I have provided you with a news report that appeared on the Fox News website yesterday, Thursday, September 9th and deals with a new policy at ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) a division of the Department of Homeland Security that I have come to refer to as the “Department of Homeland Surrender.” [click here for report]
I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my thoughts about this “new” policy.
Clearly the federal government has been failing to secure our nation’s borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity for decades. This is precisely how the immigration that currently confronts our nation became so acute.
Now the administration is apparently planning to make it abundantly clear to everyone that there is no interest in securing our nation’s borders!
An alien who runs our nation’s borders is no less illegal if he is encountered away from the border as compared with an alien who is caught in the act of running our nation’s border!
This concept makes an absolute mockery of our immigration laws and our notion of sovereignty!
This message is being heard by folks across our vast planet. The message is simple- if you run our borders you can expect to not only be able to get away with it, our nation’s leaders want to reward you for it! The reward would be “Comprehensive Immigration Reform!”
Failing that, the current policy has come to be referred to as “Amnesty Light” by disgusted employees of the Department of Homeland Surrender!
I am sure you know I love resorting to analogies- so here is yet another one for you to consider:
Could you imagine if other laws concerning the crime of “breaking and entering” paralleled this concept?
Imagine calling the police because, God forbid, you return home and realize that your home had been broken into and you believed that burglar had made his way to your bedroom upstairs. The police operator asks, “Where is the emergency?”
You respond by saying that your home had been broken into and that you heard noise coming from your upstairs rooms.
If the police operator was operating under the proposed policy ICE is poised to adopt, the police operator would probably tell you to hang up and inform the intruder that he could have the guest room and that you would be happy to make him a midnight snack!
If you complained about the “logic” of these instructions, imagine the police operator telling you that they would have been happy to come and take the burglar off your hand if you had caught him in close proximity to the door or window he forced open but since he had made his way upstairs he was no longer considered to be illegally present in your house!
The administration is hammering away at Arizona for enacting its own immigration law (SB1070) but fails to admit that none of this would have happened if the federal government had simply lived up to its obligation of securing our nation’s borders and creating an immigration system that has meaningful integrity.
This in reality only another step along the path to immigration anarchy that our nation has been suffering from for decades.
Ever since I went to work for the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1971, I became painfully aware of the fundamental fact that the agency that was charged with securing our nations borders and enforcing and administering our nation’s immigration laws from within the interior of the United States was never really serious about effectively enforcing the immigration laws.
I began my career with the INS as an Immigration Inspector assigned to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The emphasis of most of my bosses was to keep the passenger lines moving. They often timed how long it took to inspect an arriving alien and admit him (her) or refer that alien to “secondary” where a more in depth interview could be conducted and baggage and, in some instances, the arriving alien might be thoroughly searched.
We were expected to either admit an alien or refer him to secondary in no more than one minute. If we sent too many aliens to secondary we would be chewed out by many of our bosses who told us to simply “limit” the questionable” alien to a shorter period of admission. Of course, as I often noted to my bosses, an alien who intended to seek unauthorized employment or otherwise violate the terms of his admission into our country only wanted to be admitted for five minutes- so that he could get to the other side of the doors that separated the arrivals area from the airline terminal so that he would have a running start!
Once in the United States the illegal aliens engaged in a game of “Hide & Seek!” The problem was, even back then, that there were far more aliens hiding than there were agents who were seeking! The odds were in the illegal aliens’ favor then and today, it is not even a contest!
As a new Inspector I was counseled by a couple of old time inspectors to never forget that I would probably never get in trouble for admitting someone- but that I would catch hell for not admitting most aliens!
When I became a Criminal Investigator (Special Agent) in 1975 I was surprised to see that most of the government vehicles we used were actually old Border Patrol cars- often sporting the same green and white paint scheme but with the markings and rack lights removed. Many of these cars were real “clunkers!”
