Once again our country and New York City has dodged a terrorist bullet.
As I am certain that just about everyone know that this past Saturday a Pakistani born, United States citizen, Faisal Shahzad, parked a pathfinder in Times Square, the fabled “Crossroads of the World” that was laden with explosives and propane tanks that were obviously intended to create as much death and destruction as possible. As was the case when an airliner was nearly destroyed in flight on Christmas Day, last year, we got lucky- the bomb failed to properly detonate.
There have been many news reports dealing with various aspects of the case and today, a well known columnist who has been aggressively taking on the immigration crisis that has been confronting our nation for decades wrote an article about this case and quoted me, making note of my many previous statements in various venues about the nexus between immigration fraud and national security- especially terrorism. I have attached Michelle’s column as it appeared in one of many publications today. Certainly she has been paying attention to these issues- if only our nation’s leaders would do the same!
As you may recall, after the Christmas Day attempt to reduce an airliner and its passengers into smoldering rubble in the skies over Detroit, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano breathlessly proclaimed “The system worked!” I wrote a commentary in which I said that, “If hope is not a strategy, then dumb luck is not a success!”
Clearly Ms Naplitano has learned something about counterterrorism and the insight of the American people- we are not as dumb as she thought we were! She made no such proclamation this time but she did, justifiably, laud the efforts and resulting successes of the FBI and the NYPD in quickly identifying Shahzad as the individual who had parked that rolling bomb on the heavily populated streets of New York City and taking him into custody.
This investigation is in its embryonic stages. Much more needs to be known about possible co-conspirators and a host of other factors to not only seek to dismantle any possible terror cell that may have had a role in this case, but to also devise a strategy to help protect our nation and our citizens against future attacks.
As Michelle noted in her commentary today- immigration fraud and visa fraud are major threats to national security and, in fact, the very first time I was invited to provide testimony before a Congressional hearing was when then House Immigration Committee, Lamar Smith and then Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Henry Hyde, invited me to testify before a hearing convened by the Immigration Subcommittee conducted on May 20, 1997 on the topic:
“VISA FRAUD AND IMMIGRATION BENEFITS APPLICATION FRAUD”
You can review the transcript of that hearing, in its entirety at:
This hearing was, in large measure called because the Terrorists who participated in two terrorist attacks in 1993- first at the CIA in January of that year and then at the World Trade Center the following month, were all foreign nationals (aliens) who had gamed the visa and/or the immigration benefits programs in order to enter the United States and embed themselves in our country in order to be able to carry out those attacks.
Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I began my efforts to provide my perspectives on the nexus between immigration and national security as a full time effort, shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 when on that tragic day, the ashes of the conflagration at “Ground Zero” as the World Trade Center came to be known, fluttered down on my home and my family in Brooklyn, New York. Among the ashes were the remains of my neighbors!
I was enraged on several levels: as an American, as a New Yorker and as an INS senior special agent. I was angered, beyond words, that our nation failed to take commonsense steps to secure our borders and create an immigration system that possesses even a modicum of integrity that might have averted the attacks. Immigration is not the “Conservative” issue that open borders advocates and many members of the media claim it is. The need to protect our nation’s borders and effectively administer and enforce laws intended to prevent the entry of foreign nationals whose presence in our country would be harmful to our citizens and the security of our nation is simply an American issue!
Today’s New York Times ran several articles about the attempted bombing of Times Square last weekend. One article in particular contained an interesting fact. This article was entitled:
May 4, 2010
From Suburban Father to a Terrorism Suspect
You can read the entire article at:
Here is the except from the article:
In January 2002 Mr. Shahzad obtained an H1B visa, a coveted status meant for highly skilled workers and good for three years, with a possible extension. Records show that Elizabeth Arden, the cosmetics giant, applied for a visa for Mr. Shahzad; he worked there as a temporary clerk in the accounting department in 2001, through an employment agency called Accountants Inc., according to a timecard found in his trash.
Officials at the cosmetic company confirmed that they hired Mr. Shahzad to work in the accounting department at the Stamford, Conn., office on Jan. 31, 2002; he left on June 14, 2006 to join another company. In 2006, Mr. Shahzad took a job as a junior financial analyst at Affinion Group in Norwalk, a financial marketing services company. Michael Bush, the company’s director of public relations, said Mr. Shahzad resigned in mid-2009; government officials said he was unemployed and bankrupt by the time of his arrest.
