This past February 8th, HS Today.US published a commentary I wrote about the immigration crisis that confronts our nation and how it was or was not being addressed by the candidates seeking the GOP nomination during the Presidential debates. When I wrote the article, most of the original candidates were still in the running and the field had yet to narrow down to where it is today. I have attached a copy of my article below.
Of course one of the problems with the debates and with statements that candidates for political office on all levels is that there is no way of holding these folks accountable for what they promise- and not just where immigration is concerned!
Nevertheless, it is important that the candidates cannot completely dodge the immigration bullet- they at least have to respond to some of the questions being posed by journalists and citizens that they encounter on the “campaign trail.”
This is why it is absolutely essential that the citizens of this nation arm themselves with as much information as possible about all of the critically important issues so that they know what questions must be asked and are hopefully able to see through the responses they get for those who seek elected office.
Immigration is one of the most serious issues that confronts our nation and impacts so many areas of great concern. It is astounding that, for the most part, immigration is treated as a separate issue when, in reality, it is a major factor in so many of the issues that threaten the lives and well being of our citizens. The publication in which my article appears is focused on homeland security issues.
In light of this I think it would be helpful to consider how the preface of the 9/11 Commission Staff Report Monographs on 9/11 and Terrorist Travel begins:
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
gave the Commission the mandate to study, evaluate, and report on
“immigration, nonimmigrant visas and border security” as these
areas relate to the events of 9/11. This staff report represents 14
months of such research. It is based on thousands of pages of
documents we reviewed from the State Department, the Immigration and
Naturalization Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the
Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, approximately
25 briefings on various border security topics, and more than 200
That report also contained another paragraph, on page 15, that you should consider:
September 11 Travel Operation
success of the September 11 plot depended on the ability of the
hijackers to obtain visas and pass an immigration and customs
inspection in order to enter the United States. It also depended on
their ability to remain here undetected while they worked out the
operational details of the attack. If they had failed on either
count—entering and becoming embedded—the plot could not have been
Finally, page 98 contained yet another important paragraph:
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.
It is beyond comprehension that so many of these issues have not truly been addressed even as our expectations of privacy and freedom are whittled away by our government citing concerns about “national security!”
We owe it to ourselves and our children and their children to take our responsibilities as citizens seriously. This means that we must learn all we can and do whatever we can to make our elected representatives accountable! Every citizen of this nation should make this his (her) objective!
Show me a politician who refuses to enforce the immigration laws or attempts to trivialize these laws, and I will show you a politician who needs to find out what it is like to stand on the unemployment line!
Benjamin Franklin, in discussing our then fledgeling nation. said that they had given us a republic if we could keep it!
What he was making clear was that this democratic republic required that its citizens take their citizenship seriously and keep the political leaders accountable.
It is time for the citizens of our nation to make certain that our nation’s leaders, on all levels, to come to terms with the fundamental fact that the purpose of our immigration laws is to protect our nation and our citizens from aliens whose presence has the potential to have a serious adverse impact. Ignoring those laws exposes our nation and our citizens to a variety of serious threats and challenges ranging from national security and criminal justice and public safety to the economy, the environment, healthcare and education!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
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.
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!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
For far too long our citizens demonstrated apathy which 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.
It is therefore understandable that the politicians of both parties, are greatly concerned about the demonstrations currently sweeping our nation just as did the creation of the Tea Party. Clearly more and more of our fellow Americans are demonstrating that they are not as dumb as the politicians from both parties had expected us to be!
I am encouraged that more and more of us, We the People, are not willing to simply sit on the sidelines anymore!
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 or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
I also believe that the original purpose of our nation’s immigration laws need to be be brought “front and center” to make certain that our nation does not permit the entry of aliens into our country whose presence in our country is problematic for the citizens of our nation and that if such aliens do succeed in entering our country that our nation have the resources, integrity and dedication to do everything possible to make it impossible for such aliens to function within our country so that even if they are not apprehended, they will find it pointless to remain in the United States.