The emphasis was on the border and so we often said that the INS was the “step child” of the Justice Department but that the Investigations Division of the INS was the abused child of the INS!
In the early 1980’s I approached Al D’Amato who was, at the time, the Senior Senator from the State of New York. I explained my concerns about the immigration crisis that was beginning to really hammer our country. He told me that if I would be able to provide him and his staff with corroboration from other agents he would work with us.
It was quite difficult but I was ultimately able to convince, cajole or otherwise get more than 30 of my colleagues in New York to meet with members of Senator D’Amaot’s staff.
We ultimately came up with three recommendations that were ultimately adopted.
I urged the Senator to work to change the immigration law that deals with the penalty for re-entry after deportation. Back then there was no distinction between aliens who had serious criminal convictions and aliens who had no such convictions. Any alien who was deported and then subsequently reentered the United States without first securing the permission of the United States government would face a maximum of two years in jail. My recommendation was that aliens who had no convictions should continue to face no more than two years of incarceration for unlawful reentry but that a clear distinction be made for aliens who had convictions for felonies and who returned illegally after having been deported. I recommended that such aliens face a maximum of 20 years in jail. That law was, in fact, enacted several years later. (Unbeknownst to us at the time, the then Chief of Investigations for the New York Office, Walter Connery, an attorney who had previously attained the position of Deputy Inspector with the New York City Police Department before he came to the INS, had sent a legislative initiative to Senator D’Amato just a couple of months after our meeting with the Senator. This certainly helped to “seal the deal!”)
Next we urged that deportation (removal hearings) be conducted in prisons so that aliens who were serving jail sentences could be ordered deported while they were serving often lengthy prison sentences following their conviction for committing felonies. This way they would have time to appeal their orders of deportation and the process could be completed before they were released from prison. On the day of release they could be driven to an airplane and immediately deported from the United States. Up until that time aliens would often sit in jail for many years and would not even see an Immigration Judge until after they completed serving their sentences. Then the INS either kept them in a detention facility which had limited resources or they were permitted to post bond or were even released on their own recognizance. This often provided these criminals with opportunities to abscond and, all too often, commit additional crimes.
Our proposed program of conducting deportation hearings in jails became the “Institutional Hearing Program.”
Finally I told the Senator that we needed to prioritize aliens with criminal histories over those aliens who, while illegally present in the United States had no convictions. As I explained it to Senator D’Amato, law enforcement needed to employ a “triage” concept- address the most serious problems first and most vigorously.
However, “prioritize” criminal aliens was never intended to ignore illegal aliens who had no convictions!
Additionally, the terrorist attacks of 1993 and 2001 should have been truly seen as “game changers!” The lessons that should have been learned is that often bad guys manage to embed themselves “hide in plain sight” by keeping a low profile while they go about their nefarious schemes. Additionally, not all criminal aliens have convictions.
The way I explain this is to say that not all race car drivers crash!
I can tell you that it was always an uphill battle to arrange for detention space to detain aliens who may have been arrested numerous times but who were never convicted!
This is an ongoing problem that has contributed greatly to the immigration crisis that is impacting nearly every serious challenge that confronts our nation today. Nearly a year ago I wrote a commentary about what Doris Meissner, the former commissioner of the INS had to say when she testified at a Congressional hearing more than ten years ago. You should also pay special attention to the statement heroically made by Jack Shaw at that same hearing. Jack Shaw was the Assistant Commissioner for Investigations and hence he worked for Meissner:
We should also consider the statement of Ms Doris Meissner, the former commissioner of the former INS. Consider this quote from Doris:
“You can’t ask the immigration system to do everything,” said Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a research center in Washington, and a former commissioner of the immigration service. “This is an example of how changes in law enforcement priorities and techniques since Sept. 11 actually got to where they should be.”
Doris Meissner, as the commissioner of the INS was unwilling to make the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States a priority of any dimension at all.
