The “Gang of Eight” and Immigration Reform: “Bordering on a National Security Nightmare”
By: Michael Cutler
Accuracy in Media
This is a Special Report from AIM’s Center for Investigative Journalism
In the wake of the recent elections, immigration has risen to the top of the list of newsworthy stories—in part pushed to that position of significance by statements made by key members of Congress and the President that “Pathways to Citizenship” must be provided to what they claim is a population of 11 million illegal aliens.
Some politicians, particularly those from the Republican Party, are being stampeded to act irrationally in a move to appeal to a segment of the American electorate, “Latino Voters.” We will address this foolhardy notion shortly.
While the Democratic Party has been most often seen as the party that was eager to enable and encourage millions of aliens, including illegal aliens, to enter the United States, the reality is that both Democrats and Republicans see significant gains to be achieved by opening America’s borders to aliens from around the world, irrespective of how they enter the United States.
What both parties have ignored is that America’s immigration laws were originally enacted to protect innocent lives and protect the jobs of American and lawful immigrant workers.
A Singular Issue
Immigration is not a single issue but is, rather, a singular issue that affects nearly every threat and challenge confronting America and Americans. The impact is arguably greatest where the issue of national security is concerned.
Prior to World War II, the responsibility to secure America’s borders and enforce and administer immigration laws was the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Labor. Back then it was understood that the key to growing America’s middle class and, in so doing, increase the standard of living for great numbers of American citizens, was to prevent American workers from being subjected to unfair competition from large numbers of foreign workers.
This is how the “American Dream” was born.
The responsibility of enforcing and administering immigration laws was transferred to the Department of Justice during the World War II out of a concern for the potential for saboteurs, spies and subversives to seek, in one way or another, to enter the United States. The concern was that they would try to attack America and its ability to turn out all sorts of war-related goods ranging from guns, aircraft, tanks, ships and other such essential machinery of war.
The primary mission for the five branches of the United States military is to keep America’s enemies as far from her shores as possible. In a manner of speaking, this is tantamount to declaring that their mission is to secure America’s borders externally while the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is charged with securing America’s borders from within the United States.
When the DHS fails in its mission it undermines the efforts and sacrifices of America’s military men and women to carry out their missions. Yet all too often, this is ignored by the media and our nation’s leaders.
The Gang of Eight
During the past several weeks the White House has put together a “working group” of four Democrat and four Republican senators. These eight senators have come out in favor of enacting legislation that would grant lawful status and a pathway to citizenship for the officially estimated population of 11 million illegal aliens. In reality, it is likely that should such a legislative catastrophe be foisted on the United States, it would result in the legalization of more than 30 million aliens, many of whose true identities (even their countries of citizenship), their backgrounds and their intentions would be unknown and unknowable.
These senators are:
- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
- Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC
- Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
- Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY
- Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ
- Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
- Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
They are referred to as the “Gang of Eight.” Since Democrats expect newly naturalized citizens to support their interests and vote for their candidates, it is not surprising that they would seek to enact “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” that would provide an estimated population of 11 million illegal aliens with lawful status and a pathway to United States citizenship.
These politicians are often unwilling to distinguish lawful immigrants from illegal aliens. They are not really pro-immigrant but pro-illegal alien!
To provide clarity, the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar.
Legal Vs. Illegal
Those who claim that there is no lawful way for immigrants to legally enter the United States ignore the fact that every year the United States admits more than 1.1 million lawful immigrants. This is a greater number than all of the immigrants admitted into every other country on our planet. These immigrants are provided with Alien Registration Cards that comply with the alien registration requirement of the INA that began with the Alien Registration Act of 1940. These lawful immigrants are immediately placed on the pathway to United States citizenship. The United States also admits more than 150 million non-immigrant visitors every year.
Meanwhile, the Republicans know that many of their deep-pocketed contributors are eager to witness massive numbers of foreign nationals (aliens) entering the United States. Banks are eager to move the earnings of foreign workers from the United States to their home countries, while corporations know that the entry of millions of foreign workers—both legal and illegal, drives down wages. Labor needs to be thought of as a commodity. If the demand for a commodity remains relatively constant but the supply of that commodity increases significantly, the value of that commodity will drop precipitously.
There is, indeed, much money to be made by exploiting foreign workers.
Here is a link to an article I wrote that appears in spring 2012 edition of “The Social Contract” that is entitled: “Immigration: The Modern Day Gold Rush.”
During Ronald Reagan’s second term as President, in 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was enacted. This legislation provided for the legalization of an estimated one-and-a-half million illegal aliens. However, by the time the dust settled, it turned out that between three-and-a-half and four million illegal aliens had been granted lawful status.
