Ask An Amnesty Advocate: How Much Fraud Last Time?
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Before the U.S. Congress rushes headlong into another massive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens—whether overtly or by stealth—how about finding out once and for all the extent of amnesty application fraud the last time America attempted such foolishness?

Amazingly, despite actual criminal convictions, investigations, and widespread knowledge inside government of massive amnesty fraud, there has been no comprehensive report or study on the subject.

It's not as if amnesty is a trivial topic. Three million illegal aliens applied for legalization under the twin amnesty programs in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), according to a report by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service's statistics division. Nine out of ten applicants were granted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status.

That's 2.7 million illegal aliens miraculously transformed by amnesty into Lawful Permanent Residents. And this, of course, does not take into account the subsequent chain effect of their immigration petitions for relatives (spouses, parents, siblings and children). By 2001, one third of the primary amnesty winners under IRCA—that is, approximately 900,000 people—had become U.S. citizens, according to the report. [IRCA Legalization Effects: Lawful Permanent Residence and Naturalization through 2001, Nancy Rytina, Office of Policy and Planning Statistics Division]

They thus became fully eligible to import relatives, and they are doing just that. The true impact of the IRCA amnesty is only beginning to be felt.

Yet the open secret behind the IRCA amnesty is the unspoken f-word: FRAUD!

Veteran immigration enthusiast Lawrence H. Fuchs conceded as much as early as 1996, while reviewing four immigration reform books, including Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation, in the International Migration Review:

"There was a considerable amount of fraud in the Special Agriculture Worker [SAW] legalization program in IRCA, passed in 1986.

"By 1993, it had become clear that the legalization of IRCA immigrants had opened a channel that led to numbers larger than most had anticipated. It also became clear that there had been a considerable amount of fraud in the system, particularly with regard to the special agricultural worker legalization program. By 1989, the INS had placed 390,000 SAW applications on hold became of suspected fraud and had arrested about 750 people for selling phony labor documents for up to $2,000 in central Texas and $1,500 to $3,000 in California. [International Migration Review, Summer 1996 v30 n2 p591(10)]

(This did not, of course, stop Fuchs from angrily denouncing the books).

The fraud iceberg's tip can be glimpsed in these two more recent reports:

  • Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) examining the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) "Citizenship USA" (CUSA) initiative of fiscal year 1996. (Report dated July 31, 2000)  Excerpts addressing the problem of widespread fraud in the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) amnesty program under IRCA 1986 are posted on

The OIG report revealed massive fraud in the 1986 agricultural amnesty:

"We found that there was consensus within INS that 'SAW fraud'—or fraud in adjusting status under the SAW provisions of IRCA—had been prevalent. As [Clinton Administration] Commissioner [Doris] Meissner told the OIG, the perception that the SAW program was rife with fraud was 'the commonly held view at the institution.' Although some Headquarters officials told the OIG that no empirical studies formally established the extent of such fraud, they acknowledged that the Field believed it had been widespread.

Section III (D)(4)(a)(2)

And it gets worse. Lying and cheating paid off.

"According to an e-mail message summarizing the topics of discussion, Headquarters officials meeting on December 1, 1995, noted that 1.2 million SAW applicants had become eligible for naturalization that day, "with 70% fraudulent applications anticipated [sic]." Although the extent of fraud in the SAW program was not documented, by September 1995 INS had conducted at least one large-scale investigation into organized efforts to sell fraudulent SAW documents. In addition to identifying suspects who were later convicted of federal crimes, that operation identified approximately 22,000 adjustment of status cases that were connected in some way to the persons convicted . . ." [Footnote 139.]

And the federal government's inaction means fraudulent United States citizens. The OIG commented:

"Despite knowledge of these cases at the highest level of INS, despite knowledge that many of these individuals had become or would soon become eligible to apply for naturalization, and despite Headquarters' commitment to Congress in November 1995 that it would appropriately investigate cases in which SAW fraud was suspected, INS did not take timely action to ensure that applicants suspected of SAW fraud did not naturalize during CUSA." [VDARE.COM note: CUSA is the Citizenship USA program used by Clinton-Gore to subvert the 1996 election.] Section III (D)(4)(c)

The fact that the federal immigration bureaucracy preferred to remain blissfully ignorant about massive document fraud in the 1986 amnesty is highly significant. It gives savvy readers an idea of how the amnesty game is really played.

Here's the scenario: The government calls for an illegal alien amnesty. Federal employees in the field suspect massive fraud in the deluge of applications. Bureaucratic inertia enforced by management buries the whistleblowers. The government gives out the "green cards" anyhow.

Five years pass, and the same suspected liars and cheaters apply for U.S. citizenship. The government says they'll investigate the fraud this second time around…but never get to it.

The unspoken policy of amnesty fraud—and all immigration fraud for that matter—remains: "don't ask, don't tell."

Americans are entitled to know the truth about 1986 amnesty scams. Just how many illegal aliens did break the law and cheat their way to Lawful Permanent Resident status—and U.S. citizenship?

We had better find out the truth soon—before Congress gives away the store again to a whole new crop of millions of illegal aliens.

Unless our politicians learn the lessons of amnesty fraud, we will be doomed to repeat this sinister chapter of our immigration history.

Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of

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