This can be made crystal clear when you consider the testimony provided by a gentleman by the name of Jack Shaw who, at the time of his appearance before the
House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims on March 4, 1999 was the Assistant Commissioner for Investigations. He was the person in charge of every INS special agent in the United States. The topic of the hearing at which he testified was:
“DESIGNATIONS OF TEMPORARY PROTECTED
STATUS AND FRAUD IN PRIOR AMNESTY PROGRAMS”
Here is an excerpt of Jack’s prepared testimony for that hearing:
”In reality, the INS still strikes little fear in illegal immigration here. . . . After leaving his home in Mexico in 1996, [the illegal immigrant], age 42, now a landscaper in Durham, was caught three times in a single month after crossing the Texas border with a smuggler. Yet when he made it to North Carolina on the fourth try, he was in the clear. . . . ‘In North Carolina, immigration authorities pose no problems,’ [according to the immigrant] . . . As Congress boosted the Washington-based agency’s budget 163 percent in six years, the enforcement priority has been clear. Each year through 2002, the INS is to deploy an additional 1,000 Border Patrol agents, for a total of 12,000. Yet almost half the illegal-entry problem has nothing to do with border enforcement. The INS’ own statistics show that four of every 10 undocumented immigrants enter the country legally—usually on short term tourist or work visas—and then stay.”
In its determined efforts to establish control of the border by tightening security on the perimeter, Congress has seemingly ignored the critical, complementary roles and responsibilities of Interior Enforcement . . . and these fall mainly on the shoulders of Investigations. I believe that the concept of Interior Enforcement, supported by a well articulated strategy document, ought to be as familiar in the nomenclature of immigration enforcement as the concept, or term, Border Control. Although, I must admit that even in-house at INS, the Commissioner has said that Interior Enforcement is a term of usage invented by Investigations and devoid of meaning.
Let me repeat and highlight that last sentence in which Jack Shaw quoted then INS Commissioner Doris Meissner:
“Although, I must admit that even in-house at INS, the Commissioner has said that Interior Enforcement is a term of usage invented by Investigations and devoid of meaning.”
The commissioner Jack Shaw referred to was Doris Meissner. That is what she thought of the critically important mission of the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. She was in charge and refused to demonstrate leadership where immigration law enforcement was concerned! And now she makes all of these statements about immigration! It takes my breath away!
Jack Shaw showed real courage in speaking out against his boss at that Congressional hearing- but to no avail! Check out the statistic that 4 out of 10 (40%) of illegal aliens back then, in 1999 did not run our nation’s borders but were admitted into the United States via the inspections process and then simply managed to “hide in plain sight!”
Here is the transcript of that hearing in its entirety:
More recently, the GAO has issued numerous reports on various aspects of immigration benefit fraud and other failings of the immigration system. You can see a list of these reports at:
On May 11, 2006 I testified at a hearing called by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations; House of Representatives on the topic:
“VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?”
The transcript of that hearing can be found at:
There have been a number of newspaper reports and reports on televised news reports about how there are fewer than 300 ICE special agents who are charged with attempting to locate and apprehend visa violators!
Here is a link to a newspaper article that recently appeared in the Arizona Republic on this topic. I was interviewed by the reporter:
Here is a link to a CNN report on this same topic for which I was also interviewed:
It is time for the politicians in Washington to live up to their oaths of office as well!
The administration and our elected representatives must take to heart, the statements made by the union leaders who represent the employes of Immigration and Custom Enforcement who gave the “leadership” of that beleaguered agency a “No confidence” vote recently and do whatever is necessary to address these massive deficiencies as quickly and effectively as possible. The security of our nation and the safety of our citizens must, without equivocation take priority over any political goals or agenda.
It is unacceptable that the citizens of this nation be alienated by their own government especially where border security and the enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws are concerned!
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!
We the People can add to the consternation of those 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 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 what I had to say, 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!”
In just two months, each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. 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!