This attached news report [click here] appeared in Monday's edition of the Washington Times and addresses the threats posed by terrorists and the Mexican Drug cartels operating inside the United States.
Clearly it is extremely important for our nation to secure its borders to help prevent the entry of terrorists, drug traffickers and other transnational criminals. This goal remains as elusive today as it was during the previous administration and even earlier than that.
However, the securing of our nation's borders especially the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico is only one component of what needs to be a system that addresses all aspects of these extremely dangerous challenges that confront our nation- endangering national security and the lives of our citizens.
Yet there is nothing in statement made by Northcom's new commanding officer, Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., even takes Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into account! He talks about working cooperatively with the government of Mexico, a government that has openly demanded that the United States legalize their millions of citizens in our country who entered our country by running our nation's borders and who send home, to Mexico, more than 20 billion dollars a year in remittances (money sent via electronic means) and even more money being moved in other ways.
Yet the use of the legal authority vested in Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the creative ways that this authority could and must be harnessed to secure our nation did not even show up as a footnote in Admiral Winnefeld's remarks!
This is staggering and absolutely takes my breath away!
As you most likely know, I have appeared on numerous radio and television programs since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I have sought to make my position on these issues as clear as I could. My opinions are not based on some wild ideas I formulated overnight but rather represent my many years working for the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), having begun my career with the INS in 1971 as an Immigration Inspector assigned to John F. Kennedy International Airport. In 1975 I became a Criminal Investigator (Special agent) and rotated through all of the various squads of the Investigations Branch of the New York District Office of the INS. I was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) New York Field Office as the first INS special agent to be assigned to that organization, from 1988 until 1991 when I was promoted to the position of INS Senior Special Agent and assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) in New York.
I have testified before some 14 Congressional hearings and provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission.
I know that many of you are probably familiar with my background but I believe that it is essential to make note of my background because the issues were are dealing with today threaten the survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens and these threats keep me awake at night.
All too often the citizens of our nation are treated like mushrooms by the politicians and the news media (they attempt to keep us in the dark and feed us lots of manure!)
The constant reference to the need to secure our nation's border as though this was the only issue to be addressed is, in my view, an effort to keep the discussion from addressing all of the vulnerabilities that threaten our nation and our citizens.
When I appeared on a number of radio and television programs to discuss SBINet (Secure Border Initiative Network) also known as the “Virtual Fence” I said, with perhaps some understandable sarcasm, “The Virtual Fence will stop virtually no one!”
Unfortunately I was apparently correct. Just a few weeks ago SBINet was declared a failure. An expensive failure that caused the government to squander more than one billion dollars and, perhaps even worse, squander years of invaluable time. How many criminals and terrorists entered our country while the federal government screwed around with the “virtual failure” in securing our nation's bleeding borders?
I have often made the point that the construction of an effective fence on our border should be considered an important component of a successful immigration system- but only one component of many. I would compare the construction of a fence as a part of a coherent immigration strategy the way that a wing is an important component of an airplane. The wing by itself is not an airplane. The airplane that is missing a wing, however, will not fly! In addition to securing our nation's borders, the entire immigration system needs to possess real integrity and the key to that lies in the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. Something that this administration- just like the administrations that preceded it were unwilling to do. We will look at the issue of the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior shortly but first I have to make a couple of points about the issue of securing our nation's borders- a goal the President now believes in unachievable!
This is the same president who when he sought the presidency, joined God knows how many illegal aliens in the all too familiar chant, “Si se puede!” (“Yes I can!”) now makes it seem as though the border really cannot be secured! The country that in the last century racked up success after success cannot even secure its own borders!
I guess he forgot that this country that used to be known by the two word exclamation “Can do!” Has now become the nation that can't do! He seems to have forgotten that it took the United States to build the Panama Canal when other countries gave up. He seems to have forgotten that when the United States was attacked on December 7, 1941 it took our nation, working in close coordination with its allies to defeat the Nazis in just 44 months. In order to achieve that incredible goal our nation built fleets of airplanes that had never existed previously. Our nation rebuilt its nearly destroyed navy, building a wide variety of ocean going vessels that had never existed before. Our nation built tanks, bazookas, radar and a long list of other technological marvels back then and even two atomic weapons with brand new and unproven technology- all in under 44 months!