In order to make this “one time” amnesty program palatable to those who opposed an amnesty for illegal aliens, IRCA also contained provisions that, for the first time, would penalize employers who intentionally hired illegal aliens with fines and even criminal prosecution. While it may have sounded like a good idea, these “Employer Sanctions” provisions of IRCA were largely unenforced because, at the time, there were only about 2,000 special agents employed by the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service). They were stretched far too thin, and only a relative handful of agents were ever able to conduct employer-sanctions investigations.
Today ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the agency that was created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has about 7,000 special agents. But unlike the INS, ICE enforces a far broader spectrum of law including customs laws. Many of the managers of ICE came from Legacy Customs. These bosses have little experience in enforcing immigration laws and, all too often, even less interest in the immigration laws. Even when managers at ICE are willing and motivated to enforce the immigration laws, they find that they lack the resources and, even more importantly, the backing of the administration to enforce the immigration laws.
America has 50 “Border States”
Earlier I mentioned the way that both America’s military services and DHS are charged with securing America’s borders. It is vital that the true nature of our borders be understood.
Many politicians have come to refer to California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas as being “America’s four border states.” Incredibly, the Gang of Eight have decided that none other than Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of DHS, should be given the authority to decide when America’s borders are secure so that the unknown millions of illegal aliens present in the United States can be processed for lawful status and a pathway to United States citizenship. Does anyone expect her to say that she has not done a good job of securing America’s borders? Is this the only issue that should be considered?
On February 4, 2013 I was interviewed by Eric Bolling who was, at the time, sitting in for Neil Cavuto on Neil’s show, “Your World With Neil Cavuto.” They titled my interview: “Sec. Napolitano a good person to judge border security?” I pointed out that America actually has “Fifty border states.”
Any state that has an international airport, or a seaport, or lies along the northern as well as the southern borders of the United States must be thought of as being border states!
The “Gang of Eight” Can’t See Straight
Furthermore, it is impossible to understand how the Gang of Eight has utterly ignored the fact that there is virtually no integrity to the process by which aliens are granted lawful status and U.S. citizenship under the current circumstances. Aliens who are applying to participate in the “DREAM Act” program cobbled together by the President without the consent of Congress are not being interviewed in person.
Meanwhile no one is discussing the findings of the 9/11 Commission (to which I provided testimony).
It is beyond comprehension that the current administration, the Gang of Eight and others are utterly ignoring the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report that provided an in-depth analysis of how the terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 were able to enter the United States in the first place and then manage to game the immigration benefits program, which enabled them to embed themselves in our country. Members of the 9/11 Commission staff also prepared a monograph on Terrorist Travel which focused on these issues as well.
Here is a link to the Staff Report (monograph) on Terrorist Travel in its entirety: 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel.
Here are two important excerpts from that report, beginning with the first paragraph from the preface:
“It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.”
Here is a paragraph under the title “Immigration Benefits” found on page 98:
“Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.”
On December 18, 2012, The Washington Times published a news report that focused on a DHS Inspector General report that incompetence and ineptitude at USCIS was so rampant that criminal aliens have been able to remain in the United States, obtain jobs in sensitive locations and participate in various social welfare programs. It said that “some 800,000 immigrants are living in the U.S. who already have been ordered deported but have not yet left—or been removed by the government—from the country.”
On May 11, 2006 I testified on the nexus between an aspect of immigration and terrorism. This hearing was conducted before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on International Relations on the topic: Visa Overstays: Can We Bar the Terrorist Door?
On May 10, 2010, I was interviewed by Daniel Gonzalez, a reporter with the Arizona Republic for a news report titled, “U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas.”
On September 10, 2012 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my commentary:
“Problems still abound in student visa program.”
Among the problems in the student visa program reported on by the GAO was the fact that there was a lack of oversight over the estimated 850,000 foreign students admitted into the United States to attend approximately 10,000 schools authorized to apply for visas for foreign students. Additionally, the report noted that some 38% of all flight schools in the United States have yet to register with the FAA and that one school was found to be owned and operated by illegal aliens and that some of their students were also aliens illegally present in the United States.
The immigration laws of the United States are utterly and completely blind as to the race, religion or ethnicity of people and only makes one distinction—between citizens and non-citizens (aliens). In fact, while the advocates for open borders whom I have come to refer to as “Immigration Anarchists” assail anyone who would dare use the term “alien,” it must be understood that this term is a legal term that does not insult or denigrate anyone. The term “Alien” is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as simply being “Any person, not a citizen or national of the United States.” There is no insult in that term—only something that those who oppose border security cannot tolerate—clarity.
No sensible homeowner would open his door to a stranger without looking through the peephole on his front door. The inspectors of CBP (Customs and Border Protection) serve the United States by keeping their eyes to the peephole on America’s front door whether they are on duty at John F. Kennedy International Airport, as I did for the first four years of my 30 year career with the INS, or if they are assigned to Los Angeles International Airport or to any of the other ports of entry to be found from coast to coast.
Aliens who evade the inspections process in order to surreptitiously enter the United States pose a serious a threat to the United States as do those who would break into our homes or trespass into buildings or facilities to which they are not entitled to enter.
Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182 enumerates the various categories of aliens who are to be excluded from the United States. A review of those categories makes the intention and importance of our immigration laws, our borders and the inspections process crystal clear. Among the classes of aliens who are supposed to be excluded from the United States are those who suffer from dangerous communicable diseases, and aliens who suffer extreme mental illness and are prone to violence or are sex offenders (rapists and pedophiles). Additional categories of excludible aliens include convicted felons, drug traffickers, human traffickers, money launderers, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists and spies. Finally, aliens who would seek to work illegally or become public charges are also to be kept out of the United States.
Today the situation in Mexico concerning Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) threatens the stability of the country that shares our southern border. During the administration of Felipe Calderon, the previous president of Mexico, it is estimated that more than 60,000 people lost their lives to the extreme violence of the Mexican cartels. Innocent victims who were in the “wrong place at the wrong time” were killed along with rival cartel members. Members of the Mexican military and members of the Mexican police agencies were slaughtered. High-ranking government officials and journalists all fell to the bullets and violence of the cartels.
This violence is most certainly crossing our border. While often claiming that our borders have never been more secure, Napolitano has on numerous occasions conceded that hundreds of American cities have become infested by members of the Mexican drug cartels. Other transnational gangs have set up shop in still more U.S. towns and cities.
Of equal concern is the fact that Iran has established a growing presence in the Western Hemisphere and has established regular airline flights from Tehran, Iran to Caracas, Venezuela with Iranian Qodz (shock troops) arriving in Venezuela virtually every week. On November 15, 2013 a report was issued by the Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management that was entitled: A Line In the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border.
This report paints a clear and disturbing picture of how drug trafficking organizations working cooperatively with terrorist organizations in Latin America pose a clear and present danger to the security of the United States and its citizens.
The title of the report makes it clear that our borders represent little more than “speed bumps” to the Mexican drug cartels and it is Obama’s home city of Chicago that provides ample evidence that the tentacles of the pernicious and violent Mexican-based drug cartels reach across the U.S. / Mexican border into the heartland of the United States.
On February 15, 2013 The Christian Science Monitor published an eye-opening news report entitled, “Who is ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, Public Enemy Number One?: Chicago has resurrected its ‘Public Enemy No. 1’ designation, not used since it was created for Al Capone, to label Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Luera.”
Pandering for Votes by Profiling Voters
Finally, let us consider what politicians are told they must do to attract the “Latino vote.”
It is amazing that when the issue of profiling is raised that so many politicians and “journalists” are quick to go to “battle stations” and assail anyone in law enforcement that uses any form of profiling.
However, these journalists are themselves engaging in an insidious form of profiling, predicting how a person will vote simply based on that person’s ethnicity, when they talk about the “Black Vote” or the “Jewish Vote,” or when they pontificate about how the way to attract Latino voters is to support “Comprehensive Immigration Reform!”
Additionally, members of America’s minority communities are suffering the highest unemployment rates, including members of the Latino community. Yet we are told that these folks who are unable to find decent jobs would eagerly vote for politicians who promise to dump millions or perhaps tens of millions of newly authorized foreign workers into the U.S. labor pool.
Often immigrants and members of ethnic communities have approached me to talk about the impact that the failures of our government to secure our nation’s borders and enforce and administer our immigration laws effectively has on America and Americans. They tell me that they share my frustration at these failures. They clearly understand that they are most at risk of the violence committed by transnational criminals and most likely to lose their jobs to foreign workers. They resent the idea of illegal aliens being granted lawful status when they or their family members went through the legal process.
I believe that those who voted for President Obama likely voted for him in spite of his position on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” and not because of it. These voters certainly do not want more competition for jobs they desperately want and need and they certainly do not want to have more people lining up for expensive programs that will mean that they will get a thinner slice of the entitlement pie. They more likely voted for Mr. Obama because he represents bigger government and even more expensive entitlement programs.
Every one of our elected political leaders has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and to protect and defend this nation and its citizens. Given the multitude of challenges America and Americans currently face, our nation’s borders and immigration laws have never been of greater importance.
During the summer of 2007, I wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Washington Times concerning that legislative nightmare entitled: Immigration bill a “No go.”
I was gratified and, in fact, greatly honored that Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, quoted from my Op-Ed (with attribution) on three separate days from the floor of the United States Senate during the contentious floor debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
In my commentary I made a point that was repeated by Senator Sessions when he quoted my article. I stated that if our government was to provide millions of illegal and “undocumented” aliens with lawful status and official identity documents even though there was no way to be certain as to the true identity of the aliens who would receive those official identity documents, then the legislation that made this lunacy possible should be given a far more honest and accurate name. I suggested that it henceforth be referred to as the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act!”
This is no less true today than it was in 2007.
Michael W. Cutler was a Senior Special Agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.