Arrest numbers signal 9 percent jump in illegal immigration in 2012
In fiscal year 2005 the Border Patrol made 1,1717,396 arrests along the southwest border; it made 1,071,972 arrests in 2006; 858,638 arrests in 2007; 705,005 arrests in 2008; 540,865 in 2009; 447,731 in 2010; and 327,577 in 2011.
A Government Accountability Office report earlier this month detailed some of the Border Patrol’s internal calculations about how many illegal crossers it misses, and the report said about 40 percent of would-be illegal immigrants get away. That rate has held consistent over time.
But Glenn Spencer, head of American Border Patrol, a private citizens group that tracks border crossings, said according to their own estimates, the Border Patrol only catches about 30 percent of illegal crossers.
If true, that would mean more than 800,000 illegal immigrants crossed without being apprehended last year.
Security a hurdle for Obama
Here is an excerpt from this news report:
“The good news is that — for the first time in many years — Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together,” Mr. Obama said, blessing the broad outlines of the senators’ deal and saying the borders are secure enough to begin granting illegal immigrants citizenship.
But the latest numbers suggest that illegal crossings from the Mexican border once again may be on the rise after falling for six years. The U.S. Border Patrol made 356,873 arrests on the border in fiscal year 2012, up 9 percent from 2011.
December 21, 2011, when I appeared on Neil Cavuto’s television program to discuss immigration and the impact on jobs, Neil made the assertion that because Border Patrol arrest statistics had dropped that it meant that there were fewer illegal aliens in the United States. He suggested that this was happening because purportedly the Mexican economy was doing better and the American economy was doing worse.
So now, notwithstanding all sorts of efforts to “cook the books” and provide misleading arrest statistics to bolster arguments that the borders are now secure and the immigration problem has been solved, the number of arrests are rising because the number of illegal aliens flooding across our borders are surging.
Furthermore, no one in Washington is talking about the fact that there are at least 5 million illegal aliens present in the United States who, although they were admitted into the United States via the inspections process, went on to violate the terms of their admission rendering them deportable as well.
CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?
Here is the link to the transcript of that hearing in its entirety:
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Cutler.
STATEMENT OF MR. MICHAEL W. CUTLER, FORMER SENIOR SPECIAL AGENT, IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE
Mr. CUTLER. Thank you, sir.
Chairman Rohrabacher, Ranking Member Delahunt, Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to testify before this Subcommittee on an issue that I believe is of great significance to the security of our Nation, especially as we attempt to secure our country against criminals and terrorists.
Much attention has been paid to the porous borders of the United States, through which large numbers of aliens succeed in entering our country illegally. However, the issue of aliens who enter our country through ports of entry, having been inspected and who subsequently overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their admission is an issue that is often neglected, if not totally overlooked. That is why this hearing is of special significance.
In order for terrorists to attack our Nation from within our borders, they must first, obviously, manage to enter the United States. Whether it is by running our borders, stowing away on a vessel, or entering the United States through a port of entry, terrorists have many ways of gaining entry into the United States; and the issue of visa violators is a critical concern and represents a major vulnerability.
It is worth noting that the terrorists who attacked our Nation on September 11, 2001 all entered our country through ports of entry.
I have often made the point, and you repeated it today, sir, that any State that possesses an international airport or a seaport is in fact a border State.
It is currently estimated that more than 40 percent of the illegal alien population currently present in the United States did not run our Nation’s borders but entered our country through a port of entry, and then in one way or another violated the terms of their admission in the United States, either by overstaying the authorized period for which they were admitted, accepting unauthorized employment, or becoming involved in criminal activities and subsequently were found guilty of committing crimes within the United States.
While the hearing is focused on visa overstays, we also need to consider the visa waiver program that enables aliens from 26 countries plus Canada to apply for admission to the United States without first obtaining a visa for the United States.
At present, most American citizens are required to remove their shoes so that these items can be searched before passengers are permitted to board an airliner. This procedure is followed because Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber, concealed a bomb in his shoes. Mr. Reid, however, was a citizen of Great Britain and therefore was eligible to seek entry into the United States without first applying for and receiving a visa.
So while citizens of our Nation fall under greater scrutiny to enhance security on airplanes, aliens may still seek admission into the United States without first securing a visa.
The visa requirement for aliens seeking to enter the United States provides three potential benefits to our law enforcement authorities:
First of all, the process of securing a visa requiring an interview helps to screen out those aliens who should not be permitted to enter the United States for a variety of reasons.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Cutler, if I could interrupt just you for a minute.
Mr. CUTLER. Sure.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Are you recommending that visitors from every nation secure a visa before being allowed into the United States?
