Jewish World Review Oct. 25, 2002 / 19 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Michelle Malkin

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Consumer Reports

Who let Lee Malvo loose? | The mainstream media informed us this week that Lee Malvo, the reportedly "17-year-old" youth charged as a material witness in the sniper investigation along with John Mohammed, is a "Jamaican national." As of this writing (Oct. 24), the Immigration and Naturalization Service refused to comment publicly on the exact nature of Malvo's immigration status.

Here are the facts the INS doesn't want you to know: Lee Malvo is an illegal alien from Jamaica who jumped ship in Miami in June 2001. He was apprehended by the Border Patrol in Bellingham, Wash., in December 2001, but was then let go by the INS district in Seattle in clear violation of federal law and contrary to what the arresting Border Patrol officers intended, according to my law enforcement sources.

According to INS records I obtained, Malvo was arrested by Border Patrol agents in Bellingham, Wash., on December 19, 2001. Local police called the Border Patrol during an incident involving "some sort of custody dispute" between Malvo's mother, Uma Sceon James, and John Mohammed (the ex-Army soldier with black radical Muslim ties now at the center of the sniper investigation). James admitted that six months earlier, "she and her son were passengers on a cargo ship that was filled with 'illegal asians (sic).' They were all off loaded in the Miami, FL area where she immediately located work at the Red Lobster in Ft. Myers, FL."

From there, Malvo and James traveled to Tacoma, Wash., and ended up in Bellingham. At the time of their arrest, INS records indicate, neither Malvo nor his mother had any documents proving their identities or allowing them "to be or remain in the United States legally." The Border Patrol agents concluded that because she had "no roots or close family ties in the United States, James was likely to abscond." The arresting officer noted that the mother-and-son illegal aliens, Malvo and James, would be "detained at the Seattle Detention facility in Seattle, Washington pending deportation charges."

That's not what happened. About a month after their arrest, Malvo and his mother were set free by the Seattle district INS-contrary to what the arresting Border Patrol officers had determined should be done. And in clear violation of federal law regarding the removal of illegal alien stowaways. According to the Detention and Deportation Officers' Field Manual:

"Occasionally, you may encounter an alien who claims to be a stowaway, but cannot or will not provide information concerning the name of the vessel of arrival. Prior to April 1, 1997, such aliens could be handled in the same way as any other EWI [entered without inspection] case and placed into removal proceedings. The [Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act], however, directs that stowaways, regardless of when encountered, are to be removed without a hearing.citing section 235(a)(2) of the Act as the authority for the action."

The law is explicit: Illegal alien stowaways are to be detained and deported without hearings. James admitted that she and her son were illegal alien stowaways. Yet, in January 2002, James was released on a $1,500 bond; Malvo was set loose without any bond on his own recognizance. Here is my theory: Somebody at the Seattle INS office leaned on the arresting Border Patrol officers to disregard Malvo and his mother's "stowaway" status-allowing them to run free and allowing the INS to avoid the costs associated with detention and deportation. So, who let Lee Malvo loose? The Seattle INS office referred my call to the Washington, D.C. headquarters. The national headquarters referred calls to the Montgomery County sniper task force. Standard INS operating procedure: Pass the buck and run for cover.


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"This makes me sick to my stomach," says Daryl Schermerhorn, vice president of the Northwest regional chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents Border Patrol agents in Washington State. "The INS is not concerned with enforcing immigration law," he told me this week. "It's more concerned with freeing up jails and saving a few bucks than it is with protecting Americans and removing people who don't belong here."

As I document in my book, Invasion, these countless "catch and release" cases have demoralized rank-and-file INS agents and cost scores of American lives-from cops gunned down by fugitive deportees to victims of illegal border-crossing murderers, and now, quite possibly, to the innocents slaughtered in the Washington, D.C., area sniping spree. Eugene Davis, a retired deputy chief Border Patrol agent in Blaine, Wash., told me: "This is another classic example of how our catch and release policy for illegal aliens remains a danger to us all. What's it going to take for the American people to demand that we fix the system?"

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JWR contributor Michelle Malkin is the author of, most recently, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores". To comment, please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate