My Op-Ed for Fox News Latino "Politics, the Media and False Perceptions About Immigration"

Hi Gang:

In my rush to send out my last e-mail that dealt with my latest Op-Ed for Fox News Latino I made a couple of typos that may have distracted from the overall message.  Several readers were kind enough to notify me about my error and so I am sending out this e-mail to clarify what I had meant to write.
The most serious and potentially confusing mistake was the sentence in which I stated:
To provide a bit of clarity, I have always referred to aliens who are legally present in the United States as being “Illegal Aliens.”
Of course my intention was to write:

To provide a bit of clarity, I have always referred to aliens who are illegally present in the United States as being “Illegal Aliens.”

Therefore I am resending the e-mail with the appropriate corrections.  (Spell Check does no good when the wrong words are spelled properly!)
Back when I was an INS Special Agent I saw fit to hang a sign on the wall near my desk that stated, 

“To err is human, to really screw up you need a computer!”
Another appropriate saying can be found on the sign below:
I apologize for any confusion my original e-mail may have caused.
Hi Gang:
As we all know, the elections are over and the Obama administration will continue for the next four years.
The journalists and pundits are already out there providing their “spin” to what this is likely to mean for America and Americans.
When I was growing up my parents were adamant that I not spout opinions unless I could back them up with facts or evidence.  If I made the mistake of spewing opinions I could not back you, my dad would give the “that look” most of us remember from our childhood and tell me that “Empty barrels make a lot of noise!”  The point was that opinions based on nothing were worth nothing!
Out of my concerns that the folks who often appear in the media and are eager to share their opinions that are, all too often, based on nothing, I decided to write an Op-Ed for Fox News Latino on immigration and what is regularly being discussed by the pundits- to provide a reality check.
I certainly do not have all the answers to immigration or anything else, for that matter.  However, as you likely know, I have been involved with the immigration issue for more than 41 years.  I was sworn in and entered on duty as an Immigration Officer in October, 1971.
I am pleased that the editor of the Fox News Latino website posted my piece and, in fact, made it the lead article on their opinion page.
This is certainly in keeping with Fox News’ claim of providing “Fair and Balanced” coverage.
To provide a bit of clarity, I have always referred to aliens who are illegally present in the United States as being “Illegal Aliens.”
The editorial policy of the Fox News Latino website is to use the term “undocumented immigrant.”  It is there website and I am a guest on it.  I just wanted to provide a bit of clarity about terminology.
Also, I noted in my article that I had provided testimony at a Congressional hearing.  The link I provided to my testimony was not included in my commentary, so if you want to read my prepared testimony- here is the link:
Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts nearly every challenge and threat confronting the United States today!

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!

If you like this commentary, kindly forward it to as many folks as you can and ask them to do the same- I am attempting to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

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- 

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Politics, the Media and False Perceptions About Immigration

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    2012 Getty Images

In the aftermath of the elections of 2012, the political pundits are providing their views, attempting to make sense of how, even with the incredibly low approval ratings, the majority of incumbents up for election in the Senate and those who ran for re-election in the House of Representatives won their respective elections. It was of great surprise for many that President Obama himself also won re-election.

Since Election Day, these pundits have been talking about how the Republican Party would have to do more to moderate its position on immigration and come up with compromises, in order to reach out to the minority communities to win their support in upcoming elections.

What is unfathomable is how providing millions of undocumented immigrants with pathways to citizenship can be referred to as a politically “moderate position” when the already existing legal immigration system enables more than 1.1 million immigrants to legally immigrate to the United States each and every year.

These same high profile commentators routinely toss phrases and accusations around when they are on camera, creating false and misleading impressions in the minds of their viewers. They refer to those who want America’s borders secured against unlawful entry and immigration laws enforced from within the interior of the United States as being “Anti-Immigrant” and often link immigration law enforcement with racism and being “Anti-Latino.” This is an outrageous false claim that generates fears within an important ethnic community. In point of fact, effective enforcement of those laws can

help save lives and jobs of American and lawful immigrants within the Latino and other ethnic immigrant communities.

They ignore that the same immigration laws that provide for the exclusion of immigrants whose presence is problematic and also provide for the removal (deportation) of immigrants who violate the immigration laws also provide for the lawful admission of tens of millions of nonimmigrant visitors each year and the lawful immigration of so many permanent resident immigrants each year who, upon attaining lawful immigrant status, are immediately placed on the pathway to United States citizenship.

