View From Lodi, CA: The Imams and the Religious Visa
FBI probe into the possibility that
two local Lodi men, U.S. born Hamid Hayat, 24, and
his father, Umer Hayat, 47, might have ties to Al Queda,
should also draw attention to one the nation`s biggest
problems in the
terrorism war: visa fraud.
also arrested on "immigration violations" were
two imams, Muhammed Adil Khan, 47, and Shabbir Ahmed,
42, and Khan`s 19-year old son, Mohammad Hassan Adil.
the Lodi News-Sentinel, Khan and Ahmed are in the
United States on religious worker, or R-1, visas. Khan`s
19-year-old son, Hassan Adil, is here on a R-2 visa
issued to religious worker family members. [Lawyer
for three Lodi men arrested and held on immigration
charges blasts FBI By Andrew Adams ,Jun 14,
of the outcome of these specific Lodi cases that the San
Francisco immigration court will hear within several
religious visa program has been
rife with fraud since its creation by Congress in
concerned about the war on terrorism should be aware of
the R-1 visa and how it—and other
easily obtained visas—is abused.
thousands of R-1 nonimmigrant visas are issued to
foreigners to come to America to allegedly pursue
religious endeavors. The visas are issued to fill a
supposed shortage of religious professionals among
the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.
the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website,
receives a R-1 visa must demonstrate strong ties to
his home country—supposedly assuring he will return— and
he must also agree to stay for a specific, short-term
reality, the visa holders may not intend to return.
these examples from the ugly R visa history.
received his visa
despite being on a terrorist watch list, ultimately
overstayed his legally permitted time in the country
thus enabling him to perpetrate the WTC attack.
its 1999 report titled "Visa Issuance: Issues
Concerning the Religious Worker Program," [PDF] the
General Accounting Office discovered active R visa fraud
scams in churches in Colombia, Fiji and Russia.
concluded that, "Neither INS or the State Department
knows the extent of the fraud in the religious worker
were charged with filing false R visa applications on
behalf of 200
Middle Eastern aliens. Charging $8,000 per
application, Khalil submitted applications that used
false names, fake occupations, non-existent universities
and bogus religious training certificates.
his associates were arrested. The whereabouts of most of
the others among the 200 who received religious visas
most recently, according to a 42-count indictment made
by the federal grand jury in Dallas and
unsealed in July 2004, the Holy Land Foundation for
Relief and Development and
its leaders were charged with funding the terrorist
organization HAMAS as well as money laundering and tax
In light of
the Lodi case, some focus on the R-2 visa given to
immediate family members is worthwhile.
An R-2 visa holder`s flexibility is
particularly important considering that Osama bin Laden
has repeatedly stated that the most important thing in
jihad mission to
destroy America is to
recruit U.S. passport holders.
Readers who are interested in
learning more about visa fraud should read syndicated
columnist Michelle Malkin`s 2002 book, "Invasion: How
America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other
Foreign Menaces on Our Shores" and the 2002 Center
for Immigration Studies report titled
"The Open Door: How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered
and Remained in the U.S. 1993-2001."
(Author`s note: much of the
information in this column came from
Michelle Malkin`s website.)
Regarding the R-1 visa, VDARE.COM`s
Juan Mann echoed the findings of the G.A.O. report
when he told me:
"No one ever gets deported
who overstays his R-1 visa, since there`s no way for the
government to ever know if they go out of status . . .
unless they come to the attention of law enforcement
some other way…like a
attending a terrorist camp in Pakistan."
No matter what the truth is in the
Lodi case, the
Bush administration owes it to America to tighten up
on religious visas. The R-1 visa provides
easy access into the country for people who may be
intent on harming us.
The U.S. can get along perfectly
well without the R-1 visa. But we may not be able to
survive if the government continues to issue them.