August 10, 2007

"Tribe" sells membership to illegals

Tribe's offer of citizenship spurs warningAn agent of a group calling itself the Kaweah Indian Nation was contacting churches in Nebraska towns, selling tribal membership rights to illegal immigrants.

For an enrollment fee of several hundred dollars, the agent said, the new members would be able to travel freely in the United States as part of the tribe.

They would purportedly be protected against deportation and eventually could attain U.S. citizenship.
"Tribal leaders" explain:Leaders of the Kaweah defended the offer to The World-Herald, saying that the tribe's descendants extend into parts of Latin America and that American Indians predate the border that separates the United States from Mexico. Thus, by birthright, the leaders say, many immigrants can enroll as Indians.

Malcolm Webber, also known as Grand Chief Thunderbird IV, said, however, that tribal leaders were investigating reports that an agent might have been charging more than the standard enrollment fee of $100 per family. Webber, who was reached in Wichita, Kan., said: "There's always a bad egg in the basket."
Why the "Grand Chief" is wrong:The federal government does not recognize the Kaweah Indian Nation or its right to sovereignty, Scheurich said. Its application to be recognized as a federal tribe was denied in the 1980s, she said.

Even if the Kaweah tribe were federally recognized, adoption of adult immigrants without tribal blood ties would not be a route to citizenship, said Marilu Cabrera, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

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