Daniel Horowitz of The Conservative Review was among several journalists who wrote about a series of my tweets during the first week of March 2019, which chocked up hundreds of thousands of impressions after the likes of Michelle Malkin and Anne Coulter, followers of my account, retweeted them. The tweets were based on secret verbal policy orders that a credible U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me were responsible for quickly releasing tens of thousands of Central American migrants into the nation’s interior, despite massive obvious fraud.
I know this USCIS worker pretty well, having personally met the person and regard the person as not only credible but also well-placed on the front lines of this current crisis.
The gist of what the source said was that mid-level, politically liberal bureaucrats at USCIS (“Deep-Staters”?) have secretly thrown open the nation’s gates in a way the general public will never be in position to know: by telephone-ordering (to avoid damning written format) that all Central American migrants who were part of “family units” have to be granted YES judgments on asylum claim “credible fear” interviews, no matter that asylum officers were seeing systematic, obvious fraud in these stories. Such credible fear interviews are pivotal in that they enable USCIS asylum officers to gauge and rule on truthfulness of persecution stories. A thumbs up determines whether an asylum claim easily proceeds. A thumbs down starts up deportation processes instead. What I was told is that mid-level Obama holdovers who run the Asylum Division and Credible Fear programs had removed the discretion of USCIS officers to ever say NO to members of migrant family units even when detectable fraud is ubiquitous, as it ostensibly is.
I decided to put out these tweets as a raw whistle-blowing tip, not as independently verified, on grounds that the public and policy leaders would want to know of such USCIS practices as a means to understand the current mass influx of family unit members that is set to hit the million mark in 2019 and, in a hurry, so that decisions might be made to change the situation if that is what’s desired.
For better or worse, I went the Twitter route because it’s difficult ever to gain an inside peek at highly protected asylum processes like this, and I thought maybe journalists or the agency itself might look into the allegations sooner than if I were to try it myself. I figured any effort by me to ascertain the veracity of the whistle-blowing source’s claims by collecting more corroborating anonymous inside sources or records retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act would take a very long time (One of my FOIA requests to ICE, about something else, has been stuck in cue for seven months with no response). I decided to regard the collective tweets as a public tip for better-sourced journalists and maybe even USCIS to run things down faster than I knew I could.
Instead, pro-illegal immigration advocates fiercely attacked me, and the only traditional old media journalist I know who responded, the Associated Press’s Chloe Kim, proved more interested in discrediting the one pretty tangential Tweet among those reflecting why a million Central American migrants will likely gain permanent admittance this year as illegal aliens who can never be removed. More on the AP coverage shortly.
To expand a bit more on why I felt this should be cleared up quickly: carte blanche credible fear YES rulings, without regard to detected fraud, means any given family unit migrant will be quickly, permanently, and wrongly released into the U.S. interior, with a court date before an immigration judge, on asylum claims for which the vast majority of Central Americans are ruled ineligible. Many, if not most in some jurisdictions, of course, rarely show up for such court dates. Why would they when they know the ruling will be likely unfavorable and they can instead permanently join the country’s huge illegal resident population with virtually no chance at all that they’ll ever be deported absent committing a serious crime? (Imagine the publicity of ICE arresting crying families in, say, Indianapolis, for an airlift back home).
Meantime, back in Central America, everyone hears what’s going on and rushes up to similarly game the allegedly bogus credible fear interview process before the Americans figure out how to restore integrity to it and start airlifting. So this unofficial policy requiring asylum officer interviewers to always so YES in the face of flagrant fraud, assuming it is as described to me, is almost entirely responsible for opening the gate as wide as it can possibly be opened and for the numbers we are currently seeing.
The public impact of what my source told me seemed to demand I get word out fast.
In retrospect, it should have been predictable that one of the Tweets that drew the highest traffic of any Tweet I have ever sent forth was that women in at least one family detention facility were being offered elective Lasik eye surgery to correct vision, and that children were being provided with the first round of orthodontic braces before their releases. This Tweet drew the most outrage and push-back from pro-illegal migration advocates, and drew the call from Associated Press reporter Chloe Kim.
With a sigh of resignation, I kind of get why the other Tweets about mass-YES rulings in the face of fraud drew no similar mainstream media interest.
I explained in an email to Kim that my USCIS source knew this information about the Lasik surgey offering because migrants were having to reschedule credible fear interviews due to conflicts with the Lasik surgery appointments. Kim eventually wrote that an ICE public affairs officer denied this last report about Lasik surgery being offered and allowed that maybe some orthodontic services were provided in cases of dire need.
Two things struck me as odd about the AP’s reporting. The first was that Kim acknowledged to me, when I asked her during a phone call pre-publication, that the public affairs officer she was going to cite had refused to publicly put a name on the denial and would not issue a written statement. I told Kim that, based on my own long experience as a news reporter covering immigration, these choices were unusual and indicated that the public affairs officer might not be certain about the statement that no Lasik surgeries were ever offered. Kim agreed that this was unusual and that it did indeed also indicate some level of internal doubt at ICE. In the end, facing a deadline, though, she ran with an item quoting the public affairs officer on background anyway like this:
“According to a public affairs officer for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency responsible for managing care and services in migrant detention centers, no elective surgeries or procedures of any kind are approved. The spokesman said medical procedures are only approved if necessary to preserve life, limb or eyesight. He added that there may be limited instances where orthodontics are medically necessary, but they are not proactively offered.”
The second oddity is that I forwarded the resulting Associated Press report to my USCIS officer source. The source read the AP report and replied:
“Procedurally, when an Officer is doing telephone interviews and the applicant requests to reschedule the interview for another time, the Officer must get Supervisor permission for the reschedule and give the reason. Officers have come to me in the past and given the reason- the applicant says she is scheduled for Lasik today. “
So there would be a paper trail that probably no one is going to follow about Lasik and braces. But that issue is the least impactful on the nation of the Tweets. As far as I know, after all that Twitter energy, no one is looking at whether a cabal of pro-illegal immigration advocates who managed to seize control of and corrupt the credible fear process is responsible for the mass rush on the southern border.
And I can see that if we, as a country, are ever to really get to the bottom of this gate-opening business, I am going to have to do it myself anyway, after all.