As I have noted on a number of occasions, “No one would break into the amusement park if they could not get to go on the rides and no one remains in the amusement park at the end of the day when they turn shut down the rides and turn off the lights!”
If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce 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!
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Customs & Immigration
Frontlines: Dodging the Immigration Bullet
By: Michael W. Cutler
The Republican presidential debates have been ongoing for some time and at times they’ve been reminiscent of the 70’s television program, “The Gong Show!”
Under such circumstances it is hard to glean any real information about where the candidates really stand on the issues, and often the debates are as hobbled by the journalists as they are by the candidates themselves.
Immigration is generally treated as a single issue when, in reality, it is a singular issue profoundly affecting virtually every challenge and threat confronting our nation today. Often, discussions about immigration turn to the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico. While our porous borders certainly need to be made secure, the borders are not the only place where aliens can enter our country; any state that has a seaport or international airport is also a border state.
The so-called legal entry process that is supposed to screen out aliens whose presence in the United States would pose a threat to the safety and well being of our nation and our citizens lacks integrity, as does the system by which aliens are accorded lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship.
Our nation’s myriad failures to secure its borders and effectively enforce its immigration laws provide ample opportunities for a wide variety of people to make lots of money. Obviously, alien smugglers amass significant money from their clientele. Often they leverage this money by coercing the aliens to carry narcotics into the United States in backpacks or even by swallowing condoms containing narcotics. However, there are many others who also profit from this flow of humanity across our nation’s borders. In that human tsunami, immigration lawyers see clients. Employers see cheap and exploitable labor. Advocacy organizations expect significant contributions from many diverse sources and also garner political clout as their enrollment numbers swell. Unions acquire more dues and more clout as they enroll illegal aliens.
Everyone involved profits, except for the American workers who are displaced and those who fall victim to the crimes that aliens involved in criminal activities commit. Even those Americans and lawful immigrants who don’t lose their jobs or their lives to illegal aliens wind up having to subsidize the healthcare and education systems that are, in many communities, bursting at the seams because of the influx of massive numbers of illegal aliens.
Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has neglected to point out that illegal aliens are committing a felony. That felony carries a maximum of two years in prison for aliens who had no criminal convictions and a maximum of 20 years in prison for those aliens who had felony convictions. What is even more significant is not the issue of whether or not running our nation’s borders constitutes a felony but whether an alien who surreptitiously enters our country might pose a threat to national security. The answer to this question is a clear and unequivocal, “Yes!”
The term “illegal” means an action that is contrary to law. Aliens who run our borders create no record of their entry and evade the inspections process that is supposed to prevent the entry of aliens who are, under Title 8, United States Code, Section 212, excludible. Among those categories are aliens who have dangerous communicable diseases, aliens who suffer mental illness and are prone to violence, aliens who are convicted felons, and aliens engaged in human trafficking, drug smuggling, money laundering, prostitution and other crimes. Additionally, aliens who have committed war crimes or human rights violations and aliens involved in terrorism or espionage are similarly barred from entering the United States. Yet the secretary of homeland security blithely ignored the purpose for our immigration laws in the first place!
Recently, women in their 80s and older have been strip-searched when they sought to board airliners, according to media reports. Yet on the days that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may well have gone above and beyond the call of duty in searching these elderly women, unknown thousands of illegal aliens surreptitiously entered our country carrying backpacks with unknown contents.
There are fewer than 7,000 special agents assigned to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with many of them assigned to conducting investigations concerning violations of customs laws. Meanwhile TSA has about 60,000 employees.
In this perilous era, DHS must do at least as thorough a job scrutinizing aliens seeking to enter our country as it does screening the elderly who seek to board airliners!
Michael W. Cutler is a retired senior special agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service whose 30-year career included four years as an immigration inspector and 26 years as a special agent.
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