What is unfathomable is how providing millions of undocumented immigrants with pathways to citizenship can be referred to as a politically “moderate position”

– Michael Cutler

Transnational gangs pose a growing threat to America. They generally establish themselves in ethnic communities in which they feel most comfortable and are most easily able to achieve the goal of embedding themselves or “hiding in plain sight.”  The most likely victims of their crimes are the immigrants who live within America’s immigrant communities.

Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182  is a section of law contained within the Immigration and Nationality Act. It enumerates the various categories of immigrants who are to be excluded from the United States. Among them are immigrants who suffer dangerous communicable diseases, severe mental illness or are criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers, terrorists and spies.  Finally, immigrants who would seek to work illegally or become public charges are also to be kept out of the United States. 

This section of law also contains another important set of provisions, to prevent the immigration of foreign workers to the United States if they will displace American workers or, at the least, adversely affect the wages and working conditions of American workers:  This section of law, in part, states that immigrant visas must not be provided immigrant visas unless it has been certified that:

(1) 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
(2) The employment of the immigrant will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of United States workers similarly employed.

When compared with American and lawful immigrant workers, the only thing exceptional about foreign workers is that they will work for exceptionally low wages, often under dangerous, substandard conditions. This creates pressure on American and lawful immigrant workers to accept lower wages even though the immigration laws are supposed to prevent this.

When the President gave a speech in the White House Rose Garden on June 15th of this year, to announce how he would use “Prosecutorial Discretion” to provide undocumented immigrants with employment authorization, he certainly picked the appropriate venue to talk about his plan. Roses are beautiful, fragrant flowers. However, when you get too close, you risk getting hurt by the thorns.

The President’s speech evoked emotions. Talking about children and the “American Dream” could certainly choke up the audience. Upon closer scrutiny, this program loses all of its appeal.

While President Obama spoke about children his executive order would purportedly assist, in point of fact, immigrants up to their 32nd birthday can participate. He failed to discuss how there are no resources to conduct field investigations to verify claims made in the applications. Indeed, there are no resources to even conduct face-to-face interviews.

Fraud will permeate this program, thus creating a national security nightmare, providing terrorists with ample opportunities to game this program to create a brand new identities.

Immigration amnesty programs such as the program initiated by executive order by the President circumvents the section of law noted above, that was enacted to protect American and lawful immigrant workers from unfair competition.

While it generally takes significant time and money to create jobs, the effective enforcement of the immigration laws can, nearly overnight, liberate jobs that are being sought by desperate American workers of every race and ethnicity who are struggling to support themselves and their families.

The Obama administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it is adamantly opposed to enforcing immigration laws to conduct meaningful numbers of investigations into employers who intentionally hire undocumented immigrants and to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants who are working illegally in the United States.

On January 26, 2011 I testified before a hearing that was conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The subject for that hearing was “ICE Worksite Enforcement – Up to the Job?”

I provided prepared testimony for this hearing.

On November 1, 2012 the Washington Times published a report based on a recent study. The title of that newspaper report gets to the heart of the matter: “Two-thirds of jobs go to immigrants during Obama’s four years”

This report began with the following paragraph: “Two-thirds of those who have found employment under President Obama are immigrants, both legal and illegal, according to an analysis that suggests immigration has soaked up a large portion of what little job growth there has been over the past three years.”

Incredibly, days before the election, the pundits claimed to be unable to understand how the unemployment rate had inched up from 7.8  percent to 7.9 percent even as roughly 180,000 new jobs had been created.

A significant part of the answer to the riddle that they could not (would not?) solve is that the Obama administration’s program to provide DREAMers with employment authorization, coupled with the constant influx of lawful immigrants (an average of 100,000 per month) plus an unknown number of undocumented immigrants continues to flood the already overflowing labor pool with ever more workers.

The President claimed that 800,000 immigrants would likely participate in the program. The very same day he made that eloquent speech, the Pew Hispanic Center stated that their studies indicated that some 1.4 million immigrants would probably benefit from this program. Subsequent studies conducted by other organizations have pegged that number even higher.

With so many millions of American and lawful immigrant workers already unemployed or underemployed, it is hardly good news that now hundreds of thousands or, perhaps, millions of undocumented immigrants will be provided with equal standing in the labor pool- a pool that is already way overcrowded!

With post-election calls for compromise, it is vital that our leaders understand that while consensus-building requires the give and take of compromise, that our government must never ignore the true importance of America’s borders and immigration laws that exist to protect lives and the livelihoods of American and lawful immigrant workers. Any action that circumvents the lawful immigration system will undoubtedly undermine and compromise national security and the dreams and aspirations of all Americans.

Michael W. Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the federal immigration agency that preceded the Department of Homeland Security.  He has provided testimony to numerous Congressional hearings and the 9/11 Commission on the nexus between immigration and national security.

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