Bill: Only Someone Who 'Counterfeits, Alters or Falsely Makes 3 or More Passports' Has Committed Crime

By Penny Starr | June 24, 2013 | 1:19 PM EDT

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) (AP)

( – Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) informed FBI Director Robert Mueller at a Senate Judiciary hearing on June 19 that the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill does not make it a crime to produce or traffic U.S. passports unless three or more fake passports are made or sold.

“I would share with Senator Grassley deep concern that this immigration bill would say for passports -- which you [Mueller] should be aware of and need to be on top of – only those who produce, issue or distribute three or more passports have committed a crime,” Sessions said.

Under the bill only those who forge, alter, and possess three or more passports will have committed a crime, and not only those who use any official material to make 10 or more passports will have committed a crime,” Sessions said.

On page 1,557 of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, under Section 3707, “Reform of Passport, Visa and Immigration Fraud Offenses,” the text states:

“Any person who, during any period of 3 years or less, knowingly and without lawful authority produces, issues, or transfers 3 or more passports; forges, counterfeits, alters or falsely makes 3 or more passports; secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more passports, knowing the passports to be forged, counterfeited, altered, falsely made, stolen, procured by fraud, or produced or issued without lawful authority; or completes, mails, prepares, presents, signs or submits 3 or more applications for a United States passport, knowing the applications to contain any materially false statement or representation shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years or both.”

On page 1,558, section (c) Passport Materials, the bill states:

“Any person who knowingly and without lawful authority produces, buys, sells, possesses, or uses any official material (or counterfeit of any official material) used to make 10 or more passports, including any distinctive paper, seal, hologram, image, text, symbol, stamp, engraving, or plate, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.’’

Sessions asked Mueller to check on that portion of the bill.

“So I hope you would look at that,” Sessions said. “We would like the FBI’s advice if this makes it more difficult to produce integrity in the passport processing business.”

“Would you look at that?” Sessions said.

“Yes, will do,” Mueller responded.

A procedural vote is expected late Monday to wind down debate on what could be the final compromise on the Senate bill.

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