Asylum Fraud: Deported Multiple Felon Applies Twice, Freed in U.S.
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As Congress investigates asylum fraud law enforcement sources have provided Judicial Watch with the unbelievable case of a deported multiple felon who was twice permitted to apply for asylum and released by federal authorities throughout the process.
The woman, an illegal alien from El Salvador named Jessica Martinez, is probably still living illegally in the U.S., according to the law enforcement sources that provided JW with the incredible story of her decade-long case. It starts with a 2003 identity theft operation that Martinez and her illegal immigrant husband ran in Los Angeles.
Martinez has five children and collects Social Security benefits, food stamps and other government services for them through the county, the law enforcement sources reveal in a report written exclusively for JW. In 2004 the couple got criminally charged for the identity theft scheme, both went to jail and got three years of felony probation. The husband, Juan Veliz, got deported but Martinez remained in the U.S. and applied for asylum, claiming that she was a crime victim and would be killed if returned to El Salvador.
The feds released Martinez and she committed more crimes. She got convicted of grand theft in a real estate scam and, incredibly, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allowed her to remain free pending her asylum hearing. An immigration judge denied her asylum and, after several more brushes with the law, Martinez was finally deported. “The problem was finally solved after eight years of delays in immigration,” said one of JW’s law enforcement sources with inside knowledge of the case.
But a few years later Martinez crosses the border illegally and ends up in Los Angeles again, frustrated law enforcement officials write in the report. Despite her extensive criminal history, she applied for asylum a second time and the feds again released her into the community pending the hearing. “ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) gives Martinez an immigration court date and releases her back in the general public,” JW’s law enforcement source says, adding that it’s likely she’s still living in the community.
Martinez is the poster child for the fraud and abuse in the U.S. asylum system. Last month the Washington Times published a story revealing that Mexican drug cartel members are abusing the asylum system by claiming to have a credible fear of returning to their country. Once in the U.S., some are setting up smuggling operations and others engage in violence. A DHS spokesman assured in the story that asylum seekers go through multiple background checks, including checks by law enforcement.
This clearly didn’t occur in the Martinez case and countless others, according to news reports. At a House Judiciary Committee hearing held this week to address asylum abuse, the DHS confirmed that the number of asylum cases in the last fiscal year has more than doubled though the agency insists candidates are carefully vetted. Individuals placed in expedited removal who express a fear of return are placed in the “credible fear screening process,” Michael Fisher, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, told the committee at this week’s hearing.
Fisher explained the process to the congressional panel, testifying that, in addition to a “detailed credible fear interview,” illegal immigrants undergo a thorough security screening. The process includes a biographic and biometric check and a run through a national security database that uses federal, state, local and foreign sources to identify terrorists, wanted persons and persons of interest for law enforcement and counterterrorism purposes. Jessica Martinez should have set off alarms in the system.