JUNE 14, 2011
In a story that raises questions about how local law enforcement agencies vet candidates to “serve and protect’ communities, an illegal immigrant with a stolen identity spent years as an officer in Alaska’s largest police department.The unbelievable tale is reminiscent of a similar case in Wisconsin a few years ago. An illegal alien used the identity of his cousin, a deceased American citizen, to work as an officer in the Milwaukee Police Department for five years before getting caught.Incredibly, this has also occurred at the federal level. A few years ago the U.S. Border Patrol discovered that an agent (Oscar Antonio Ortiz) had used a fraudulent birth certificate to join the Homeland Security agency. The blunder was discovered after Ortiz got busted for smuggling fellow Mexicans into the U.S. in his government vehicle.In the Alaska case, an illegal immigrant from Mexico (Rafael Mora-Lopez) first worked as a city bus driver for six years before joining the Anchorage Police Department, where he spent another six years as a patrolman before getting caught recently. This month he pleaded guilty to federal charges for passport fraud and falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen.As a longtime Alaska resident, Mora-Lopez collected nearly $30,000 in dividends issued to legal state residents from oil profits. He also voted in local and national elections with his assumed identity and used it to bring his future wife to Alaska from Mexico and help her obtain U.S. citizenship.Incredibly, Anchorage’s police chief defends the illegal alien who duped his agency, saying that he was a “good officer except for the fact he was impersonating someone else.” A local news web site joined the chief this week, pointing out that Mora-Lopez was a “successful and well-liked APD officer who had worked as a bus driver before becoming a cop.”In the same story, the Alaska Dispatch criticizes the lack of interest in what could be afascinating story of one family’s efforts to make a new life in the U.S. and how they worked around immigration policy and through government bureaucracy. “Mora-Lopez parlayed his new identity into a pretty good vision of the American Dream,” the piece says.
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