I know. Blust told us this was all a trick to get Harry Warren to vote FOR the bloated House budget. But — if Warren’s dream makes it through the General Assembly — you only need to look north to Vermont to see what could be happening here in the near future:
A Russian-language ad offering services for illegal immigrants in the New York City area is drawing Ukrainian and Georgian foreign nationals to obtain driver’s privilege cards in Vermont, one of just 10 states offering formal identification cards to undocumented immigrants.
Licenses are de facto citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the nation’s top ID card and essential to just about every service. Ongoing fraud related to Vermont licenses has many concerned that a weaker standard could make the state an entry point for terrorists seeking a formal ID card.
In May, top officials at the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed that foreign-language ads placed in New York area newspapers advertised help for illegals seeking a driver’s license.
While officials didn’t discuss specific cases tied to the ads, emails obtained under Vermont’s public records law show fraud cases under investigation as recently as April are directly linked to the ad.
On March 19, investigators from the DMV Enforcement and Safety Division learned that Ukrainian and Georgian illegal immigrants were staying in a Bennington apartment while applying for driver’s privilege cards at the local DMV.
DMV counter staff grew suspicious when two men arrived at the same time for their written tests and listed the same apartment on their applications. During the exams, one of the applicants was caught using his cell phone, presumably for cheating, and was forced to reschedule. The man complained the cancellation cost him $200.
After the immigrants made multiple visits to the branch, DMV staff cancelled an April 7 road test for one of the men after he admitted paying money to use the Bennington apartment. The man ultimately admitted he lived in Brooklyn and worked construction in New York City. Both immigrants appear to have paid a middleman about $1,000 for help obtaining the driver’s privilege cards.
When investigators told the men they were likely being taken advantage of and faced potential arrest and contact from U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement for submitting false information, they agreed to cooperate with investigators.
The foreign nationals, whose names are redacted in public documents, said they traveled to Vermont after responding to a phone number listed on a Russian ad. In English, the ad reads, “Drivers licenses for illegal immigrants! International lawyer can help illegal immigrants obtain drivers licenses in the U.S. in 45 days. Your status does not matter. You need only a passport from your country and a birth certificate. For inquiries, or to set up an appointment, call this number: 917-704-8412”
Upon seeing the ad, the immigrants met with a New Jersey man who instructed them to drive to a Bennington apartment rented in his name, and to gather mail that would be sent to them at the address. They would use the mail as proof of Bennington, Vermont, residency during the application process.
One man admitted staying overnight at the apartment on about 10 occasions, mostly to get mail and to take tests at the local DMV branch. The men were to leave the apartment key for others after them. Investigators confirmed the foreign nationals were not the lessees of the Bennington apartment and did not know the property manager.
Status of the foreign nationals
According to the public documents, investigators verified the identities and national origin of the men from a passport, a U.S. visa, and a Social Security card marked as valid only for work with authorization from the Department of Homeland Security.
Upon checking names against federal immigration databases, it is believed one of the applicants flew into Juarez, Mexico, in 2011 and entered the United States illegally by crossing the southern border. The other applicant entered the country as student in 2008, but never enrolled. Neither had legal presence in the United States.
As for the use of semi-trailer trucks, it is unclear if the men possessed commercial driver’s licenses, which illegal immigrants may not obtain lawfully in any state.[…]