- 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
Born in 1938, Jose Velez was the National President the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) from 1990 to 1994. He once stated that the U.S. Border Patrol is “the enemy of my people and always will be.”
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Velez operated a private immigration-consulting service in Las Vegas, Nevada which helped illegal aliens prepare and file legalization 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; thousands of them contained false information.
In 1995 an INS Legalization Fraud Task Force investigated Velez and uncovered significant evidence of his illegal activity. On May 8, 1995, a jury in Las Vegas found Velez guilty of 10 counts of immigration fraud. According to the Department of Justice:
“Velez was convicted of conspiring with others to file false legalization applications with the [INS] on behalf of thousands of unqualified alien applicants. He was also convicted of actually filing false legalization applications on behalf of nine unqualified aliens…. The legalization applicants false[ly] claimed that the aliens had performed certain required seasonal agricultural services in the United States or falsely claimed that the aliens had resided continuously and illegally in the United States since before January 1, 1982. The purpose of these applicants was to obtain … a Temporary Resident Card. The law would then permit the applicant to apply for a Resident Alien Card, commonly known as a ‘green card,’ which permits an alien to reside permanently in the United States and to later apply for United States citizenship. The applications were filed with the [INS] pursuant to a legalization program enacted by Congress, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which went into effect in 1986.”
Velez was sentenced to 75 months in prison. He subsequently appealed his sentence, claiming that the district court had incorrectly applied the Sentencing Guidelines. The case was remanded for re-sentencing, and Velez’s prison term was reduced to 57 months.