Here is a radical proposition: The public has a right to know the immigration status and history of foreign criminal suspects. Their entrance and employment sponsorship records should not be treated like classified government secrets -- especially if the public's tax dollars subsidized their salaries.
In March, I contacted the D.C. offices of House Congressional Democrats Joaquin Castro of Texas, Sander Levin of Michigan, Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Greg Meeks of New York and Ted Deutch of Florida. These public officials have at one time or another employed one of three Pakistani Muslim brothers or their family and friends caught up in a criminal theft and hacking probe of the House Democrats' information security systems. In all, IT worker Imran Awan and his family and friends hoovered up an estimated $4 million in government funds over a period of 13 years.
For months, the D.C. Capitol Police have probed allegations that the Awan ring stole equipment from more than 20 congressional offices and accessed the House IT system without members' knowledge. Investigative reporter Luke Rosiak at The Daily Caller News Foundation has done excellent work on the case -- most recently breaking the news of Imran Awan's arrest in late July at the airport for alleged bank fraud, mortgage scams and shady wire transfers of nearly $300,000.
Awan was headed to Pakistan to join his wife, Hina Alvi, and three children, who had hastily fled America in March after Alvi was fired by Rep. Meeks. This reeks.
My question to the House Democrats was simple: Were the Awans and their family and friends H-1B tech workers -- like so many of the 650,000 "temporary" foreign guest workers imported into America under that program over the past quarter-century and predominantly working in IT?
And if they're not H-1Bs, how exactly did Awan and company get here, when did they get here, and who brought them over here and why?
These are simple questions. Given that these foreign IT workers now under investigation were paid for with our tax dollars, Americans deserve to know their path to the public trough. This is especially true when so many members of Congress in both parties continue to clamor for expanding foreign guest-worker programs like H-1B and refuse to enact freezes on corrupted visa programs exploited by foreign tourists (B visas), students (F-1 visas) and workers (H visas) acting in bad faith.
Moreover, U.S. tech workers have grown increasingly vocal about being forced to train underqualified, shoddily vetted foreign replacements before getting pink-slipped -- and increasingly alarmed at their access to sensitive personal, financial and health data.
Awan first landed a job with former Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler as an "information technology director" in 2004 at the ripe age of 24 or 25. His younger brother, Jamal, is reportedly only 23 years old, yet has pulled in a salary of nearly $160,000 a year since 2014 (when he was 20!) as an information technology worker for Democrat Rep. Julia Brownley. That's 3.1 times greater than the median salary for a House IT worker, according to InsideGov.
Who sponsored these young foreign techies and chose them to do work in our nation's capital doing a job that countless young Americans are qualified to do? If not H-1B, did they arrive first as students on foreign visas (who are supposed to return home after their course of study), then game the system to work through the cheap-labor loopholes, such as the Optional Practical Training program? Or did they switch visa categories? Did they pull strings through their well-connected Democratic employers?
The communications official in Rep. Castro's office, which employed Imran's brother, Jamal, responded that she would "touch base with some colleagues" and keep me posted. No word since. The others didn't bother to answer at all, nor did they respond when I followed up last week.
As for defiant Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who only fired Awan after his arrest two weeks ago, it's apparently un-American to question how foreign criminal suspects got to America and stayed here. Schultz last week cited "racial and ethnic profiling concerns that I had" to deflect from her eyebrow-raising handling of the matter, which now involves smashed hard drives seized from Awan's home by the FBI.
The good news is that Sen. Charles Grassley on Tuesday asked DHS for all immigration summaries and detainers for Imran Awan, wife Hina Alvi, brothers Jamal and Abid Awan, and friends/associates Natalia Sova and Rao Abbas. But it shouldn't take a Senate demand letter to penetrate the Dems' partisan protectionism. We paid the salaries of their suspect foreign IT minions. They answer to us.