Our nation sent men to the moon and returned them safely to the earth not once but several times, 40 years ago with what would be considered today to be extremely primitive technology.
Our nation built the first reusable spacecraft that was the envy of the world- the space shuttle- that is soon to be retired and, under President Obama's “leadership” will be replaced by absolutely NOTHING!
So much for “Si se puede!”
Just a few days ago, President Obama quoted from Emma Lazarus' poem, “The New Colossus” and talked about how immigrants have helped to build our nation. He mentioned a list of such important immigrants including Andrew Carnegie and Albert Einstein, to name just two, but of course failed to note that both men were lawfully admitted into the United States. The use of the term “immigrant” to describe illegal aliens makes it a simple matter to do this sort of Orwellian deception. This is why the open borders advocates become apoplectic when the term “illegal alien” is used. The term alien is not a pejorative but it is actually a legal term that is very specific and accurate and makes such Newspeak deception impossible. For the record, as I have noted on ever so many occasions, the term alien, as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act, the body of laws that govern the entry and presence of aliens in our country, defines an alien as simply being- any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.
I defy you to tell me wherein lies the insult in that definition!
The point is that the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar!
Obama also noted that the backlog of applications for immigration benefits had been dealt with and so it is now time for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Here is the issue here; the backlog of applications has been reduced by providing all sorts of incentives to the adjudicators at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to process as many applications for all sorts of immigration benefits including the conferring of lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship as quickly as possible. As all of us know, there is an inverse relationship between speed and accuracy. The faster you do a job, the less attention you can pay to the details.
It is also important to know that if an adjudications officer seeks to deny an application for an immigration benefit, he (she) must fill out a lengthy report and justify the denial while an application that is approved just requires the adjudicator to stamp the application with an approval stamp and move onto the next application! If your goal is to simply clear the backlog there is a clear incentive to approve every application that is handed to an adjudicator whose evaluations, awards and bonuses depend on meeting or exceeding productivity goals!
This threatens national security.
This is not an unwarranted concern. There have been a long list of reports issued by the GAO (Government Accountability Office) and various Inspectors Generals that have pegged the fraud rate in some aspects of the immigration benefits program as high as 90%!
A study of the tactics used by terrorists have shown that immigration benefit fraud and visa fraud are often used by terrorists in order to enter the United States and/or embed themselves in our country. Of 94 terrorists who were identified as operating in our country in the decade before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 59 of those terrorists used immigration fraud to either enter the United States and/or embed themselves in our country (hide in plain sight).
Fraud was also a huge problem with the massive immigration amnesty program of 1986. In fact it was through fraud in that fatally flawed program that some of the terrorists who carried out the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 were able to embed themselves in the United States before that attacks was carried out.
Yet the administration is still utterly ignoring immigration fraud!
Consider a recent report issued by the GAO in December 2008 entitled: “IMMIGRATION BENEFITS: Actions Needed to Address Vulnerabilities in Process for Granting Permanent Residency”. (You can review that report at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d0955.pdf.) Let me reiterate some of the major elements of what an effective interior enforcement program for immigration law enforcement should look like.
I want you to remember that as an INS special agent I was called upon to participate in every form of investigative effort I have enumerated below and my colleagues and I scored some really huge successes in combatting not just illegal immigration- a worthwhile goal, in and of itself, but we contributed significantly to combatting terrorism, narcotics trafficking and crimes involving transnational gangs and criminal organizations.
In order to do this, I have attached a segment from an earlier commentary about the need for an effective interior enforcement program for immigration law enforcement:
Special agents need to conduct investigations of fraud that fall under two basic categories, fraud schemes and fraud documents.
Fraud schemes can also be divided into two broad categories, visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud.
Fraud can be thought of as a lie committed in writing in an application to provide a person with a benefit that the person in question would not be entitled to if all of the relevant information was known to the person (adjudications officer or other official) at the time that the application for that benefit was being processed.
For the purposes of immigration, such applications might involve an application for a visa that would permit an alien to seek entry into the United States either temporarily on a nonimmigrant visa, such as a tourist visa, student visa or business visa, to name just a few of the visas that are available, or on an immigrant visa that provides the alien with a green card and thus accords that alien lawful immigrant status.