This article reiterates a point I have made on innumerable occasions about the huge betrayal that the H1B visa program represents to the citizens of our nation on a couple of levels. First of all, rampant fraud in this program often deprives willing American workers jobs they desperately want. Attorneys know that if citizens of the United States are hired by a company then these lawyers and employment agencies would not collect their huge fees that are actually subsidized by the federal government. (Any company that uses an attorney or employment agency can write off the legal fees and consulting fees.)
Second, if you consider that Shahzad was granted an H1B visa to work as an accounting clerk for the huge cosmetics firm of Elizabeth Arden. This is hardly a “high tech” job and I am entirely confident that somehow an American citizen could have been found who had the qualifications to do this work. It could be presumed that Shahzad displaced an American at the workplace. Of course Shahzad did have a skill set (of questionable ability) that most Americans would have no interest in doing- assembling a bomb to kill lots of innocent people, not all of whom, incidentally, would have been Americans- Times Square is one of the most popular tourist sites in the entire world attracting people from the four corners of the earth!
Of course, at least thus far, the State Department has not seen fit to give bomb makers H1B visas for that skill. However, when you consider how many terrorists have been granted visas as well as political asylum who have had affiliations with terrorist organizations you certainly have to wonder what the the folks at State Department think they are supposed to be doing to enhance our nation’s security!
The track record at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has been just as abysmal!
Abuses in the H1B visa program are legendary and well documented in a series of GAO reports. As I noted in previous commentaries, you should take out a couple of minutes to watch a video that I guarantee you will really infuriate you. It is the video of an immigration lawyers’ conference in which lawyers were being coached to “not find qualified U.S. workers!” The lecturer who is instructing the attorneys is a guy by the name of Lawrence M. Lebowitz, the Vice President of Marketing for the firm of Cohen & Grigsby. This video was posted on You Tube by the Programmer Guild, an organization that is comprised of computer programmers.
This video runs for roughly 4 minutes and 30 seconds and I urge you to watch this video that was, I believe, made clandestinely. This is the link to that video:
I want you to now consider that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is that all-inclusive body of laws that regulates the entry of aliens into the United States and also their presence in the United States. It deals with immigration benefits and the grounds under which an alien might be removed (deported) from the United States.
Under the INA, the law…”
“…excludes aliens seeking to immigrate “for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor,” except that such aliens may be eligible for a visa if:
the Secretary of Labor has determined that (A) there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified and available at the time of application for a visa and admission into the United States and at the place where the alien is to perform the work, and (B) the employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of the United States workers similarly employed.”
Unbelievably, Senator Chuck Schumer, the senior senator from New York conducted a hearing just over one year ago before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee that he chairs in which he called for none other than Alan Greenspan, arguably the architect of the economic meltdown to testify about Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Greenspan actually made the following statement:
The second bonus would address the increasing concentration of income in this country. Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created a privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at noncompetitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions
His use of language was apparently intended to be as obfuscating as possible but here is the bottom line- if Americans had to compete with foreign workers for their jobs, the salaries that skilled workers were paid could be slashed! This is absolutely the sort of thing that the immigration and labor laws are supposed to prevent!
Do not take my word for it, take Mr. Geenspan’s words for it!
You can review the testimony at that hearing and even see a portion of a video of Mr. Greenspan’s testimony at:
In the case of the would-be Times Square bomber, we have a solid example of why immigration law violations are anything but victimless crimes!
I have testified before more than a dozen Congressional hearings on various aspects of the immigration crisis that confronts our country today and especially the nexus between immigration and national security. There are a couple of videos worth watching concerning two of these hearings:
Here is the link to the C-SPAN video of the Congressional hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, at which I testified on March 19, 2002:
Topic for the hearing:
“INS’S MARCH 2002 NOTIFICATION OF APPROVAL OF CHANGE OF STATUS FOR PILOT TRAINING FOR TERRORIST HIJACKERS MOHAMMED ATTA AND MARWAN AL-SHEHHI”
Here is the link to the transcript of the hearing in its entirety
Link to Congressional hearing on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” in July 2006 (my comments back then are every bit as relevant today):
As the case of Faisal Shahzad’s attempted terrorist attack against our nation proceeds, I will do what I can to provide my perspectives where it may be appropriate.
Immigration is not a single issue but a major factor in nearly every significant challenge confronting the United States today. Failures to secure our nation’s borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity and honors those lawful immigrants who follow the laws and play by the rules to join the magnificent tapestry that is America hammers those challenges and compromises national security, the safety of our citizens and threatens the “American Dream.”
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!