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Thursday, December 08, 2005 

Fake IDs openly sold in NYC

Two very important articles published in the New York Sun, that are crucial for protecting the American continent for one against the Islamic terrorist threat that looms on the horizon:

In the first one, we have a report on how fake IDs are being sold openly in New York, and the reporter investigating was able to obtain one as an example:
It is easy for an illegal immigrant - or a terrorist - to get false documents in New York. The New York Sun did it in about an hour this week, just three days after President Bush promised to tackle document fraud.

Our fake green card cost $100. Roosevelt Avenue in Queens is an open market for the manufacture of Social Security papers and driver's licenses, as well as the valuable green cards that certify permanent resident status.

Despite federal and local law enforcement pledges of investigations, including a sweep earlier this week of the operation where the reporter purchased the card, business is booming.

"Roosevelt Avenue is like the mecca for fake documents," a state Assemblyman who represents the district, Jose Peralta, said. "If anybody comes through New York City and they ask, 'Where can I get a false document?' the no. 1 answer is going to be Roosevelt Avenue. It's the place, it's the spot."
Roosevelt Avenue is in Queens, and for various reasons, it is an ideal place for illegal activity of the sort to go on.
Indeed, it's an international market: Local dealers said most of their clients are immigrants from Latin America, but also include Africans, Haitians and Europeans, and even Americans. Customers are not only immigrants to New York, but travel to Roosevelt Avenue from far beyond the five boroughs: "I have clients from Boston, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia," a young Mexican seller said last week. "Kids of 16 even come to buy IDs to enter the discotheques."

Mr. Peralta attributes the vitality of the strip to a lack of federal, state, and city enforcement. In the 1980s and 1990s, he said, more attention was given by the Queens district attorney's office and federal authorities. When it waned, Mr. Peralta said, "It took on a life on its own. Once those entities stopped investigating, it developed into the lifeline of fraudulent documents."

The Department of Homeland Security said it is aware of the problem and is working with local enforcement agencies to prevent it. "Roosevelt Avenue is one of the primary areas in New York City to buy false documents, but it is not limited to any borough, or any immigrant community, and it is not new," a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mark Thorn, said. Earlier this week the Queens district attorney's office, working with the New York Police Department's Special Fraud Unit, took a swipe at the market. In one of the largest investigations in recent years, authorities arrested more than a dozen alleged dealers in false documents, including the location where this reporter bought a fake green card last Thursday for $100. It will take more than one sweep, however, to put the brakes on this market.

"You can put some out of business, but others will just spring up," the president of the National Border Patrol Council, representing more than 10,000 border patrol agents, T.J. Bonner, said. "As long as there's a demand for these documents and the documents continue to be accepted, people will be out there supplying."

Employers are not required to verify the validity of immigration documents presented by a prospective employee. Even if an employer chooses to try, Mr. Bonner said, "It's often impossible to differentiate between the good documents and the bad documents."
Reading this made me think of something, and it's the fact that, not only are specific immigration laws going to have to be modified, but even passport/identity card publication is going to have to be reworked in ways that can prevent forgery and fakery.
Despite increasing immigration enforcement on the border, the inflows of illegal immigrants last year for the first time outnumbered legal immigrants to America, according to research by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington. The organization estimates the total of illegal immigrants at 11 million nationwide and 525,000 in New York City.
Yikes, that's certainly a disturbing number, I must say.

Now, wait'll you see this part about the Dept. of Homeland Security:
In Arizona last week, the president acknowledged the prevalence of document fraud and proposed two solutions: a program where employers could rapidly determine the validity of a Social Security number and a legal temporary worker program that would eliminate some of the demand for black market labor. Mr. Bonner of the border patrol group said he was "not very impressed." "They have had such a pathetic showing in interior enforcement that it's been a joke for several years," he said. "Politicians like to pretend we can have open borders for laborers but somehow seal the borders off against criminals and terrorists. It's a laughable notion, but they actually try and sell that notion."

On a local level, Mr. Peralta said he had been surprised last week when after he brought up the Roosevelt Avenue market, many of his colleagues at the Assembly told him they had no idea about it. "We're sitting here talking about security, about anti-terrorism money, yet this is happening at the grassroots level," he said. "You don't know who they're selling false documents to."

Mr. Peralta said the Department of Homeland Security had approached him in the past with a plan to do a sweep of the area. That's the wrong approach, he said, because it would only get rid of those who are easily replicable, and the lowest in the operation.

