The Dallas Morning News ran an article in it’s Crime Blog today outlining arrests made by the joint efforts of the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, and agents representing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also known as “ICE”.
The collaboration of the two legal entities is known as “Dallas Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force” and is one of many “Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces” a.k.a. “DBFTF’s” throughout the country focused on the criminal activities of foreign nationals engaged in forging and selling fake IDs.
In this case in Dallas, it was fake Driver’s Licenses and Social Security Cards being sold at local flea markets and street bazaars in Garland, TX and Dallas, TX. The ICE press release on the Dallas arrests is here.
The article regarding the Dallas arrests goes into the details:
The successful operation resulted in four arrests at local multi-vendor bazaars including Vikon Village Flea Market and the Garland Plaza Bazaar both in Garland and the Garibaldi Mercado Bazaar and the Plaza Latina Bazaar both in Dallas. The suspects — Kiros Wolde Selassie, Rossy Ruiz, Rosalba Villaverde-Acevedo and Yazmin Hinojosa — were all operating “ID stores” at these bazaars, where they were making counterfeit identification documents and selling them to customers. Production of a counterfeit Texas identification card is a violation of Texas Penal Code 37.10, Tampering with a Government Document which is a second degree felony with a punishment range of two to 20 years in prison.
Yep, these guys are in trouble. Texas Penal Code goes into more detail.
This comes on the heels of the recent re-election of Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins. Watkins showed Republicans who ran a campaign against him that he can play the enforcement card. A whole batch of Callas County Democrats defied the Republican backlash and won.
There are several fascinating stories about Mr. Watkins in the paper in recent weeks, that show the politics of his recent actions. Watkins, a Democrat, even dismissed two prosecutors that attended a Republican election party. It’s not certain he did this on purpose, or that was specifically because they attended, but one can read between the lines.
That said, the function of the DFFTF’s is an excellent enforcement option that can lend real protection to areas afflicted with immigration violations. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s influence can be felt in just about any district or region that feels the need. All law enforcement or judiciary members have to do is initiate contact and being the process of coordination.
Currently ICE maintains such tasks forces in the following areas:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Saint Paul
- San Francisco
- San Juan
- Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia
The politics aside, one has to surmise that it’s probably a lost more cost-effective than most government programs, and really tackles a serious problem in the US.
Other countries such as India, Thailand and France have similar infrastructures but they often can be corrupted or neutralized by media interference.
It’s highly unlikely in the current economic climate that corruption could ever tarnish this type of work done by local and federal authorities.
Our blog will keep you updated in specific cases every time the DBFTF’s take action as we feel it’s a critical bit of accomplished business in this area of interest. There’s much work to be done on Immigration Reform in 2010 and 2011, let’s hope for the best for everyone who deserves the best, not just a select few who break the rules and ruin it for many.