My reaction to Colin Powell on MSNBC on Sunday, September 19th

Hi Gang:

I had heard about General Colin Powell having made statements about immigration that were sufficiently egregious to raise my blood pressure.

This evening Tony Swarz, the webmaster (extraordinaire), of my website sent me a link to Mr. Powell’s interview on MSNBC concerning his position on immigration. Here is that link:


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/39255969#39255969

There is no doubt that Colin Powell is an American hero, but even those who have managed to rise to the top of the “heap” can and, unfortunately, all too often, do get it wrong!

I was raised by my very pragmatic parents who, as early as I can remember, instilled in me all sorts of commonsense principles. One of the most important principles had to do with offering opinions. My dad would look askance at me if I offered opinions that were based on nothing more than a hunch. His favorite expression on those occasions was to say to me, “An empty barrel makes a lot of noise!” Clearly an opinion that was not backed up by meaningful experience, education or training was seen by my folks as “a lot of noise!”

Ever since I have endeavored to call attention to the failings of our nation to create an immigration system that has real integrity, I have limited my public statements to those areas in which I had real world experience and hence, insight worth providing when I have appeared in various public forums such as Congressional hearings, radio and television interviews and other such public appearances.

When I get together with my friends I may offer all sorts of opinions about all sorts of “stuff” but I never use public appearances as a place to discuss those things that go beyond my experiences. A good example of this is the fact that I have often been asked about our country’s involvement in military actions overseas- especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over a cup of coffee or a cold beer with friends I will certainly discuss my ideas freely- but I will always shy away from opining about these critically important issues when I am appearing in public. The point is that I have absolutely no military experience. Therefore I feel it would be wrong to jump into that discussion.

Colin Powell has an extensive military background and did serve the previous administration as the Secretary of State. However, he has little or no background in immigration. To further substantiate this point I would remind you that as Secretary of State, he headed the bureaucracy that issues or refuses to issue visas to foreign nationals (aliens).

Under his watch as Secretary of State (he served in this position from 2001 until 2005, the Visa Waiver Program continued on even though he should have realized that this program presented huge national security problems for our nation.

It was not until August of 2002, nearly a year after the attacks of September 11, 2001, that the program known as Transit Without Visa was finally suspended! (This program permitted aliens who did not, for one reason or another, secure a visa, to travel through the United States to some other country.)

The process by which applications for visas are adjudicated is failing to meet its fundamental requirements when you consider that it is estimated that some 40% of the illegal aliens who are present in our country did not run our nation’s borders but actually entered the United States via the inspections process and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission into the United States. All of the 19 terrorists who so savagely attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 were admitted into the United States via the inspections process- yet not enough has been done, including under Colin Powell’s leadership, to tighten up the process by which aliens are granted visas and by which determinations are made as to whether or not these aliens should be admitted into the United States.

Even though he had no background in immigration prior to becoming the Secretary of State, he should have realized that the purpose to the vis screening process is to attempt to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence in one way or another, would be potentially harmful to our nation and/or our citizens.

The United States Department of State lists:
Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas

Here is the link to the list of such aliens:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/ineligibilities/ineligibilities_1364.html

This list includes aliens with dangerous communicable diseases, aliens convicted of serious felonies, aliens who have committed war crimes, aliens who have committed human rights violations, aliens involved in human trafficking and alien smuggling, aliens involved in transnational gangs and narcotics trafficking organizations and aliens who are involved with terrorism.

An alien who evades the visa and the inspections process may simply seeking illegal work or may have more nefarious intentions- the point is that there is no way of knowing.

We have, as I have often noted, witnessed a continual erosion of our expectations of privacy and freedom in the name of national security, yet illegal aliens whose true identities, backgrounds, affiliation with criminal or possibly terrorist organizations is unknown and unknowable appears to be of no concern to Colin Powell!

This astounds me and takes my breath away!

As a military leader (he had been a four star general and served as the Chief of Staff for the United States Army, he should certainly understand the need to establish secure perimeters. Our military leaders certainly understood this most basic of principles- they called for United States Border Patrol agents and especially the elite BORTAC units to be sent to Iraq to protect that nation and its citizens- as well as soldiers who had been sent to Iraq, from the terrorists and insurgents who were moving across international borders and into Iraq to kill civilians and soldiers!

If the military could understand that Iraqi security began at its borders, why was this principle not embraced by the previous administration or the current administration?

Even more disturbing- why does a former four star general not understand this most basic principle?

Colin Powell stated that the economy of the United States depends on immigrants- but he makes light of the distinction between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens!

