The Religious Worker Visa Scam
Call it the Radical Muslim Cleric Importation Plan.
religious worker visa ("R visa") program, an unknown
number of Middle Easterners claiming to be imams or
other mosque employees have been admitted to the United
States with minimal scrutiny.
According to a complaint from the U.S. Attorney`s
Office in New York unsealed last week,
[A copy of the complaint is
available here on VDARE.COM.] Muslim
religious leader Muhammed Khalil, his son Asim, and
three other individuals submitted false R visa
applications on behalf of more than 200 Middle Eastern
aliens. Although Khalil and his cronies were nabbed
after an 18-month investigation, federal authorities are
mum on the whereabouts of the Middle Eastern illegal
aliens who purchased fake R visas from Khalil and his
The R visa program, created by Congress in 1990,
gives visas to thousands of foreigners to fill alleged
domestic shortages among ministries, convents, and other
religious professionals. In 1998, some 11,000
foreigners received such visas. According to a 1999
General Accounting Office report, federal
investigators have discovered R visa fraud rings
involving churches and other religious institutions
based in Colombia, Fiji and Russia.
The mastermind of the
1993 World Trade Center bombing,
Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, had an R visa. So did four
Palestinian men who worked for the Holy Land Foundation
for Relief and Development and the Islamic Association
for Palestine — both Muslim charities that the
State Department has linked to the terrorist
The 1999 GAO report highlighted persistent lapses in
oversight. "Neither INS nor (the) State (Department)
knows the overall extent of fraud in the religious
worker visa program," the report
No one knows! Tom Ridge, are you listening? It`s
going to take more than duct tape and plastic sheeting
to fix this problem.
This much is clear to immigration veterans: The R
visa program is a notorious law enforcement evasion
scheme under which a number of religious facilities have
been established as fronts to enable foreign nationals
to enter the U.S. using false identities and evade
criminal and terrorist watch lists.
Khalil`s ring charged up to $8,000 per person. His
mosque sponsored more than 200 applicants seeking work
visas through the INS program, alleging they were
religious workers who taught the Koran, Islamic history
and the Arabic language. According to the complaint,
Khalil supplied fake names ("Amjad Hussain," "Mohammad
Amjad," "Amjad Ali Chaudhry"); fake degrees (from the
University of Punjab); and fake religious training
certificates (for the "Nazra Quran Course").
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward O`Callaghan revealed
in court last week that Khalil made taped comments to an
undercover witness proclaiming allegiance with Osama bin
Laden and fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
"Hopefully," Khalil reportedly mused, "another attack in
the United States will come shortly." [ Feb. 06, 2003,
Mosque Leader Accused of Smuggling People, Larry
Neumeister, Associated Press]
Details about how Khalil first arrived in the U.S.,
why he was allowed to stay, and how he came back to
acquire U.S. citizenship are sketchy. But it`s enough to
raise alarm bells about the continued laxity in policing
fraud in the so-called "immigration services" branch of
the federal homeland security bureaucracy.
Prosecutors said Khalil arrived in the United States
in 1973, agreed to leave the country at the request of
the INS in the late 1970s, and returned in the early
1980s. By 1987, he had secured U.S. citizenship.
Will President Bush`s new appointee to head the
Department of Homeland Security`s Bureau of Citizenship
and Immigration Services get on the ball and get to the
bottom of this debacle? Not likely.
Eduardo Aguirre Jr., like former Immigration and
Naturalization Services chief
James Ziglar, has zero experience with immigration
law or law enforcement. He is a top bureaucrat at the
U.S. Export-Import Bank who worked for Bank of America
for 24 years, and whose main qualification is being a
Cuban immigrant who, according to the
White House, was named "One of the 100 Most
Influential Hispanics in the Nation" by Hispanic
Business Magazine for three consecutive years.
And we`re supposed to believe the feds are on
high terror alert? Color me unconvinced.
Michelle Malkin is author of
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.