Washington Times: Lack of resources curtails ICE tracking of illegals Agents told to ‘prioritize’

Hi Gang:

This news report [click here] appeared in the Sunday, August 8th edition of the Washington Times and was written by one of the most experienced investigative journalists who has been covering the immigration “beat” for more years than any other reporter I know.

The report he wrote is of critical importance because his report, especially in the wake of the vote of “No Confidence” reported by the union that represents the approximately 7,000 employees of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, makes it clear that the leadership at ICE, a division of an agency I have come to refer to as the Department of Homeland Surrender, has politicized a major component of national security at the behest of the administration.

I am not seeking to grind a political ax in making this assertion because the previous administration did not do things much differently. Let’s face it, the immigration crisis now confronting our nation has been created by both political parties who could never imagine putting the needs of our nation and our citizens ahead of their own selfish political goals.

HOWEVER, our nation is now grappling with the “War on Terror,” the threats posed by transnational criminal organizations such as the Mexican Drug Cartels, MS-13, Asian organized crime and a host of other such thugs from all over the world who are plying their respective trades in towns and cities across this nation resulting in the loss of lives including ironically, often members of the various immigrant communities that so-called “immigrant rights” groups claim they represent and then decry any efforts to enforce our nation’s immigration laws that were promulgated decades ago by our nation’s leaders who properly sought to prevent the entry of aliens into our nation whose presence would be harmful to our nation and our citizens- long before the specter of terrorists and large scale transnational gangs threatened national security and the lives of our citizens.

Additionally, the presence of large numbers of foreign workers in our country whose goal is to send as much of their ill gotten earnings to their families in their home countries undermines efforts purportedly aimed at stimulating our nation’s ailing economy that served as the alleged motivation behind the massive “economic stimulus program” that has saddled our nation with a deficit that is unparalleled in the history of our nation and one that will impact generations of Americans to come. These foreign workers also drive down wages of the citizens of our nation and often result in the displacement of United States citizen and resident alien workers.

These are supposed to be the concerns of the leadership at agencies that are engaged in the administration and enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws- yet it is clear that the marching orders coming from the administration have nothing to do with securing our nation’s borders or enforcing the immigration laws which are of such critical importance today, especially given the multitude of challenges that confront our nation that involve the securing of our nation’s borders and the effective enforcement of our immigration laws.

It is an absolute absurdity to believe that our nation can successfully wage a war against terrorists who are determined to enter our nation and then embed themselves in our nation with virtually no fear of being identified, arrested or removed (deported) from our country.

I suspect that no one should be surprised at the unmitigated chutzpah that was recently demonstrated by the Attorney General in suing the state of Arizona, for doing the politically unthinkable- actually attempting to deal with the immigration crisis that is hammering the citizens of that beleaguered state on a daily basis with kidnappings and home invasions occurring nearly every day of the week in Phoenix alone! Clearly the administration has to be concerned that when the cops in Arizona call ICE for help each day and they are unable to respond because the administration has refused to provide the essential resources- the situation will become crystal clear to every citizen of our nation that the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the United States is largely illusory.

A number of years ago I was one of the most requested speakers at my kids’ public school when parents were invited to speak about their jobs.

Apparently the children in the school loved it when I showed up with my raid gear and displayed by kevlar vest, two-way radio, raid jacket, handcuffs and other paraphernalia.

I recall one incident when I visited my daughter’s fifth grade class and talked about my job as an INS Senior Special Agent. I explained that my job was to assist other law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF and other federal agencies as well as the New York City and New York State Police as well as members of foreign law enforcement agencies in conducting investigations into large scale narcotics trafficking. The topic lent itself to a brief talk I would give about how important it was to avoid illegal drugs, to not pick up a firearm if ever they found one in someone’s home and to also not allow strangers to get too close to them.

On that particular day I told the kids in the classroom that if an adult approached them and asked for directions, I told them to not allow that stranger to lure them towards a car they might be driving because, as I explained, it, “You cannot tell a good guy from a bad guy.”

One of the youngsters in the classroom immediately thrust his hand into the air and proclaimed, “Mr. Cutler, I know how to tell a good guy from a bad guy!”

