- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2003

An employee of the Department of Homeland Security has been indicted by federal grand juries in Michigan on charges of obtaining improper visas and illegally smuggling aliens into the United States, including 130 from Yemen and Lebanon.
Grand juries in Detroit and Flint accused Janice Halstead, 59, of conspiring to illegally obtain "advance parole" status for aliens living outside the United States and not legally admissible to this country, and of conspiring to smuggle aliens into the United States through the use fraudulent passport stamps.
The indictments, announced yesterday by U.S. Attorney Jeffrey G. Collins in Detroit, were handed down April 9 and April 16. Mrs. Halstead was taken into custody yesterday.
She worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the time of the purported crimes and was later absorbed into the Homeland Security Department with the rest of the INS.
In Detroit, Mrs. Halstead is accused of conspiring with Zoha Madarani, who runs an immigration consulting business in nearby Dearborn, to obtain the advance parole status for Mrs. Madarani's clients. The indictment also accused Mrs. Halstead of accepting bribes in connection with the scheme.
Advance parole is available only for aliens legally residing in the United States who have applied to change their visa status. It allows aliens to leave and legally re-enter the United States.
In Flint, Mrs. Halstead was accused of conspiring with Salah al-Solihi to smuggle aliens into the United States who also were not legally admissible into the United States by use of "ADIT stamps," which are placed in the passports of legal permanent-resident aliens, or green-card holders, who have lost their cards.
An ADIT stamp permits permanent-resident aliens to leave and legally re-enter the country. The indictment said Mrs. Halstead placed fraudulent ADIT stamps into illegally obtained foreign passports for individuals who were neither permanent-resident aliens nor yet admitted into the United States.
"ICE special agents are working closely with the United States Attorney's Office on these cases," said Michael J. Garcia, assistant secretary of homeland security for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "ICE is committed to locating anyone who may have fraudulently obtained any benefit as a result of this criminal scheme."
FBI Agent Willie T. Hulon, who heads the bureau's Detroit field office, said the FBI will continue to aggressively pursue the case including locating persons who received the fraudulent documents. He said the bureau was committed to the pursuit of corrupt government officials who abuse their positions of trust and authority.
The Justice Department's Office of Inspector General will assist in the hunt for illegal aliens who used documents obtained through the suspected conspiracy.
Edward Dyner, who heads the IG office in Detroit, said, "Department of Justice employees are not for sale. The Inspector General's Office takes seriously any allegations against department employees and will thoroughly investigate them."
If convicted in the first indictment, Mrs. Halstead and her co-defendant could receive up to 20 years in prison and fines totaling $750,000. Each defendant in the second indictment could receive a sentence of up to 65 years and fines totaling $1.5 million.

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