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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
What Is A Puerto Rican 'National?'
What Is A Puerto Rican 'National?'
JANUARY 8, 2003
What in heaven's name is a "Puerto Rican national?" Michelle Malkin references such an individual in her column "Who's watching the White House?" (Commentary, Monday).
Nowhere does Mrs. Malkin explain why a "Puerto Rican national" might possess U.S. residency rights inaccessible to a "Mexican national" even though such an explanation is indispensable if readers are to understand how Salvador Martinez-Gonzalez managed for about two years to avoid expulsion from the United States despite being an undocumented Mexican who had access to the White House grounds.
The facts are as follows:
The term Puerto Rican national has no meaning. Persons born in Puerto Rico are automatically citizens of the United States. Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez was able to pose as an American precisely because he was able to pose as a Puerto Rican. For, after all, Puerto Ricans are Americans.
SEN. KENNETH D. MCCLINTOCK
Cidra, Puerto Rico
Who's Watching The White House?
JANUARY 6, 2003
If you thought the New Year's Eve FBI manhunt for illegal aliens with fake passports was a disturbing sign of homeland insecurity, wait until you hear about who has been working on President George W. Bush's front lawn.
While the Secret Service has now instituted criminal and citizenship screening procedures for all tourists (including children) who visit the White House, federal agents failed to detect an illegal alien who used a false identity and fraudulent documents and was employed for at least two years as a supervisor of tent installation for White House social events.
This illegal alien had been ordered kicked out of the country by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in February 2000, but was able to evade the law and fool both his employer and the Secret Service through petty identity fraud. He was finally caught at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, but it was no thanks to the law enforcement agents in Washington who are assigned to protect the White House from unknown intruders.
Posing as "Kelvin Rodriguez," a Mexican citizen named Salvador Martinez-Gonzalez worked for HDO Productions Inc., which bills itself as "the nation's most respected provider of special event tent and accessory rentals." The company designs elaborate outdoor settings for galas, weddings and government functions.
Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez had access to the White House grounds, the Pentagon and NASA, and rubbed elbows with Washington's most powerful officials from former President Bill Clinton to current Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne. Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez kept festive photos of himself with Mr. Clinton and the Cheneys as souvenirs to show off his insider access.
On Dec. 2, 2002, according to a Justice Department intelligence report I obtained, Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez tried to return to the U.S. from a trip to Mexico. He showed up at the Laredo, Texas, port of entry claiming to be a U.S. citizen and provided inspectors with the photos of himself with Mr. Clinton and the Cheneys. A routine fingerprint and immigration database check showed that he had been apprehended in Brownsville, Texas, two years ago, and at that time was ordered to leave the country. He should have been immediately detained for fraudulent entry and kicked out.
But Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez was neither detained nor removed from the U.S., as required by federal law. Instead, immigration officials learned, Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez was freed and purchased a birth certificate from the real Kelvin Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican national who lent his identity to Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez. According to the intelligence report, Mr. Rodriguez helped Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez obtain a U.S. Social Security card, Maryland driver's license and a U.S. passport.
According to the report, Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez/"Rodriguez" moved to the Maryland suburbs and began to work for HDO Productions. An Associated Press article shows that the company had past problems with illegal labor at the White House. In the summer of 1998, immigration officials arrested two Mexican nationals who worked for HDO Productions and were trying to gain access to the White House grounds using fake alien registration cards. Secret Service officers detained them after they presented the fake documents. The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia authorized prosecution for possession of fraudulent documents, and the two workers were reportedly deported.
As for Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez/"Rodriguez," he left HDO Productions sometime in the fall. Company president Jerry O'Connell said he was not aware of any immigration problems and that the departure of Mr. Martinez-Gonzalez/"Rodriguez" had nothing to do with immigration-related fraud.
According to the DOJ intelligence report, the FBI and Secret Service were both contacted by immigration investigators for further interviewing of this illegal alien impostor. But an FBI spokesman in Washington D.C., said he was unfamiliar with the case. My calls to the White House were unreturned. The Secret Service refused to comment.
Hopefully, President Bush will have better luck getting answers. For if his own guardians can't keep low-level, illegal border-crossing identity impostors out of the White House backyard, how in the world can we count on his administration to keep far more sophisticated, illegal alien evildoers like the five that President Bush personally ordered hunted down last week out of ours?
Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores" (Regnery).