An example of a fraud scheme is the United States citizen or lawful permanent resident alien who marries an alien to provide that alien with resident alien (immigrant status) for money or other benefit. In such marriages, the couple does not really live together as a true couple but get married as part of a n arranged ´business deal.¡ When an investigation discloses that this is the case in a particular ´marriage,¡ the citizen or immigrant spouse should be prosecuted for entering into a criminal conspiracy to violate our nation's immigration laws as should the alien spouse who sought to use this fraud scheme to acquire a green card. The alien who was seeking to acquire resident alien status through fraud should then be taken before an immigration judge to seek his (her) removal (deportation) from the United States.
There are other such fraud schemes that involve the concealment of material facts that enable aliens to enter our country and/or embed themselves in our country. Often terrorists are charged with visa fraud because it is often far easier to show that an alien succeeded in entering our country by committing fraud than it is to prove that an alien is a terrorist.
In the case of fraud documents, we can include identity theft, the alteration of legitimate identity documents and the creation of counterfeit identity or supporting documents such as Social Security cards, birth certificates and other such documents.
Today, there have been many reports about how easily aliens can and have gamed the immigration benefits program. Among them have been criminals and terrorists. The solution is not to ignore the problem but to develop the resources to conduct the necessary investigations and law enforcement activities that would bring real integrity to the program that provides millions of aliens with the keys to the kingdom in a truly perilous era.
The adjudicators at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) are rewarded for moving the applications that are stacked on their desks as they try to keep up with the ever increasing number of applications filed by ever more aliens who have become emboldened to file applications for a variety of immigration benefits including applications for residency and United States citizenship based on fraud. These bureaucrats must feel like Lucy and Ethel in that hilarious episode of “I Love Lucy” when Lucy and her friend got jobs at the candy factory and they attempt to wrap morsels of bonbons hurtling at them at ever increasing speed on a conveyor belt moving at warp speed.
The solution, in my judgment, is not to rush the process and compromise integrity, but to go after those who would commit fraud and convince those who would apply for applications that there is a serious price to be paid for attempting to defraud our government! This would, undoubtedly cause a sharp reduction in the number of new applications filed. This would cut waiting times for those who file legitimate applications and simultaneously making it easier for the adjudicators to screen out the fraud and create a bureaucracy that would have far greater integrity. ?
In this way everyone but the bad guys would win. This is called deterrence and must be applied to the immigration benefits program that has such serious national security implications! This can only be achieved by hiring a large number of special agents for ICE and providing them with the training and the resources to create an immigration bureaucracy that has real integrity.
Conducting investigations of factories, restaurants, hotels, farms and other places where people are employed to make certain that illegal aliens are not being gainfully employed. When an illegal alien is employed, both the employer and the illegal alien employee are violating the laws. Both need to be punished. Illegal aliens who are employed should be taken into custody and made to appear before an immigration judge for a removal (deportation) hearing. The unscrupulous employer who can be proven to have knowingly hired illegal aliens should be fined and face other legal sanctions should that employer continue to engage in the practice of hiring illegal aliens.
By making it clear that illega
l aliens would not have an easy time of securing illegal employment in the United States, more Americans would be able to find jobs, wages earned by American citizens and lawful immigrants would be far more likely to be spent and invested in the United States (this is especially significant at a time when our government is claiming to be seeking to stimulate the American economy) and would reduce the number of illegal aliens streaming across our nation's borders making it easier to gain control over our nation's borders, especially the perilous southern border.
Alien Smuggling / Human Trafficking Investigations:
When aliens are smuggled into the United States, the goal is generally not to simply set foot in the United States near the border but rather to enable the illegal alien to make his (her) way to the city they desire to go to after running our nation's borders or otherwise entering the United States by circumventing the inspections process. In addition to the obvious ploy of running our nation's borders, some smuggled aliens stow away on ships or aircraft. Therefore it is important to seek to identify so-called “safe houses” where smuggled illegal aliens may be held until family members or other can provide the funds to the smugglers. It is also important to seek to identify the transporters who, working in cahoots with a smuggler, may use various vehicles to enable illegal aliens to travel across our country.
It is important to note that smugglers who assist illegal aliens in surreptitiously entering the United States, they also often engage in smuggling narcotics across our nation's borders and often use illegal aliens as ´beasts of burden¡ to carry a load of narcotics on their person. That is why such illegal aliens are referred to as “mules.”
