced in Riverside, Calif., to 10 years in a federal penitentiary and was stripped of his citizenship. The sentencing and denaturalization were the result of his being convicted for lying on his naturalization application, and unlawfully procuring naturalization, by concealing his participation in a massacre committed by the armed forces in Guatemala in 1982 during a bloody war between the government and leftist insurgents.
The conviction and sentencing are undoubtedly a good thing, and should be acknowledged as such. It is rare in our system of jurisprudence when naturalized citizens are held accountable for their participation in serious matters, including terrorism, espionage, and other national security offenses. (For more information on this, see "Upholding the Value of Our Citizenship: National Security Threats Should Be Denaturalized".)
Almost certainly the notoriety that attended the massacre of many dozens (figures vary from 166 to over 200 victims) of villagers in Guatemala contributed, as it ought, to the severity of the sentence. But while the outcome is a good thing, it is not an unqualified good thing. It has taken more than 30 years for justice to catch up to Mr. Sosa, if 10 years in prison can be considered justice given the number of villagers raped, tortured, and murdered.
During the long years it has taken to bring Sosa to justice, neither the U.S. nor Canadian governments showered themselves in glory where he is concerned. For, you see, Mr. Sosa is a dual national who managed to dupe the bureaucracies of both countries into naturalizing him — even though as early as 1994 a judicial investigation was initiated by the Guatemalan government and in 2008 Amnesty International was writing about the matter, expressing the organization's concern that nothing was being done to achieve justice.
In fact, it was the Canadian government that ultimately arrested Sosa in 2011, although in the end they opted to extradite him to the United States to face trial, rather than charge him there.
But we should not consider his sentence the end of the story: It should, rather, be just a beginning. We need to ask how it is that this man managed to work his way through an entire panoply of immigration benefits and be approved every step of the way.
- Under what status was he initially admitted?
- When did he obtain his permanent residence? What was the basis?
- How did the inspectors and examiners miss these multiple opportunities to identify him and his culpability in mass murder, all the way through naturalization?
Unfortunately, despite the public reassurances of the White House and its Homeland Security leaders that they are in the business of risk management, there is no indicator whatsoever that they take their risk mitigation responsibilities seriously where the business of immigration benefits-granting is concerned. Without such post-mortems, there can be no mitigating of risk, and if risk isn't being mitigated, it isn't being managed.
If the questions raised by a case such as Sosa's cannot be adequately answered — or are not even addressed by means of a serious post-mortem of the way that the man's immigration applications were handled — there is no reason why we in the American public should vest confidence in the ability of a bureaucracy to administer an amnesty involving millions of illegal aliens. How many more abusers would conceal themselves in the midst of that press of humanity without being screened out?
Nor should we invest any confidence in the present workings of the federal government's asylum program. There are already indicators that narco-terrorists from Mexico's Gulf cartels — the same cartels responsible for mass murders involving scalping, beheading, and the use of chainsaws — are gaming the system through filing of asylum applications.