"Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Background Checks Require a Reality Check"

Hi Gang:
My commentary today is based on an article I wrote for CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) that was posted on their website on September 20, 2013.  It is attached below.
My commentary focused on the disconnect that has become a standard feature of the immigration debate- the fact that the President and others are speaking out about the way that background checks were done in the case of Aaron Alexis, the gunman to killed 12 innocent victims in the Navy Shipyard in Washington, DC this past Monday, September 16th who had previous runs in with law enforcement but blithely ignore the way that background checks are being conducted when applications for immigration benefits including the conferring of lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship.
On Thursday, September 19, 2013 the Huffington Post ran a Reuters news report:
 Here is an excerpt from that report:

Earlier this year, USIS became the focus of congressional scrutiny when it was disclosed that the company handled the background investigation of Snowden, accused of disclosing top secret materials taken from the National Security Agency facility where he worked.

“From Edward Snowden to Aaron Alexis, what’s emerging is a pattern of failure on the part of this company, and a failure of this entire system, that risks nothing less than our national security and the lives of Americans,” Senator Claire McCaskill said in a statement Thursday.

“What’s most frightening is that USIS performs a majority of background checks for our government. We clearly need a top-to-bottom overhaul of how we vet those who have access to our country’s secrets and to our secure facilities,” she said.

It is important to note that USIS is a private company that is often contracted by OPM to conduct background investigations into government employees who have security clearances.  USIS is not the same agency as USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the division of DHS that adjudicates applications for a wide variety of immigration benefits including the granting of lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship upon aliens and is currently also administering the administration’s DACA (Deferred Action- Childhood Arrivals) program which, to date, has granted employment authorization to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens without even conducting an in-person interview.
The so-called background checks that are being conducted at USCIS are far less intensive than the actual field investigations being conducted by USIS.  Generally speaking the background checks USCIS conducts of alien applicants for DACA are the same as would be conducted for Comprehensive Immigration Reform should that disaster be foisted on America and Americans.  The process simply requires that fingerprints of the applicant be run through a computerized database and the name provided by the applicant is checked against various databases of known criminals and terrorists.  An alien who uses a false name and whose fingerprints come back as a “no hit” would enable an alien to acquire a brand new identity document in any name he or she wrote down on their application.
This disconnect is extremely serious and impossible to understand, but it is not a new problem.
The 9/11 Commission provided some truly insightful observations, findings and recommendations in its report that have been not only not been addressed but in many instances, the situation has only gotten worse in the 12 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Page 68 of the report noted:

As early as December 1993, a team of al Qaeda operatives had begun casing

targets in Nairobi for future attacks. It was led by Ali Mohamed, a former

Egyptian army officer who had moved to the United States in the mid-1980s,

enlisted in the U.S.Army, and became an instructor at Fort Bragg. He had pro-

vided guidance and training to extremists at the Farouq mosque in Brooklyn,

including some who were subsequently convicted in the February 1993 attack

on the World Trade Center. The casing team also included a computer expert

whose write-ups were reviewed by al Qaeda leaders.

83

Think of how the administration reacted to the Fort Hood terror attack on November 5, 2009 by Major Nidal Hasan.  Five years before that attack, the 9/11 Commission Report noted how a former Egyptian army officer Ali Mohamed had been able to join the U.S. Army and became an instructor at Fort Bragg.  He had previously helped al-Qaeda to prepare for the bombing of the U.S. Embassy at Nairobi, Kenya as a part of the pre-attack surveillance team.  He was also reported by the report as having provided guidance and training to some of those terrorists who participated in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 which killed 6 innocent victims, injured more than a thousand people and nearly toppled one of the towers.  The damages were estimated to total approximately one half billion dollars.
For the proponents who are eager to provide lawful status for millions of illegal aliens, America’s borders and immigration laws are pesky speed bumps.  However, here is how the 9/11 Commission made note of just how important a role immigration law enforcement could be and should be brought to bear in the war against terrorism:

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), with its 9,000 Border

Patrol agents, 4,500 inspectors, and 2,000 immigration special agents, had per-

haps the greatest potential to develop an expanded role in counterterrorism.

However, the INS was focused on the formidable challenges posed by illegal

entry over the southwest border, criminal aliens, and a growing backlog in the

applications for naturalizing immigrants.The White House, the Justice Department,

and above all the Congress reinforced these concerns. In addition, when

Doris Meissner became INS Commissioner in 1993, she found an agency seri-

ously hampered by outdated technology and insufficient human resources. Bor-

der Patrol agents were still using manual typewriters; inspectors at ports of entry

were using a paper watchlist; the asylum and other benefits systems did not

effectively deter fraudulent applicants.

40

Commissioner Meissner responded in 1993 to the World Trade Center

bombing by providing seed money to the State Department’s Consular Affairs

Bureau to automate its terrorist watchlist, used by consular officers and border

inspectors. The INS assigned an individual in a new “lookout” unit to work

with the State Department in watchlisting suspected terrorists and with the

intelligence community and the FBI in determining how to deal with them

when they appeared at ports of entry. By 1998, 97 suspected terrorists had been

denied admission at U.S. ports of entry because of the watchlist.

