Forged ISIS-Destined Passports and Alien Smuggling Plague Europe

By Dan Cadman on August 26, 2016

Some developments in Europe (see here and here) that should concern Americans:

  1. An uptick in the number of migrant maritime arrivals into Greece since many of the Balkan nations unilaterally closed their borders with fences and patrols to shut off the landward flow of tens of thousands of migrants out of Turkey and into European Union (EU) states;
  2. Uncertainty over post-coup Turkey's ability or willingness to abide by its deal with the EU to accept deported migrants or those rejected for asylum;
  3. Continued interdiction of alien smuggling gangs attempting to circumvent European border inspections, sometimes using EU-registered lorries and native-born drivers hired to take on "extra cargo" passing through Europe; and, once again
  4. More evidence of robust trafficking in fraudulent passports apparently bound for use by Islamic State militants who have infiltrated Greek refugee camps, according to the reports.

Where American immigration policies are concerned, these are ominous developments (most especially the forged passports) for a number of reasons.

First, we should not fool ourselves into thinking that there is some presto change-o! means by which government inspectors can immediately detect fraudulent documents. It is easy but naive to believe that, being forged, a travel document will inevitably result in the alien being detected and either turned around or held and prosecuted when he attempts entry. Not so. If, for instance, the document is a stolen but real blank among the thousands looted from Syrian passport offices, then if the identifying data and cachets are filled in by a reasonably competent forger, they can readily pass muster. The same can be said for using altered real (but stolen) passports in which the presenter is essentially engaging in identity theft. If the scrutiny is hasty, particularly in the hustle and bustle of modern international ports of entry such as JFK during peak flight arrival times, the individual can easily get away with it.

A Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision recently surfaced that proved this point beyond all doubt. The BIA case revealed that the alien (a Syrian) was so successful that he repeatedly achieved entry to the United States and even managed to obtain conditional resident alien status before it all unraveled and he was arrested. We should be pleased that the man was simply a fraudster and con artist and not a terrorist because his case shows just how precarious and subject to real-world constraints our vetting processes are.

Second, as I recently blogged, there's a continued absurd insistence on the part of migrant rights groups that the "privacy" of aliens (including, astoundingly, aliens not yet in the United States) must be respected and that their social media posts should be off-limits to consular officers or government officers trying to determine a person's intentions when applying for a visa or seeking to enter the United States under visa waiver programs, or applying for immigration benefits after entry. Why these groups think it is in the best interest of the American people for our government to willingly put on horse blinders in its vetting processes is beyond me. Yet such views held sway in the upper reaches of the Department of Homeland Security — thanks in no small measure to the influence of DHS's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties — where, until the aftermath of the disastrous San Bernardino terrorist attack, there was a very restrictive policy against use of internet searches of any type as a part of the government's alien screening processes.

Third, is the White House's determination to push forward with Syrian refugee relocation in the United States even as European nations reeling from attacks take a go-slow approach in light of the fact that some of the attackers were ISIS fighters who infiltrated Europe using fraudulent passports. Instead, the administration is creatively "imagineering" the immigration laws to suit its purposes, as if our country were a giant theme park. What's more, they are engaged in this massive resettlement program against a backdrop in which United Nations experts are warning of a collective dispersion of perhaps as many as 30,000 ISIS foreign fighters who will leave the Syria-Iraq battlefront to carry the battle to the West. It is an egregious invitation to large-scale abuse of the refugee program, with the potential for disastrous consequences.

Collectively, the parallel flow of these several developments provides continued reason for the average American to feel a sense of concern over our government's ability, or even willingness under this administration, to protect our interests over those of strangers whom we know little or nothing about.