Here is a bit of clarity on this important issue- the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and burglar!

Unless I misunderstood what Colin Powell stated in his interview- he has hired illegal aliens to work around his house! While it may be difficult to find contractors who carefully screen their employees, there is absolutely way that someone can so blithely make an utter mockery of the laws that are designed to protect the American workers who built this country!

In the video, Governor Mitt Romney was briefly seen to talk about the need to protect our nation’s borders and hence to support the efforts of Arizona to do what the federal government continues to fail to do. What a refreshing contrast!

Colin Powell all but accuses anyone who wants our nation’s borders secured and the immigration system to have integrity of being a bigot! Let us take a moment to consider this nonsense.

He came out in favor of the DREAM ACT- saying that America is about to become a “minority nation” in the next generation- therefore we need to provide immigrants who are illegal with an education! Wow! What an unbelievable twisting of facts and reality! How many United States citizens are members of various minorities right now?

What measures is he favoring to address the plight of United States citizen kids living in squalor here in the United States today?

It has been estimated that one sixth of all Americans are now living below the poverty line- how would providing education to illegal aliens help American citizens who are desperate to get jobs and support themselves and their families?

Let us also remember a point I made a couple of days ago when I wrote about the DREAM Act in which I explained why I have come to refer to it as the “Nightmare Act:”

If you don’t bother to read the entire bill or understand the intentions of the legislation, it would appear that the bill is intended to assist children. The citizens of our country are among the most generous and kind-hearted on the face of the planet and so I suspect that the point to using that phrasing and that photo, coupled with the red, white and blue color scheme is to evoke feelings of compassion, sympathy and empathy.

For elected representatives to attempt to take advantage of our kindness and compassion, especially through deceptive language and other tactics that, if practiced by a corporation would have consumer watchdogs howling and filing lawsuits is absolutely unacceptable!

Here is a basic question, “How old is a child?”

Generally the cutoff is considered to be 18 years of age. For certain purposes, the age of majority is 21.

If you wonder why I am asking this question, I want you to read the eligibility requirement for an illegal alien to participate in the Dream Act:

(B) the alien has been a person of good moral character since the time of application;
(C) the alien–
(i) is not inadmissible under paragraph (2), (3), (6)(E), or (10)(C) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)); and
(ii) is not deportable under paragraph (1)(E), (2), or (4) of section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1227(a));
(D) the alien, at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education in the United States, or has earned a high school diploma or obtained a general education development certificate in the United States;
(E) the alien has never been under a final administrative or judicial order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, unless the alien–
(i) has remained in the United States under color of law after such order was issued; or
(ii) received the order before attaining the age of 16 years; and
(F) the alien had not yet reached the age of 35 years on the date of the enactment of this Act.

Check out that last line again:

(F) the alien had not yet reached the age of 35 years on the date of the enactment of this Act.

You cannot make this up!

The Dream Act would provide a pathway to illegal aliens who are 34 years old!

Is there anyone who could, with a straight face, tell me where in the world would a 34 year old person be considered a “Child?!”

And it gets even worse!

For aliens who are otherwise ineligible to receive the benefits of this bill there is a waiver built in.

Here is the waiver:

2) WAIVER- Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary of Homeland Security may waive the ground of ineligibility under section 212(a)(6)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the ground of deportability under paragraph (1)(E) of section 237(a) of that Act for humanitarian purposes or family unity or when it is otherwise in the public interest.

The bill would allow aliens who are otherwise ineligible to receive a waiver and hence the alien would then be entitled for the “humanitarian purposes of family unity or when it is otherwise in the public interest.”
First of all, in my judgement, this entire bill is not in the public interest! So by what standard with the folks at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) determine what is in the “public interest?”

Let me add to the list of questions the issue concerning “waivers.” This is the way that the administration could ignore (waive) all sorts of issues that would otherwise disqualify an alien from participating in this massive give-away program that would provide benefits to illegal aliens that Americans would not be able to receive!

If the issue of “family unity” is noted in the sentence about “waivers” it should be presumed that the family members of illegal aliens who meet the requirements to participate in the DREAM Act would become eligible to receive waivers so that they too would be provided with a pathway to United States citizenship!

This would be nothing less than catastrophic for our nation!

Let me make my position as clear as I can. I am in favor of lawful immigration provided that the system by which aliens are admitted into our country has real integrity. The problem is that our borders are not secure. The problem is that the system by which aliens are provided with resident alien status and even United States citizenship has not integrity and yet Colin Powell, makes light of the immigration laws he ignores does that which the rest of the open borders advocates do- he ignores the distinction between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens and he should absolutely know better!

