I have seen and heard some pretty despicable things in my life. I mean, I’m an adult after all, and just look at the world around us. That said, though, this might be one of the lowest things I’ve seen recently. Raphael Sanchez, chief legal counsel with ICE was charged on Monday with one count of aggravated identity theft and one of wire fraud. Just one case in each instance, however, Sanchez has reportedly stolen the identities of seven people who were in various stages of immigration proceedings. What was the end result? He was defrauding banks like American Express, Bank of America and Capital One.
This just doesn’t make sense to me. According to the court rules, the type of charging document filed in Sanchez’s case (called an “information”) can be filed only when the defendant has agreed to waive their right to be indicted by a grand jury. This is typically an indication that a plea agreement is in the works. The court calendar shows that Sanchez is due to enter a plea this Thursday. The charging document contained very few specifics about the allegations, but it did give one example. In April 2016, Sanchez sent an email from his government account to his Yahoo account that included personal information pertaining to a Chinese national. The information Sanchez sent included an image of their U.S. Permanent resident card, the biographical page of their Chinese passport and a utility bill in that person’s name.
I find this incredibly despicable. You should too. Immigration is kind of a touchy subject in America right now, but regardless of whether you agree with it or not, this is not how people should be treated. In fact, the people that had their identities stolen were people who were working within the boundaries of the system in order to get into the country legally. They were using the proper channels in an attempt to have a better life. I don’t think you can fault them for that, but I am also seriously taken aback by what this lawyer was doing. Even if you justify his actions by saying that he was really trying to hurt the banks. But does that make it better? A better way to frame this – do the ends justify the means?
ICE agents have played an active role in this whole immigration crackdown of Trumps. They have already arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants during September’s “Operation Safe City”. That was a four-day effort in which the administration targeted sanctuary cities around the Country. But let me be clear. These people weren’t undocumented workers. In fact, they were at various stages of the immigration process. They only have evidence on him for one individual, but hopefully, they will be able to connect him to the seven other identities that he stole.
I also wonder how this will play out with the Trump Administration. I don’t expect his office to weigh in on this specific story, but it would be interesting to hear him say something about it. I suspect I could guess his stance on this kind of thing, but I am also worried what this could mean. Maybe further crackdowns? Maybe stricter immigration rules. After Thursday, we will know the outcome of this particular case at least.