Sometimes the aliens are made to carry narcotics in their person by swallowing narcotics stuffed into condoms that are then retrieved at a “safe house” within the United States. A number of years ago I assisted the DEA in New York in executing a search warrant in Staten Island where such an operation was being run out of an apartment in an apartment building in which people, mostly citizens of Nigeria, entered the United States at John F. Kennedy International Airport with such condoms in their stomachs. They were met at the airport by a member of the drug organization who drove them to an the apartment where they were given massive doses of a laxative and then one of the workers would use a strainer to retrieve the drug-laden condoms from the toilet. It was only after that all of the condoms had passed through their bodies that these aliens were allowed to leave the apartment to hide in plain sight among the many other illegal aliens who have taken up illegal residency in our country.
In some instances, the condoms would burst before they got off the airplane, often causing the “swallower” to perish because of a massive overdose.
Criminal Alien / Fugitive Investigations:
The agents who are assigned to this unit are responsible for locating aliens who have been convicted of crimes in the United States and have been sentenced to prison sentences. Some of these aliens may have been lawfully admitted to the United States as lawful immigrants (resident aliens) or they may have entered our country illegally. Regardless of how these aliens entered our country, by virtue of their criminal convictions, these aliens are now subject to removal from the United States.
Additionally, the agents in this squad also seek to arrest illegal aliens who had been deported (removed) from the United States and then, in one way or another, managed to reenter the United States without authorization. A criminal alien (aggravated felon in the parlance of the Immigration and Nationality Act) is subject to a maximum of 20 years of incarceration for the crime of reentry after deportation.
I am particularly proud of the fact that in the early 1980's I had approached then United States Senator Al D'Amato of New York and convinced him to work with the administration, back then, to have deportation hearings conducted in correctional facilities (rather than wait many years, in some instances, for a criminal alien to be released). I also convinced him to sponsor legislation to promulgate legislation that would differentiate between administrative law violators who were deported from the United States and criminal aliens who were deported from the United States after serving their criminal sentences.
Before that law was enacted, their was no distinction between criminal aliens and aliens who had no felony convictions. Any alien who had been deported and then illegally reentered the United States was facing a maximum of two years in jail. Under the new law, the penalty for criminal aliens (aggravated felons) was created.
Task Force Investigations:
There are a number of task forces that combine local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. The idea behind these task forces can be summed up by one word: synergy. This means that the total is greater than the sum of the parts.
I spent roughly ten years as a senior special agent of the INS assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force. For about 4 years I was the INS representative of the Unified Intelligence Division (UID) of the DEA in New York. As the INS representative to the UID, some 20 years ago, I decided to compile arrest statistics to see how much of an involvement aliens had in narcotics-related crimes. Back then, some 60% of the defendants who had been arrested by DEA in New York City were identified as being “foreign born” while some 30% of those defendants, nationwide were identified as being “foreign born.”
The idea that foreign nationals are heavily involved in narcotics trafficking is not a new problem. It is just a huge component of the problem that our nation's “leaders” have refused to address!
In both assignments, it became readily apparent that by working with other law enforcement agencies against drug trafficking organizations that all sorts of benefits to the effectiveness of these efforts could be greatly enhanced. Immigration was a major component of this operation, but we always suffered by an extreme lack of manpower and resources, especially where immigration was concerned.
There are other such task forces involving terrorism, gangs and other such serious threats to the safety of our people and the security of our nation.
As an INS (now ICE) special agent, information contained in immigration files offer tremendous insight into the risk of flight of criminals. This issue is of great importance when a criminal is arrested and is being arraigned. A federal magistrate or a judge is supposed to consider two primary issues in fixing bail: danger to the community and risk of flight.
The alien file often contains a veritable track record of past instances where a criminal alien may have used multiple identities, was deported and reentered the United States illegally on numerous occasions or failed to show up for immigration hearings.
The participation of an ICE agent in a criminal investigation may also enable other agencies and prosecutors to not unwittingly enter into a plea bargain deal in which an alien is able to plea bargain away a criminal charge that would result in his deportation from the United States.
ICE agents can also help to bring additional charges against a criminal aliens such as visa fraud, benefit fraud or other such charge. Additionally, there is a charge that calls for a 5 year jail sentence for an illegal alien found to be in possession of a firearm. Only an ICE agent can provide the necessary evidence that the defendant found to be in possession of that weapon is, indeed, an illegal alien.
