You want to become a citizen? Spy on your friends (or else!)

BuzzFeed investigation turns up a disturbing trend

An investigation by BuzzFeed finds that the FBI (with cooperation from USCIS) is pressuring Muslim immigrants to become informants by dangling the promise of citizenship — or, if they do not comply, deportation — something that is expressly against the rules that govern FBI agents’ activities. 

The full article is long, but worth reading. You can find it here. Below are some excerpts: 

"...the bureau has assumed a powerful but unacknowledged role in a very different realm: decisions about the legal status of immigrants — in particular, Muslim immigrants. First the immigration agency ties up their green card applications for years, even a decade, without explanation, then FBI agents approach the applicants with a loaded offer: Want to get your papers? Start reporting to us about people you know."

"For immigrants pressured to become government informants, the process might begin with the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP). The program, overseen by immigration authorities, is designed to identify security risks among those who apply for visas, asylum, green cards, and naturalization." 

"Critics of CARRP say its entire premise strains credulity. If these immigrants posed a genuine threat to national security, wouldn’t authorities lock them up, rather than just allowing them to live for years at large in the United States? “They don’t prosecute any of them, they don’t even investigate them for real terrorist activities,” said Claudia Slovinsky, a 35-year veteran of immigration law. “If they really think someone is a danger, deal with it. Confront them.”

"Because of the unique position that Muslim immigrants occupy in American national security — subjected to a higher degree of scrutiny but also solicited as valuable sources in their communities — CARRP can victimize Muslim immigrants twice: leaving them in painful limbo for years, and then exposing them to abuse by law enforcement."

"Swift ticked off several cultural factors that may increase their vulnerability: “not strong in the language, not much money, not strong in due process concepts, and they often come from governments where if you don’t play with the government, they can whisk you away and put you in jail.”

"After 9/11, said a recently retired former FBI special agent who spoke to BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity, the shift toward counterterrorism increased the “importance of having a lot of sources, especially within the Middle Eastern community. Naturally, most of those folks were immigrants.”

"Dennis G. Fitzgerald, a former Drug Enforcement Agency agent with over 20 years of experience and the author of a book on informants and the law, concurred: “The leverage on an immigrant or an alien is unbelievable. It’s all about having leverage on another human being, and using that leverage, that power, to persuade them, to squeeze them, into becoming an informant. ”