See, illegal immigration is good for business. A fascinating piece out of Knight-Ridder's Washington bureau outlines how forgers are making tens of millions--"and possibly billions"--selling counterfeit versions of official documets (including Social Security cards and driver's licenses) to some 12 million illegal immigrants. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, this is all being done by one family that came to the U.S. from Mexico in the late 1980s that has a lot of background in the printing business.
"Only trained experts can distinguish its fake identity documents from real ones, and the Castorena Family Organization, or CFO, as ICE officials call it, has spread to at least 50 cities in 33 states. At a sentencing hearing for one family member in December, U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock of Denver said that the CFO's criminal reach is 'simply breathtaking' and strikes 'at the heart of the sovereignty of the United States of America.'"
According to the story, ICE agents have closed "document mills" in such cities as Los Angeles and Denver in recent months, but the Department of Homeland Security folks have no such luck in, among other places, Dallas, where ICE has formed a multi-agency task force to crack the case. --Robert Wilonsky