- Former head of the League of United Latin American Citizens
- Open Borders advocate
- Was convicted on ten counts of immigration fraud, resulting in a 57-month prison sentence
Jose Velez served as director
of the Nevada chapter of the League
of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in the late 1980s,
and as the organization's national
president from 1990-94.
In the late '80s and early '90s, Velez, who characterized
the U.S. Border Patrol as an entity that was, and would “always” be, “the enemy of my people,” operated
a private immigration-consulting service in Las Vegas which helped
illegal aliens prepare and file legalization (amnesty) applications with the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Between March 1988 and January 1991, Velez personally submitted
more than 6,000 of these applications to the INS. They were
designed to help
Velez's clients obtain Temporary Resident Cards, which in turn
enabled them to apply for Resident Alien Cards (commonly known as
prerequisite for permanent U.S. residency and, ultimately, American
Thousands of the applications submitted by Velez contained false
information claiming, most notably, that the applicants were eligible for amnesty consideration because they had: (a) performed the required amount of seasonal agricultural services in the United States, or (b) resided continuously in the U.S. since before January 1, 1982.
In 1995, an
INS Legalization Fraud Task Force investigated Velez and uncovered
massive evidence of his illegal activities. On May 8 of that year, a jury in
Las Vegas found him guilty
of 10 counts of immigration fraud.
Among Velez's transgressions:
purchased and filed (with the INS) a host of partially completed, fraudulent affidavits—signed
by a farm labor contractor—falsely indicating that the applicants whom Velez represented had fulfilled their requisite
- He trained and assisted other immigration consultants in likewise preparing and filing falsified
applications. For a fee
of $1,000 per case, Velez supplied these consultants with fake supporting
employment documents to corroborate the credentials of each unqualified client.
- He purchased
hundreds of otherwise blank envelopes bearing backdated postmarks
from various Mexican cities, to be addressed to applicants at U.S.
locations where they never actually lived, so as to create the
illusion of lengthy United States residency. Velez used some of these
envelopes for his own criminal purposes, and sold many others to
similarly unethical immigration consultants.
- In June 1989, LULAC filed 300
late amnesty applications—virtually
all of which were fraudulent—for
the clients of one immigration consultant in particular. Velez pocketed some $270,000 from this unlawful
In all of these
transactions, Velez demanded payment in cash for his services. He
commonly took in more than $10,000 per day, and in the 1990 calendar year he
grossed over $1 million in income.
A district court initially sentenced Velez to 75
months in prison for his crimes. The defendant subsequently appealed the punishment, claiming
that the court had applied the sentencing guidelines incorrectly. The case was remanded
for re-sentencing, and Velez’s prison term was reduced to 57