"You've got to eliminate the brains of the operation," Mr. Peralta said. "The guppies are a dime a dozen - anyone can stand on the street saying, 'Social, Social.'"
Quite right. And what's really disturbing is how the Homeland Security Department seems to show little to no interest in dealing with the problem. These are the kind of people being hired for the office? This is just one of many things about the law enforcement system in the US that's going to have to be improved if illegal immigration and even illegal ID card/document publishing is to be curbed.

Now, here's some, well, half-good news from today, on the capture of 5000 fake IDs in a special police raid in NYC:
Law enforcement officials yesterday announced the dismantling of a major fake identity-document ring - exposed in The New York Sun on Monday. But hours after the press conference, dealers were back selling fake green cards and driver's licenses on the same Queens avenue that had been targeted in the bust.

A 19-month undercover investigation by federal and local officials concluded this week with the seizure of more than 5,000 forged documents and the indictment of 21 individuals. Among those arrested was the dealer who last week sold this reporter a fake green card signifying permanent resident status.

The Queens district attorney, Richard Brown, pronounced the $1 million a year ring - which sold green cards, driver's licenses, and Social Security cards - out of business. "I think it's fair to say this particular operation, this enterprise, is effectively closed down," he said at a press conference yesterday.

Nonetheless, the open market for fraudulent documents on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens was busy yesterday afternoon, with employees of that ring now working for other criminals on the same Jackson Heights corner.

Within seconds of approaching the corner yesterday afternoon, a reporter was approached by two document dealers saying, "Social, Social."

Asked if he was afraid after the arrest of his colleagues, one of the dealers shrugged off the threat.

The sale of fake documents "is never going to go away," another Roosevelt Avenue document dealer said in Spanish. "It's about cash, it's about money." He said that the dozen or so workers from the "dismantled" ring who were not arrested found new employment with one of the mills that operates on different blocks.

He added that documents are only part of the illicit dealings: There is a thriving market for prostitutes and drugs along Roosevelt Avenue.
I think the last paragraph there is one more reason why Harlem is going to have to undergo some considerable improvements. A few years ago, my mother was in NYC, and saw some merchants who may have been running illegal sales on clothes, who fled the scene when the police showed up.

But one thing is for certain: these illegal ID and license merchants certainly do have a lot of contempt for the law, from what I can tell.

Now, here's what the Queens district attorney had to say:
...The Queens district attorney, Mr. Brown, acknowledged the problem was much larger than just one document mill, and said that Roosevelt Avenue is the most popular site on the East Coast to get fake papers.

With the "widespread black market" easily accessibly to terrorists, he said, "Such a serious threat to public safety cannot go unchallenged." The investigation, he said, is ongoing and will continue to include local and federal law enforcement agencies. The NYPD's gangs division played a leading role in what law enforcement officials have labeled "Operation Paper Chase."

Likening the document traffickers to drug dealers who insulate themselves from authorities, Mr. Brown said penetrating the operations beyond the street level has been challenging for law enforcement officials.

[...]

Most of the defendants - all but one of whom are illegal immigrants from Mexico- have been charged under New York State law with enterprise corruption, a Class B felony punishable by a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years, as well as various other charges including forgery, conspiracy, and criminal possession of a forged document. Following any criminal sentence, the illegal immigrants would face deportation.

Council Member Hiram Monserrate, whose district includes Roosevelt Avenue, said sweeps alone cannot solve the problem, which has existed for many years. "The Police Department has to do more in regards to undercover operations and track them down to the organizing elements," he said.
There may also be need to make special improvements in how IDs and even driver's licenses are published. That aside, it's interesting as to how the crooks themselves are exactly what they sell to.

As the above articles show, to help prevent terrorism in the US, considerable improvements are going to have to be made regarding the black market for IDs.

Also available at Bloggin' Out Loud, The Business of America is Business, Cao's Blog, Choose Life, Is it Just Me, Jo's Cafe, MacStansbury.Org, NIF, Otimaster, Robinik.Net, Samantha Burns, Stop the ACLU, Third World County.

I had no idea that corruption and fraud was so common in NY. Everyone here keeps holding up America as some sort of perfect regime, and obviously the truth is very different.

Wild. What used to be underground is above ground in many cases. Thanks for linking to Bloggin' Outloud. lgp

Thanks.

amazing.....where is this place at? Y would people want to get into so much corruption

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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