On March 30, 2007 I was invited to testify before a hearing conducted by the House Immigration Subcommittee on the topic,

“PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: A HISTORIC AND PERSONAL RELECTION ON AMERICAN IMMIGRATION

Hearing on: “Past, Present, and Future: A Historic and Personal Reflection on American Immigration”

There is an expression that says, “Man makes plans- God laughs!” On the day I was to appear before that hearing I woke up with a high fever and was utterly unable to get out of bed, let alone testify before Congress! A friend and founding member of 9/11 Families for a Secure America offered to read my prepared testimony on my behalf at the hearing.

Here is the link to my prepared testimony for that hearing:

http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/March2007/Cutler070330.pdf

TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL W. CUTLER FOR THE HEARING TO BE HELD ON MARCH 30, 2007 BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP, REFUGEES, BORDER SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL LAW “PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: A HISTORIC AND PERSONAL RELECTION ON AMERICAN IMMIGRATION”

Chairwoman Lofgren, Ranking Member King, members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen; it is an honor and a privilege to appear before this subcommittee. It is especially fitting to conduct a hearing about the past, present and future of immigration at this important historical location, Ellis Island. According to the Ellis Island Museum, from 1892 until 1954, this historic facility processed nearly 12 million aliens seeking to begin their lives anew in our land of freedom and opportunity. My mother, in fact, was one of those who first set foot on American soil when she stepped off the ocean liner that brought her to the United States a few short years before the onslaught of the Holocaust that caused the death and suffering of so many millions of innocent people. My grandmother, for whom I was named, was one of the 6 million who was killed for no reason other than the fact that she was a Jew. My father was born in the United States but his parents and most of his siblings arrived at Ellis Island in 1908 from Russia seeking the freedom and economic opportunity that were not possible in their homeland.

The United States was indeed built by immigrants and New York City is perhaps one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the entire United States of America. New York is not only an extremely diverse city; it is a city that celebrates its diversity with a great deal of passion. During the warmer months there is rarely a weekend when there isn’t a parade, street fair or food festival that celebrates so many different cultures, ethnicities or religions. Our nation is greatly enriched by this diversity, living up to its motto, E Pluribus Unum, “From many, one.”

I am nearly as proud of being a New Yorker as I am of being a citizen of the United States.

However, as we celebrate the lawful immigration of people from all over the world who enter our nation in accordance with our laws, to share the “American Dream” I believe it is critically important that we distinguish between those aliens who enter our nation lawfully and those who enter our country in violation of law. Not long ago I sat in an auditorium at a college on Long Island, watching a series of panel discussions as I awaited my turn to participate in a discussion about immigration. I heard one of the speakers make a disturbing point. She said that in the old days immigrants came through Ellis Island, today they come across the Mexican border. That simple statement illustrated that the debate about immigration often loses sight of reality. Ellis Island was not simply a terminal where aliens arrived and then waited to catch a ride to some town in the United States. Ellis Island was a facility that provided immigration inspectors, public health officials and others the opportunity to screen those aliens who were seeking to enter the United States to enjoy a far better way of life than was possible in their native countries. Simply arriving here was no guarantee of being admitted to the United States. Ellis Island was, in effect, America’s waiting room.

If there was a doubt that the arriving alien might harbor a dangerous communicable disease, that person was kept here as long as necessary, until public health officials could determine if that applicant for admission posed a health risk to our citizens. Similarly, Ellis Island provided law enforcement officials with adequate time to identify those who might be fleeing criminal prosecution in their homelands. In those days there were no computers that could assist with this vital issue.

Today when aliens run our nation’s borders without being inspected, the potential exists that these aliens may carry diseases. These aliens may be fugitives from justice in their home countries who have extensive criminal backgrounds. In this perilous era, the potential also exists that these aliens may be involved directly or indirectly with terrorism. This is not a matter of xenophobia; it is a matter of commonsense. Our nation needs to know who is entering or seeking to enter our country. At present it has been estimated that there are from 12 million to twenty million illegal aliens in our country whose true identities are unknown and ultimately unknowable. Because they are undocumented, we can not be certain of when they entered the United States and in fact, we cannot even be certain as to their true nationalities. The President has called for legalizing illegal aliens which would require our beleaguered adjudications officers at USCIS to suddenly have to confront many millions of applications for amnesty filed by aliens whose identities can not be verified. I fear that terrorists and criminals would seize this opportunity to acquire official identity documents in fictitious names in conjunction with such a guest worker amnesty program and use those documents as breeder documents to create new identities for themselves, obtaining driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and other such documents. They could then use these officially issued documents to embed themselves in our country and also circumvent the various terror watch lists and so- called no fly lists.

