Who let Lee Malvo loose?
10/25/2002 12:00:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
The mainstream media informed us this week that Lee Malvo, the
reportedly 17-year-old youth charged as a material witness in the sniper
investigation along with his stepfather John Mohammed, is a "Jamaican
national." As of this writing (Oct. 24), the Immigration and Naturalization
Service refused to comment publicly on the exact nature of Malvo's
Here are the facts the INS doesn't want you to know: Lee Malvo
is an illegal alien
from Jamaica who jumped ship in
Miami in June 2001. He was apprehended by the Border Patrol in Bellingham,
Wash., in December 2001, but was then let go by the INS district in Seattle
in clear violation of federal law and contrary to what the arresting Border
Patrol officers intended, according to my law enforcement sources.
According to INS records I obtained, Malvo was arrested by
Border Patrol agents in Bellingham, Wash., on Dec. 19, 2001. Local police
called the Border Patrol during an incident involving "some sort of custody
dispute" between Malvo's mother, Uma Sceon James, and stepfather, John
Mohammed (the ex-Army soldier with black radical Muslim ties now at the
center of the sniper investigation). James admitted that six months earlier,
"she and her son were passengers on a cargo ship that was filled with
'illegal asians (sic).' They were all off loaded in the Miami, FL area where
she immediately located work at the Red Lobster in Ft. Myers, FL."
From there, Malvo and James traveled to Tacoma, Wash., and ended
up in Bellingham. At the time of their arrest, INS records indicate, neither
Malvo nor his mother had any documents proving their identities or allowing
them "to be or remain in the United States legally." The Border Patrol
agents concluded that because she had "no roots or close family ties in the
United States, James was likely to abscond." The arresting officer noted
that the mother-and-son illegal aliens, Malvo and James, would be "detained
at the Seattle Detention facility in Seattle, Washington pending deportation
That's not what happened. About a month after their arrest,
Malvo and his mother were set free by the Seattle district INS -- contrary
to what the arresting Border Patrol officers had determined should be done.
And in clear violation of federal law regarding the removal of illegal alien
stowaways. According to the Detention and Deportation Officers' Field
"Occasionally, you may encounter an alien who claims to be a
stowaway, but cannot or will not provide information concerning the name of
the vessel of arrival. Prior to April 1, 1997, such aliens could be handled
in the same way as any other EWI (entered without inspection) case and
placed into removal proceedings. The (Illegal Immigration Reform and
Immigrant Responsibility Act), however, directs that stowaways, regardless
of when encountered, are to be removed without a hearing . . . citing
section 235(a)(2) of the Act as the authority for the action."
The law is explicit: Illegal alien stowaways are to be detained
and deported without hearings. James admitted that she and her son were
illegal alien stowaways. Yet, in January 2002, James was released on a
$1,500 bond; Malvo was set loose without any bond on his own recognizance.
Here is my theory: Somebody at the Seattle INS office leaned on the
arresting Border Patrol officers to disregard Malvo and his mother's
"stowaway" status -- allowing them to run free and allowing the INS to avoid
the costs associated with detention and deportation.
So, who let Lee Malvo loose? The Seattle INS office referred my
call to the Washington, D.C., headquarters. The national headquarters
referred calls to the Montgomery County sniper task force. Standard INS
operating procedure: Pass the buck and run for cover.
"This makes me sick to my stomach," says Daryl Schermerhorn,
vice president of the Northwest regional chapter of the National Border
Patrol Council, which represents Border Patrol agents in Washington State.
"The INS is not concerned with enforcing immigration law," he told me this
week. "It's more concerned with freeing up jails and saving a few bucks than
it is with protecting Americans and removing people who don't belong here."
As I document in my book, "Invasion," these countless "catch and
release" cases have demoralized rank-and-file INS agents and cost scores of
American lives -- from cops gunned down by fugitive deportees to victims of
illegal border-crossing murderers, and now, quite possibly, to the innocents
slaughtered in the Washington, D.C.-area sniping spree.
Eugene Davis, a retired deputy chief Border Patrol agent in
Blaine, Wash., told me: "This is another classic example of how our catch
and release policy for illegal aliens remains a danger to us all. What's it
going to take for the American people to demand that we fix the system?"