Mr. CUTLER. If I had my druthers, yes, sir.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Okay.
Mr. CUTLER. Second, the application that an alien files in pursuing a visa can provide useful information, should that alien ultimately become the target or potential target of an investigation for a wide variety of crimes and, of course, terrorism.
And, finally, if an alien lies on the application for a visa and commits visa fraud, it can often be easier to prosecute an alien for visa fraud than for his involvement in terrorism or other criminal activities.
Significantly, it is also worth noting that the penalties for visa fraud, when committed in furtherance of drug trafficking, increases the penalties for such fraud, when that nexus can be established, to a maximum of 20 years of incarceration and 25 years when it is done in conjunction with terrorism. However, when an alien enters the United States under the auspices of the visa waiver program, none of those provisions of laws and none of those potential investigative or law enforcement tools can be applied.
The President of the United States and other political leaders have often said that we should focus law enforcement’s resources and attention on those who would do us harm and not waste the extremely limited resources of ICE to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States on those aliens who simply come to the United States to seek employment. It would indeed make sense to do this if it was such a simple proposition. However, someone once said that an effective spy is someone who would not attract the attention of a waitress at a greasy spoon diner. The same could be said of an effective terrorist, and in fact it may well be that waitress or waiter of such an establishment who might indeed be the spy or terrorist.
To cite an example, in the mid-1980s, as a special agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), I was assigned to conduct an investigation of a diner at Staten Island in New York. We had received information that a number of illegal aliens were working at that restaurant who had come from a variety of countries. We ultimately arrested a number of the employees. Most of whom worked in the kitchen of that diner. One of those employees, a dishwasher, was a citizen of Egypt who, when he realized what we were doing, ran out the back door of the restaurant. It took quite a bit of a chase to bring him in for a landing, but we did ultimately arrest him.
We brought him back to his apartment; and, with his cooperation, we searched the apartment to retrieve his passport, which was standard procedure because we needed the passport in order to remove an illegal alien. When we were in the apartment, my partner and I were at a loss to understand why we found many shopping bags from various department stores filled to the brim with various coupons for laundry detergent, diapers, dog food, cereal, and so forth. He had no valid explanation. He claimed the kids in the neighborhood played with it.
We locked him up in the immigration detention facility. He was ultimately deported. And a couple of months later, to my consternation, I found out while watching a television news report that Yassar Arafat had been sending his minions to the United States to commit coupon fraud and other mail fraud schemes in order to fund terrorism back in the Middle East. The guy that we arrested who was a dishwasher was obviously a terrorist.
There have been published accounts in newspapers of terrorist suspects who have worked at a wide variety of seemingly menial jobs in the United States, including one guy who drove an ice cream truck and others who had driven taxicabs, while others have worked in used car lots or even taught school.
I can tell you from personal experience, having spent several years—or many years, actually—conducting surveillance in conjunction with drug and criminal investigations, that when a bad guy gets into his car and drives to another location and meets with someone else, that a meeting is taking place, and we can then follow the other guy to see who he is and where he is going. But imagine a terror suspect who drives an ice cream truck. Think how many people approach that truck on a warm day. How would you know if one of those people or perhaps even a child approaching that truck might not slip a dollar bill or a $5 bill to the driver of the truck and put a memory chip from a computer that we could all buy easily enough into that money and thereby exchange information, instructions, and so forth, and then receive a similar chip when they get their change?
Imagine the clandestine meetings that could be held by a cab driver who is involved with terrorism when he picks up what would appear to be a fare to any surveillance team. They could be exchanging all sorts of stuff in the back of that cab, and surveillance wouldn’t be able to determine it.
The problem also is that taxicabs and ice cream trucks are ubiquitous. They are a part of the urban landscape. They would be very easy to use to either conceal a weapon or used to conduct surveillance of a sensitive location.
The Administration talks about targeting sensitive locations such as airports, nuclear power plants, and military bases to look for illegal aliens. Certainly these locations should come under intense scrutiny because of their obvious potential as targets for terrorists. But by focusing on these locations we are in effect providing a playbook to our adversaries.
The message is clear: If you want to imbed yourself in our country and not arouse the attention of law enforcement, especially ICE, do not get a job in a nuclear power plant but sell hot dogs outside that power plant and nobody will bother you or even pay attention to you.
It is critical that the enforcement of the immigration laws possesses at least a modicum of unpredictability to create a situation where terrorists and other criminals never know if they may be arrested for violating our immigration laws.