41


Inspectors at the ports of entry were not asked to focus on terrorists. Inspec-

tors told us they were not even aware that when they checked the names of

incoming passengers against the automated watchlist, they were checking in

part for terrorists. In general, border inspectors also did not have the informa-

tion they needed to make fact-based determinations of admissibility.The INS

initiated but failed to bring to completion two efforts that would have pro-

vided inspectors with information relevant to counterterrorism—a proposed

system to track foreign student visa compliance and a program to establish a way

of tracking travelers’ entry to and exit from the United States.

45



In 1996, a new law enabled the INS to enter into agreements with state and

local law enforcement agencies through which the INS provided training and

the local agencies exercised immigration enforcement authority. Terrorist

watchlists were not available to them. Mayors in cities with large immigrant

populations sometimes imposed limits on city employee cooperation with fed-

eral immigration agents.A large population lives outside the legal framework.

Fraudulent documents could be easily obtained. Congress kept the number of

INS agents static in the face of the overwhelming problem.

46


While the 9/11 Commission was critical of the information provided to inspectors at ports of entry, the administration insists that aliens who evade the inspections process be granted official identity documents and pathways to United Staters citizenship.  Aliens who evade the inspections process are not screened so that even if the inspectors are provided with the best possible information, aliens who enter the United States without inspection circumvent the vital inspections process.

The 9/11 Commission was also very critical of “sanctuary cities” that refuse to take immigration factors into account in enforcing laws, the federal government never takes action against such cities and states, such as New York City which has a sanctuary policy in place.

Incredibly, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg, who is adamant about maintaining “Stop and Frisk” and has often demanded that those who trespass into public housing in New York be arrested and prosecuted because they pose a threat to the safety of the residents of those housing complexes, refuses to accept that it is no less dangerous when millions of aliens trespass on America.

On October 12, 2012 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my commentary

“New York’s Mayor Bloomberg Demands Trespassers be Prosecuted, But Ignores Dangers Posed by Immigration Law Violators”

On August 16, 2013 New York City’s local CBS News website posted a report on Bloomberg’s latest proclamation:

“Bloomberg’s Public Housing Fingerprinting Idea Stuns, Infuriates Residents”

Here is an important quote from the report:

Bloomberg said. “The people that live there, (in public housing) most of them, want more police protection. They want more people. If you have strangers walking in the halls of your apartment building, don’t you want somebody to stop and say, ‘Who are you, why are you here?’”

Bloomberg blithely ignores the fact that those who violate our borders and immigration laws are not unlike the trespassers in public housing, who have so attracted his ire. If he could come to that commonsense understanding, he would then understand just how perilous it is that there are millions of foreign nationals (aliens) who live in towns and cities, including New York, whose true identities, backgrounds and intentions for coming to America are unknown and unknowable. You have to wonder if he lacks “mouth/ear coordination” in that his ears seem to not hear what his own mouth is saying!

Ironically, the questions posed by Bloomberg, “Who are you, why are you here?” are essentially the very same questions that CBP Inspectors ask arriving foreign visitors- question that are never asked (or answered) by millions of illegal aliens who enter the United States by running our borders.

There are other questions that must be asked about Comprehensive Immigration Reform that are not being asked and consequently, not being answered. On July 3, 2013 the Washington Times published my Op-Ed:

“CUTLER: Tough questions about immigration ‘reform’ / Who will find the answers while there’s still time to prevent a disaster?”

Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts nearly every challenge and threat confronting the United States today!  Simply stated, the immigration laws were enacted to save lives and protect the jobs of American workers.

It is not “Anti-Immigrant” to be Pro-American!

Our armed forces are charged with securing America’s borders externally while the DHS is supposed to secure those same borders from within.  The failures of the DHS to live up to its half of the equation are undermining the efforts, valor and incredible sacrifices of Americas men and women who serve in our military!

If our government’s failures to protect American jobs by securing our nation’s borders and effectively enforcing our immigration laws 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!


-michael cutler- 

Please check out my website:

http://www.michaelcutler.net/

       

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Background Checks Require a Reality Check

By Michael W. Cutler

Senior Special Agent, INS (Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Californians for Population Stabilization

September 20, 2013  


In the wake of the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on September 16, 2013, that resulted in the death of 13 people, including the gunman, President Obama, as reported by ABC News on September 17, 2013, said:

The fact that we do not have a firm enough background-check system is something that makes us more vulnerable to these kinds of mass shootings.

The President called for more stringent background checks for those who purchase firearms but ignores the current lack of integrity to the background checks being conducted in conjunction with the immigration benefits program, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that compromises national security and community safety.

In point of fact, if our government ultimately enacted Comprehensive Immigration Reform, millions of participating illegal aliens would not even be subjected to in-person interviews. There would be no resources to do the most rudimentary field investigations to substantiate information contained in their applications.

