Greenbacks for Green Cards

While it's undoubtedly true that some of the proponents of open immigration are motivated by those higher emotions we lesser beings can only aspire to, it's equally true that some of them are inspired by an emotion a little more base.

Greed.

Ranging all the way from the bandits smuggling desperate peasants across the borders of the Southwest to the federal judges who rule the official immigration process, many individuals earn quite a good living from immigration, legal and illegal, into the United States. So it's especially deplorable when already well-compensated officials entrusted with the administration of legal immigration turn to the dark side, merely to cram a few more bucks into their wallets.

Congress, which in 1990 created the so-called investor or EB-5 visa program, unwittingly designed an open invitation to bribery and fraud that allows foreigners to purchase permanent green cards by "investing" as little as $500,000 in an American business. 

A recent case in example involves Federal Immigration Judge D. Anthony Rogers.

Caught on tape speaking to James A. Geisler,  a principal of now defunct InterBank Capital Partners, Rogers was quite open about his desire for cash. Unknown to Rogers, Geisler taped their conversation.

InterBank was a self-described provider of "financial advisory" services, but in actuality it was a felonious boiler-room scam operation dedicated to taking fraudulent advantage of the EB-5 visa program.

As recorded, Judge Rogers sounded more like the corrupt senator in Godfather II, hitting up Michael Corleone for payoffs in exchange for Vegas gambling concessions, than a principled jurist.  

"Let me go ahead and just be as abrupt as I can about it. If you think for some reason or other I am going to bring you $30 million worth of potential investors for a $20,000-a-head pop, I'm not interested in doing that," Rogers said. "I'm not that dumb."

"You can pay a referral fee for anybody that sends you a piece of business, you can do that. I believe that we were talking about a more coordinated and partnership approach to a relationship with you all in which we were going to be able, theoretically, to provide you all with a significant amount of investor money," Rogers continued.

Rogers went on to brag that he and his partner had connections all over the Middle East and had a "relationship" with unnamed Arab sheik. 

Geisler urged caution, saying "I don't want you in trouble, and I don't want to be in trouble with the INS."

"Sure," Rogers responded.

"We're both feeding out of that trough," Geisler said.

"Yeah," Rogers responded.

[Immigration judge sought business with visa vendors, By Walter F. Roche Jr. Baltimore Sun, January 10, 2003]

Geisler and his partner James F. O'Connor were convicted for fraud in federal court and are currently serving ten year sentences. Amazingly,  Rogers remains on the bench, earning $132,636 a year, despite internal complaints within INS. 

InterBank's scam was quite simple in concept. They required a $100,000 investment and inflated it to the required minimum of $500,000 by juggling the money through offshore accounts and producing fake bank statements. Other schemes by other players have involved bogus promissory notes and investment pools based around limited partnerships to reduce individual risk for foreign green card seekers.

InterBank was caught only when a hapless "investor" spilled the beans to FBI and INS agents, so one has to wonder: how many other InterBanks are out there churning this immigration money machine, feeding money to specimens like D. Anthony Rogers?

It's hard to tell—there are literally thousands of "immigration consultants" out there, fattening themselves off the complexity of US immigration laws with EB-5 visas being only one of the open avenues to easy cash. And a significant number are former INS officials, wise in the ways of gaming the system.

The immigration "trough" Rogers and the InterBank scam artists were happily feeding from is still open and serving its corrupt customers. Rest assured that as long as it remains so, there will be plenty of hungry little piggies lining up for a hearty meal.

Jeff Elkins is a frequent contributor to the LewRockwell.com web site and his articles have been featured by the Washington Times, Worldnet Daily, Antiwar.com, Yahoo Op/Ed and Pravda, as well as many other electronic publications.