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Ady Pacheco testifies before Senate Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 June 2017 00:00

Ady Pacheco, the veteran Immigration Officer who was named in the Won Hong Kim passport scandal, had a tough day on the witness stand before the Senate Select Committee. She’s one of the public officers whose name keeps showing up in the Auditor General’s Reports on Immigration from 2011 to 2013.

She has all kinds of explaining to do, and on Wednesday, June 21, she began pointing fingers at other people. When she was working at the Services Section of the Immigration Department, she claimed that she accepted visa applications as one of the front desk personnel, which then went to the officer in charge of that section. From there, the applications were sent to the investigation unit, which inspected the contents of the file, and it was sent back to the officer in charge (OIC). The OIC then sent it to the Director for inspection, and if it passed her scrutiny, then it was sent back to the OIC, who then passed it back to the accepting desk for approval and issuance.

As soon as the Senators understood how the process worked, they immediately started to question her about several visa applicants who got their visas approved, and within days, weeks, or months, they were given permanent residency, long before they were approved. Chinese National Tianzhi Wang had his/her visa application accepted by Ady Pacheco. His/her visa was issued on November 9, 2011, the same day as his/her permanent residency. Another Chinese National, Yongbo Ye had his/her visa application accepted by Ady Pacheco, and it was approved on December 19, 2011. 9 days later, he was granted permanent residency. Lin You, a third Chinese national, had his/her application accepted by Ady Pacheco; the visa was approved on January 9, 2012. About 2 months later, this person got permanent residency. There are 2 others out of 15 cases that the Pacheco accepted the visa application, only to have the permanent residency application approved unlawfully, and well before the required time of 1 year. Her explanation, like other immigration officers before her was that this was in a time when the different sections, Services, Nationality, and Passport, were not actively sharing information. If that was happening, such glaring irregularities would not have happened.

When asked about the fact that 3 of these persons were being sponsored by the same businessman, Wen Bin Chen, who most likely dropped off the applications, Pacheco said that the frequency with which he was visiting the department would not have necessarily been a red flag. She also claimed that she accepted visa applications from persons who came to the front desk, as well as applications that the officer in charge, George Reynolds, gave her. She claims that persons would drop off visa applications to the OIC, who would then pass them to her. She offered no proof, but suggested that politically connected persons were the ones who handed them over. She also couldn’t say with certainty that these persons were visiting OIC Reynolds to drop off these applications. She also suggested that Ministers dropped off applications, and that it was only done with the approval of the officer in charge.

From there, the Senators started questioning her about the Won Hong Kim case, and the fact that she accepted an incomplete nationality file, knowing that she shouldn’t have. She claims that she did so with the permission of the Officer in Charge of the Nationality Section, Gordon Wade. She said that he instructed her to accept the file, the then Immigration Minister, Elvin Penner, which she did because she felt intimidated. Pacheco told the Senate that there is supposedly some unwritten understanding that if a public officer “dared” to refuse to comply with a Minister’s request, they would be punished with some sort of transfer. She claimed, without proof, that Ministers, their drivers, or their secretaries, dropped nationality application files to be processed. She inexplicably flip-flopped on whether she knew that it was a requirement that applicants needed to drop off their Nationality files themselves. It was not until she was cornered under cross-examination, that she admitted to knowing that she should not have been accepting nationality applications from anyone but the applicant who had to show up in person.

Trying to absolve herself, she was somewhat blindsided with the case of the Mexican-American fugitive, David Nanes-Schnitzer, an application that she was involved in processing. Former Immigration Director Maria Marin investigated the origin of that fraudulent nationality file, which Pacheco was involved in processing. Marin’s investigation alleged glaring acts of negligence and lack of oversight from Pacheco in the way she handled the fugitive’s faulty nationality application. She insisted in the Senate that she had very minimal contact with that application, and she denied being complicit in the fraud committed upon the Immigration Department’s checks and balances. In the end, the Senate Committee agreed that she was ambushed by those allegations, and she was not given adequate information to prepare her defense.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:33
 


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