On September 3, 2013, I joined Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, at a town hall meeting on illegal immigration. Talk show host Marc Bernier moderated the discussion.

When I raised concerns about the all-but-worthless “background checks” that are being touted by the administration, moderator Bernier was incredulous and asked Congressman Barletta, who is a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, about my concerns. Barletta substantiated my statements and noted former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano admitted to him that there would be no in-person interviews of the millions of aliens who would participate in Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Although you would never know it to listen to the President and advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, America’s borders and immigration laws exist for two primary purposes, to protect American lives and the livelihoods of American workers.

Aliens enter the United States covertly because they know that they belong to one or more categories of excludible aliens as delineated in Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182, including aliens who suffer dangerous communicable diseases or who suffer from extreme mental illness and are prone to violence or are sex offenders, aliens who have been previously deported, are convicted felons or are fugitives from justice. Additionally, aliens who are human rights violators, war criminals, spies and terrorists are also deemed excludible, as are aliens who would become public charges or work illegally, thereby displacing Americans in the workforce or causing wages or working conditions to be adversely impacted.

The true identities of these aliens, including their countries of citizenship, their actual dates of entry and their ultimate goals in entering the United States surreptitiously, are known only to them.

Illegal aliens who have never been fingerprinted in the United States and who lie about their identities, using readily available documents to substantiate their false identities, easily pass the background checks required by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Yet this gaping hole in the immigration system is being ignored.

The 9/11 Commission Report addressed the importance of the immigration inspections process conducted at ports of entry and made recommendations about providing vital information to inspectors to protect America and Americans and noted that immigration fraud enabled terrorists to hide in plain sight.

None of these enhancements to the inspections process matters when aliens evade the vital inspections process. The lack of integrity in the immigration benefits program is being ignored, and a massive amnesty program would only exacerbate this vulnerability.

It is no less important to keep criminals and terrorists out of the United States and off the streets of our towns and cities as it is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the insane.

It is not “Anti-Immigrant” to be Pro-American!

Michael's picture

By Michael W. Cutler

Senior Special Agent, INS (Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Californians for Population Stabilization

September 20, 2013

In the wake of the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on September 16, 2013, that resulted in the death of 13 people, including the gunman, President Obama, as reported by ABC News on September 17, 2013, said:

The fact that we do not have a firm enough background-check system is something that makes us more vulnerable to these kinds of mass shootings.

The President called for more stringent background checks for those who purchase firearms but ignores the current lack of integrity to the background checks being conducted in conjunction with the immigration benefits program, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that compromises national security and community safety.

In point of fact, if our government ultimately enacted Comprehensive Immigration Reform, millions of participating illegal aliens would not even be subjected to in-person interviews. There would be no resources to do the most rudimentary field investigations to substantiate information contained in their applications.

On September 3, 2013, I joined Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, at a town hall meeting on illegal immigration. Talk show host Marc Bernier moderated the discussion.

When I raised concerns about the all-but-worthless “background checks” that are being touted by the administration, moderator Bernier was incredulous and asked Congressman Barletta, who is a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, about my concerns. Barletta substantiated my statements and noted former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano admitted to him that there would be no in-person interviews of the millions of aliens who would participate in Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Although you would never know it to listen to the President and advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, America’s borders and immigration laws exist for two primary purposes, to protect American lives and the livelihoods of American workers.

Aliens enter the United States covertly because they know that they belong to one or more categories of excludible aliens as delineated in Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182, including aliens who suffer dangerous communicable diseases or who suffer from extreme mental illness and are prone to violence or are sex offenders, aliens who have been previously deported, are convicted felons or are fugitives from justice. Additionally, aliens who are human rights violators, war criminals, spies and terrorists are also deemed excludible, as are aliens who would become public charges or work illegally, thereby displacing Americans in the workforce or causing wages or working conditions to be adversely impacted.

The true identities of these aliens, including their countries of citizenship, their actual dates of entry and their ultimate goals in entering the United States surreptitiously, are known only to them.

Illegal aliens who have never been fingerprinted in the United States and who lie about their identities, using readily available documents to substantiate their false identities, easily pass the background checks required by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Yet this gaping hole in the immigration system is being ignored.

The 9/11 Commission Report addressed the importance of the immigration inspections process conducted at ports of entry and made recommendations about providing vital information to inspectors to protect America and Americans and noted that immigration fraud enabled terrorists to hide in plain sight.

None of these enhancements to the inspections process matters when aliens evade the vital inspections process. The lack of integrity in the immigration benefits program is being ignored, and a massive amnesty program would only exacerbate this vulnerability.

It is no less important to keep criminals and terrorists out of the United States and off the streets of our towns and cities as it is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the insane.

It is not “Anti-Immigrant” to be Pro-American!

– See more at: http://www.capsweb.org/blog/comprehensive-immigration-reform-background-checks-require-reality-check#sthash.RhBhBsqP.dpuf

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