Immigration Service business owner to do time in the slammer

A woman in Clearwater, Florida whose business was to help immigrants get documented so they could work in the US has been found guilty of preparing phony claims for asylum—274 of them!   Hat tip: Susan

From Tampa Bay Online:

TAMPA – Barbara Branks said she was only trying to help immigrants.

The owner of La Gringa Professional Immigration Services said she fabricated documents and asylum petitions because her clients needed her.

“As God is my witness, at no time did I intentionally seek to defraud this government,” Branks, 58, tearfully told a federal judge today. “My focus was on the client. … It was never for financial gain. It was just my passion to help.”

Branks was sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison for conspiring to make false statements in documents required by immigration authorities.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eduardo Toro-Font told U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington that Branks acted out of greed, and that her crime injured the integrity of the immigration system, harming those who follow the rules.

Toro-Font said Branks filed 274 fraudulent asylum petitions.

As a result, immigration officials and attorneys will be forced to spend time reviewing every document from clients of Branks’ Clearwater business, he said. Even those with legitimate asylum claims may be forced to return to their home countries to face persecution because Branks helped them take fraudulent shortcuts.

What does asylum mean? That’s a question a reader asked recently.  Here is a good definition from this article:

To qualify for asylum, an immigrant must prove he has been persecuted or has a well-founded fear of persecution in his home country based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. He must prove that either his home country was the persecutor or is unable to control the persecutor.

Asylum seekers are generally here in the US already, having gotten in under some other program (like a student visa) or illegally and then apply to stay.  That is what Aunt Zeituni is trying to prove now—that she would be persecuted if she returns to Kenya.  Refugees are brought to the US by the State Department.

This Florida case reminded me of a Maryland case we reported a year ago, here.

Last night I told you about more immigrant food stamp scams, here.  The poor American taxpayer is getting it from every direction!

CAIR and the Southern Poverty Law Center: Yikes the militias are coming!

This is no surprise, Mark Potok (Southern Poverty Law Center) has been peddling a report that appears to be the same old report he has been peddling for some time entitled, “Rage on the Right.”  Now we see CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) has jumpled on the boogeyman bandwagen.  Much quivering and shaking in the boots is going on it seems—of course they are both just whipping up a rightous frenzy and playing to their base.  But, come to think of it maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they were a bit scared.  Booo!

From a CAIR press release:

WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, today expressed concern about the reported rise in the number of anti-government and anti-immigrant extremist groups during the past year.

CAIR cited a report released today by the respected Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). That report, titled “Rage on the Right,” states in part:

“Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called ‘Patriot’ groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose ‘one-world government’ on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight…. The ‘tea parties’ and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism.”

We’ve written a lot about CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land terror funding trial, and if you want to see more of their handiwork use our search function. Here is our most recent post about how the FBI is now searching through 12,000 pages of documents that helped inform the authors of “Muslim Mafia” about what CAIR is up to in America.

As for Potok, every time he does another round of media visits peddling his hate-filled “new” studies, we get a whole bunch more visitors to this post I wrote about him last year.

Shush:  Don’t tell Potok and Hooper that it  doesn’t work anymore.