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Corporate Immigration Fraud Leads to Slap on the Wrist

author Published by Chris Chmielenski

The CEO and COO of Regal Hospitality Solutions, LLC, Sargis Makaryan and Samvel Nikoghosyan respectively, pleaded guilty to one count out of 36 charges in a visa fraud and illegal worker scheme. The case stems from a 2021 indictment that already led to two guilty pleas. The Department of Justice (DOJ) called this a large-scale visa fraud scheme designed to defraud the government and enrich the companies involved, at the expense of foreign workers. They were recruiting illegal immigrants and lawful aliens to fraudulently apply for tourist B visas and then having them work, as well as file fraudulent H-2B visa petitions. Essentially, they were scamming the entire immigration system to see what would stick, and a lot did.

For their crimes, the CEO/COO got two years probation. Imagine a regular person committing large-scale fraud against the government and exploiting their fellow citizens. Would they get probation? So much for no one being above the law. Recall the recent child labor case of Marksbury Farms. For child labor violations they received a whopping $8,893 civil fine. No wonder The New York Times has huge reports of widespread child labor. Even if you’re caught there is no real punishment.

G.K. Chesterton is attributed the famous quote by President John Kennedy, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” This was President Kennedy paraphrasing, but the common sense of it stands. Certainly, in the immigration landscape our leaders would be wise to heed it. They have been tearing down fences against mass immigration and labor exploitation for years and we are all reaping the whirlwind.

The labor exploitation is happening across visa categories, industries, and legal statuses. We have seen farmers and nurses allege indentured servitude. Forced labor is on the rise. American workers are being discriminated against and laid off as petitions for more foreign workers continue uninterrupted. Those lucky enough to have jobs are being robbed by wage theft in growing numbers.

Eureka! So that is why Congress wrote the laws. Before we tore them down, we probably should have had some curiosity as to the motive for their existence. It is clear that permissive immigration policies are directly tied to the mass worker exploitation occurring presently. You cannot solve one without correcting the other. While it is certainly true that we must get serious about enforcing the law against the business sector, we cannot hope to be able to do that without reducing the numbers of foreign workers we admit to the United States.

To see why this is so, I encourage you to read the Times reporting on the child labor crisis created by the Biden Administration. When President Biden’s team is not denying the crisis is occurring, they are blaming the overwhelming number of children coming across the border for creating an impossible situation to manage. Importantly, they are not wrong about the challenges presented by overwhelming numbers. The government is made up of human beings with limited resources. As resources are strained, the ability to effectively regulate and manage the migrant child population decreases exponentially. This does not excuse the Biden Administration for ignoring the fact that they were trafficking children. However, it does explain how it can happen.

And that same explanation carries over to the workforce as a whole. The Departments of Labor (DOL), Justice (DOJ), and Homeland Security (DHS) are similarly overwhelmed. We admit tens of millions of foreign citizens annually. The backlogs in the immigration system are only expanding. They do not have the staff to ensure the laws are actually being followed, given the numbers involved. This is why companies like Regal Hospitality Solutions can fraudulently file petitions for H-2B and B visas. They know they are one needle in an ocean of needles. The odds of actually being caught are extremely low. Of course, given the penalties involved, there is even less of a reason to respect the rules as written.

Indisputably, the driving force for the border crisis and worker exploitation has been the Biden Administration (and prior administrations) methodically dismantling enforcement. The Biden Administration’s answer to this problem has been freezing deportations and writing memos ending worksite enforcement and effectively abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Additionally, they are creating illegal new parole programs and expanding old ones to encourage even more migration. All this begs the question: Is the Biden Administration intentionally creating these consequences through its policy; or is it unable (or unwilling) to dig its way out of the hole of unintended consequences?.

Unfortunately, it seems these effects are intentional. No matter the number of atrocities seen at the border or in our workforce, he will call for more aliens to be let in. The numbers are likely to surge next month with the end of Title 42. That means more potential victims for traffickers and unscrupulous employers. Even if they get caught, they need only brace their wrist for a love tap. We need real penalties for employers and actual enforcement at the border. Congress needs to pass mandatory E-Verify to combat the black market in labor leading to child exploitation and slavery. They also need to rein in abuse of executive parole power and the manipulation of the asylum system that has turned a billion dollar profit for drug cartels. The bill the House Judiciary Committee passed last week, HR 2640, is a good first step.

Until we reduce the numbers and enforce our laws, things will only get worse.

JARED CULVER is a Legal Analyst for NumbersUSA

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