Additionally, the arrest of aliens for immigration law violations often helps in the cultivation of informants. However, in order for this to work, we need many more special agents assigned to ICE to conduct these field investigations; and we need adequate detention space to make certain that, once arrested, illegal aliens are actually removed from the United States. It will be necessary for ICE to hire many more special agents to make this work, and they need to be provided with resources and training. But especially as we wage a war against terrorism and drugs and violent gangs, to not do this represents a false economy.
Consider that New York is the safest big city in the United States, that has more than 8 million residents who are confined to the relatively small space that makes up the city of New York, but it is policed by roughly 37,000 police officers.
It has been estimated that there are about twice as many illegal aliens present in the United States as residents living in the City of New York, and these illegal aliens are scattered throughout our nation. Yet there are fewer than 3,000 special agents of ICE who are dedicated to enforcing the immigration laws for the entire country, and none of these agents today, by the way, is even getting Spanish language training. You simply cannot investigate people you are unable to communicate with, even though, before ICE was disbanded, the Spanish language was a requirement of the curriculum for the new agents.
Mr. DELAHUNT. What would your estimate be—in a perfect world, how many additional ICE agents would you estimate are necessary?
Mr. CUTLER. I would say 30,000. But I am not alone in that, because I have seen where analysts would say the same thing, and that would still put the odds at half of what they are for a criminal getting arrested in New York. But that would only work if you had the jail space and the training and a coherent policy.
You know, since the merger of ICE with Customs—or, rather, Immigration with Customs to create ICE, most of the managers came from legacy Customs who have no background or inclination to enforce the immigration laws.
Mr. DELAHUNT. So your recommendation would be a factor of 15 over the existing—or a factor of 10, rather, over the existing number?
Mr. CUTLER. Or more. Yeah. And I think it is critical because, as I have said, you can’t simply—look, we are playing a game of hide and seek, as I say at the end of this. And the problem with this game of hide and seek is that the bad guys are hiding and we are not seeking.
And, by the way, I just want to make one point before we move on while I am still doing my opening statement. You were talking about Mr. Atta. Well, interestingly, in March 2002, I was requested to testify as to how Atta and al-Shehhi, two of the terrorists of 9/11, could have been given letters of approval to change schools exactly 6 months after 9/11. By then, the whole world knew two things about them: one, they were terrorists; two, they were dead. But that didn’t stop Immigration.
The problem is that if we have an agency that is incompetent—and, believe me, the old INS was and the current ICE remains, I believe—I am sorry to tell you—we have got a problem.
I had recommended the implementation of a biometrics system when I did my first congressional hearing back in 1997. A lady by the name of Mary Ryan, who was in charge of consular affairs, the issuance of visas, was there with me testifying, and if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be here now, sir. She was furious that I said we need to hold on to those nonimmigrant visa applications so we can use them for investigative leads and as a prosecutorial tool.
It is amazing that 15 of those applications were recovered; three were destroyed. But this goes back to my point. Those applications are critical. And she was the one who implemented Visa Express. So we need consular officers who have language training and have the other tools that they need to get the job done.
I look forward to your questions, sir.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mike RosenNovember 15, 2012 512.633.4550McCaul Subcommittee Report Connects Dots Between Iran, Hezbollah and Mexican Drug CartelsUnderscores Terrorist Threat to the Southwest BorderWASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Security Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, today released the report “A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border“, an assessment of the threat from drug cartels and terrorist organizations.While the original Line in the Sand report in 2006 focused primarily on Mexican drug cartel activity, this report connects the dots between Iran and Hezbollah’s growing presence in Latin America, and their recently documented nexus with Mexican drug cartels. The Subcommittee believes this underscores a threat that is not fully on the radar of this administration.The Subcommittee believes the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Latin America represents a strategic migration to position terrorist operations within striking distance of the United States. If Iran is provoked, the report asserts Hezbollah finance cells in Latin America will have the ability to turn operational.The report cites the central criticism of the 9/11 Commission was our failure to connect thedots and to use our imagination when assessing the threat landscape. This report is an attempt to be pro-active and not reactive.NOTE: The report is the subject of an Oversight & Investigations hearing tomorrow.Friday, Nov. 16, 9:00am, 311 CannonLive Web Stream (Internet Explorer preferred)
# # #
Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10)
Chairman, Homeland Security Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee
This article was itself predicated on a report issued by the Center for Immigration Studies that sounded the alarm about how a significant number of naturalized citizens have been charged and convicted of crimes that involve serious breaches of the national security of the United States including terrorism, espionage and theft of sensitive information and technology.
The report noted that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that the INS and now DHS, cannot strip a naturalized citizen of his (her) citizenship even when there were lies concerning material facts in the application for naturalization. Under the ruling a person could only be stripped of citizenship pursuant to a successful criminal trial or through a civil lawsuit filed in federal court.