It's Child's Play to Fake It

For years, U.S. consulates have warned of foreigners exploiting L-1 visas. Foreigners applying for entry use addresses with "chained doors, vacated premises, [and] residential buildings cleverly disguised as business offices," said a 1995 cable from the Guangzhou (China) consulate obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington. The two officers who wrote the dispatch said they found fraud in 80% to 90% of applications.

In 1996, L-1s became a vivid security concern when former Democratic Party contributor Johnny Chung was accused of helping to snag one for Lt. Colonel Liu Chaoying, daughter of a top commander in China's People's Liberation Army. She contributed $100,000 to the Democratic Party and got her L-1 after Chung helped set up a U.S. unit of Chinese firm Marswell Investing, which Liu controlled.

By 1999, a State Dept. official was telling Congress that doughnut shop owners and hairdressers from Israel to Morocco were using L-1s to get family members and unqualified workers into the U.S.

A recent case of abuse: A Chinese businessman Qing Chang Jiang, 51, was arrested in San Francisco in January on charges of selling banned missile technology to China. Working in the U.S. on an L-1 visa since 1995, Jiang is president and sole U.S. employee of EHI Group USA/Araj Electronics. U.S. officials allege he illegally shipped microwave amplifiers used in intercontinental ballistic missiles to a Chinese company. On Jan. 31, Judge Patricia V. Trumbull of the U.S. District Court in Northern California ordered Jiang held without bail.

Now the State Dept., as part of the war on terrorism, is planning to interview as many U.S. visa applicants as possible in their home countries, including L-1s.

By Brian Grow in Orlando

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