ICE Mulls Fraud Case; Agency as Yet Unsure of Illegals' Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Jon Ward, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Federal authorities yesterday said it's too early to know whether hundreds of illegal aliens brought into the country in an Indonesian immigration fraud ring will be deported or arrested.

"I can't tell you if they are going to be or aren't going to be [arrested]," said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. "It is an ongoing investigation. They're looking into each one of these cases."

Known as Operation Jakarta, a nearly two-year investigation into the illegal practices of Indonesian immigration brokers and consultants operating in Northern Virginia and Maryland resulted in the indictments of 26 ringleaders. One of the ringleaders reportedly admitted that he was starting an international sex-trafficking business before he was arrested last fall.

The illegal aliens were coached to tell asylum officers or immigration judges false stories of beatings or rapes they endured in Indonesia at the hands of Muslims because they were either ethnic Chinese or Christians, authorities said.

Earlier this week, Hans Gouw, the leader of the Fairfax-based immigration fraud ring, pleaded guilty to falsifying documents for more than 1,900 Indonesians who are in the United States illegally.

Gouw, 54, also admitted that he was planning to bring about 40 women from Indonesia, three of them younger than 18, into the United States as strippers and prostitutes. He was arrested before he could bring in any of the women.

The more than 1,900 illegal aliens who filed bogus asylum requests through Gouw traveled from 27 states, including California, Pennsylvania and Georgia, to meet Gouw in Northern Virginia to get the documents, authorities said.

Gouw used his Chinese Indonesian American Society, which advertised in newspapers catering to the Indonesian community, as a cover for the operation.

Gouw and his co-conspirators "used publications that reached the Indonesian community all over the country, so wherever you were, you could reach these guys. …