I started out by telling you how proud I am to be a New Yorker. On September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked but the focal point for much of the destruction was the iconic World Trade Center complex that would have been easily visible from this island on which we are now conducting this hearing. Our nation needs to balance its desire to open its doors to legitimate visitors and immigrants with the need to protect our nation and our citizens from those who would come here and do us harm.

Virtually all homes and apartments come equipped with a front door that has a peephole and a door bell. This is provided so that the responsible homeowner may determine whether or not to open his door to the stranger who shows up on his doorstep. For the United States, Ellis Island provided that peephole. Today millions of aliens enter our nation in accordance with law through many ports of entry. Many come for a temporary visit to engage in commerce, tourism, education or to visit a friend or family member. These visitors are inspected by an inspector of CBP who can attempt to determine the intentions of aliens seeking entry into the United States. It is a daunting job with a serious responsibility. I speak from experience because for the first four years of my career with the INS I worked as an immigration inspector at John F. Kennedy International Airport located not far from here.

Other aliens enter our country as immigrants, seeking to reside in the United States permanently, contributing to the vibrant tapestry that comprises the United States of America.

Of course, this inspection process is not without its failings and, indeed, it is estimated that perhaps as many as 40% of the illegal alien population of the United States did not run our nation’s borders but were admitted through the inspections process and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission into the United States, either by overstaying the temporary period for which a nonimmigrant alien was admitted, accepting unauthorized employment or by being convicted of committing a felony in our country. We have been told that the enforcement only approach to immigration does not work and that is why we need to have a guest worker program for millions of illegal aliens. In point of fact, the Office of the Inspector General just released a report that disclosed that the number of fugitive aliens now stands at more than 600,000; nearly twice the number of such fugitives who were present in the United States on September 11, 2001. There are approximately 3,000 special agents at ICE to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States for the entire county. New York City has been found to be safest big city in the United States even though it has more than 8 million residents living in a city that covers some 400 square miles. This is largely attributable to the simple fact that the NYPD has roughly 37,000 police officers. The NYPD also has a wide variety of resources that can be called into action when the situation arises that require such resources.

Where immigration law enforcement is concerned, I believe that all that we have been given is the illusion of enforcement and it is the illusion that has failed to accomplish the mission of securing our borders against those who enter the United States illegally. The illusion of enforcement has failed to address the millions of illegal aliens who are present in our country today. The illusion of enforcement and the constant effort to keep up with the huge numbers of applications for immigration benefits has caused USCIS to put speed over accuracy as evidenced last year when it apparently naturalized 30,000 aliens even though their immigration alien files were among the more than 111,000 such files that were lost last year.

By not differentiating between those aliens who have played by the rules and abided by the law to enter our country to become a part of this magnificent nation and those aliens who succeed in violating our nation’s borders and laws and then being rewarded for it, we make a mockery of our own laws and insult those decent people who have patiently waited their turn to lawfully immigrate to the United States.
It has been said that you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. For many people throughout the world, the first impression that they have about the United States and our resolve to live up to our standard of being a nation of law, is the way that we enforce or fail to enforce the immigration laws. It is therefore critically important that we do not create any ambiguity about the difference between being an alien who is lawfully present in the United States and being an illegal alien.

I look forward to your questions. The point is that our borders are not secure. The immigration “system” is a system by name only.

We know that when a hurricane makes land fall along beaches and coastline that often the storm causes massive erosion, effectively shrinking the coastline in the aftermath of the storm.

Apparently with the storms of violence in Mexico to be found in close proximity to our nation’s southern border, our sovereign borders are also eroding. How much further north would Colin Powell be willing to, in effect, shift our southern border north?

The famed expression about “drawing a line in the sand” may keep our nation’s cartographers busy trying to figure out where the “No man’s land” ends and secure territory of our nation begins! I would remind you that according to the Secretary of Homeland Surrender that some 230 cities throughout our nation are now infested by members of the pernicious Mexican drug cartels. Will Ms Napolitano now recommend that governors and mayors around our country follow the federal government’s example and establish areas to be avoided by law abiding citizens to minimize the potential of being killed by foreign criminals plying their trades throughout out country?

It is time for the politicians in Washington to live up to their oaths of office as well!

They must take to heart the statements made by the union leaders who represent the employes of Immigration and Custom Enforcement 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!

-michael cutler-

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