ICE agents can be instrumental in “flipping” informants. There are provisions of law that can be used to provide an informant and his family, with lawful status in our country if they are instrumental in assisting law enforcement agents in major criminal investigations.
ICE agents can also arrest members of criminal organizations on immigration violations without ever tipping their hand that they are part of a task force that has targeted other members of a terrorist or criminal organization.
Theses benefits also can help those cities whose leaders are not so screwed up that they declare their cities to be “sanctuary cities.”
When a community has a large illegal aliens population, all sorts of businesses spring up in support of that large illegal alien population. These businesses include mail drops services, money-wire services (remitters), telephone arcades and disposable cellphone businesses, document vendors and others that are helpful to illegal aliens and absolutely essential for criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists.
If our nation is to gain the upper hand in the many threats that confront our nation and our citizens, it is absolutely essential that there be an adequate number of ICE agents and supporting resources to make the interior enforcement of the immigration laws the priority is desperately needs to be.
It is the politicization of the immigration laws that has gotten our nation into the mess it is in and it must end. As I noted when I participated in a debate this past week at Fox News' morning talk show, ´Fox and Friends¡ our nation has two addictions: Cheap labor provided by vulnerable and exploitable illegal aliens and narcotics. The desire for that compliant labor force that has eroded the wages of Americans and has caused them, ultimately to lose their jobs has also caused tens of billions of dollars in wages paid to illegal aliens and alien workers who have been admitted into the United States on “temporary” work visas to be wired or otherwise transmitted out of the United States and thus out of our nation's economy. Meanwhile, the “Fools on the Hill” (Congress) refused to make the E-Verify program a component of the economic stimulus package!
Our nation and our citizens are threatened by the prospect of terrorist attacks as well as by the criminal activities of international gangs and narcotics trafficking organizations including the extremely violent and pernicious drug cartels of Mexico and other countries. Clearly the only solution is to take on the cartels and win! There is no such thing as “second place” in the war on drugs or terror!
This means that a coordinated strategy that couples effective strategies on our nation's borders must be augmented by the effective enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.
Anything that ignores the vital interior enforcement mission is doomed to fail!
On March 10, 2005 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic:
“INTERIOR IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES”
Here is a link to this hearing:
By continuing to ignore the various components of the interior enforcement mission of ICE, any alien who can get past the Border Patrol or the inspector at a port of entry is all but home free. ICE recently acknowledged that they have fewer than 300 special agents seeking aliens who overstayed their authorized period of admission into the United States while it is believed that some 40% of the illegal aliens were admitted through the inspections process and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission.
Clearly the millions of people who have checked out the news reports that addressed the outrageous situation on the Mexican border understand that the government that is supposed to protect our citizens is betraying our citizens. There is absolutely no other way to express my rage at the failings of our government to do what should be expected of our “leaders” and that our leaders are additionally not telling the truth to the citizens of our nation.
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
November 2nd cannot come fast enough!
We the People, throughout this nation must seek opportunities to make it clear to our political “representatives” that we understand their game plan and won't tolerate it!.
I believe our nation's is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels and members of al-Qaeda!
If reading this makes it difficult for you to sleep now- perhaps you could do something worthwhile- perhaps you might spend a couple of your sleepless hours writing letters to your elected representatives this evening and remind them that Election Day is just months away!
We the People can add to the consternation of these politicians who are failing to live up to their oaths of office by contacting them and making it abundantly clear that election day is coming and they should think of election day as their personal “Day of Reckoning!”
Our government must live up to its obligation of protecting its own citizens and, indeed, all who are present in our country from the criminals and terrorists who would threaten our lives and the survival of our nation and our way of life. In the end, the government is actually those who are elected to act as our “leaders.” Those who fail to truly lead and look out for those they are supposed to represent, need to be sent packing this coming Election Day!
If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm's way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
Any politician who refuses to work to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity is either corrupt or too dumb to keep his (her) job. Any politician, irrespective of party affiliation who favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the outrageous betrayal that this would represent given the national security implications that this program would have, should be shown the door at the next election!
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
Later this year, each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Later this year more than one third of the members of the United States Senate will have to face their constituents. They need to be reminded that they work for us, We the People!
However, the practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.I implore you to get involved!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!