I was, as you might expect, quite curious about this revelation and so I asked him how he could tell who was who.

It is very easy, he said. “The bad guys have a bad complexion, they wear black ninja suits and the carry non-chuck sticks!”

I sometimes wonder if this kid is now working for Policy and Planning at the DHS!

I can tell you that there is no easy way to know who a good guy is. As we saw with the recent Russian spy case as well as with the various attempted terrorist attacks, the bad guys have become quite adept at hiding in plain sight. We know that the terrorists have on many occasions used visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud as a means of entering our nation and then embedding themselves in our country by acquiring lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship.

Here is a link to just a few of the GAO issued reports on various aspects of immigration benefit fraud and other failings of the immigration system:

http://www.gao.gov/docsearch/locate?searched=1&order_by=rel&keyword=immigration%20fraud&search_type=publications&o=0&add_topic=&add_type=&add_year=&add_fed_type=&add_fed_desc=&add_year=2000%20-%202009

The identification and investigation of immigration benefit fraud is a matter of national security and yet there are but a handful of special agents who are involved with this critical issue. USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) the division of DHS that adjudicates applications for various immigration benefits including the conferring of resident alien status and United States citizenship upon aliens processes more than 6 million applications for various immigration benefits each and every year but only has about 600 investigators to attempt to detect fraud. The number of ICE special agents who would be assigned to actually seek criminal prosecutions when fraud is found is far smaller than the 600 investigators at USCIS. The bottom line is that the fraud rate has been estimated to run as high as 90% in some instances!

I hate to be repetitive, but I think it is worth remembering how our nation’s leaders voiced outrage in March of 2002 that two of the dead terrorists, could have been sent letters of approval from the former INS precisely 6 months after those attacks authorizing them to extend their stay in the United States and change immigration status so that they could attend flight schools! The House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims convened a hearing into that fiasco on March 19, 2002. I was invited to appear before that hearing and I gladly accepted that invitation offered to me by the then Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee, Sheila Jackson Lee.

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 as you watch this video I want you to consider how much has not changed in the more than 8 years since the attacks of September 11, 2001:


http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/165862

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

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/judiciary/hju78298.000/hju78298_0f.htm

The video runs about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I would urge you to watch it and, as you watch the hearing, I want you to ask yourself a simple question, “What has really changed?”

What has changed is that the citizens of our nation, in the name of national security have found their expectations of privacy and freedom have been continually eroding even as our nation’s leaders expand the Visa Waiver Program and fail to secure our borders, fail to address the widespread ineptitude and incompetence in the processes by which applications for visas and immigration benefits are adjudicated.

Of additional great concern is the fact that the immigration laws remain all but unenforced, encouraging still more illegal aliens to run our nation’s borders or game the visa program and, once they succeed in entering our country, they find it a simple matter to embed themselves in communities across our nation from border to border and coast to coast.

On May 10th of this year, the Arizona Republic ran a story that addressed the issue of the failures of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to effectively seek to locate and apprehend these illegal aliens. Daniel Gonzalez, the reporter who wrote that news report interviewed me for the story that was titled:

“U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas”

Here is the link to this news report:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/05/10/20100510illegal-immigrants-overstay.html#ixzz0ndkoS9w

On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic:

“VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?”

You can read the transcript of that hearing at:

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa27480.000/hfa27480_0f.htm

Time and again we hear our “leaders” remind us that the terrorists only need to get it right one time while our government needs to get it right 100% of the time! The point is that there are now, undoubtedly, thousands of individuals operating in our country in furtherance of criminal and/or terrorist objectives. Not all terrorists engage in overt acts of violence. Many supporters of terrorism simply engage in fund raising as we recently saw in headlines that were splashed across newspapers around the United States

Here are two such headlines that recently appeared in the Washington Times:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/5/14-charged-supporting-somali-terror-group/

14 charged for supporting Somali terror group

Here is a link to an article that should help keep you awake at night:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/8/new-al-qaeda-chief-lived-in-us-for-years/

New al Qaeda chief lived in U.S. for years
Familiarity with America seen as a problem by FBI agent

The effective enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States is absolutely essential for the security of our nation and the safety of our citizens. Congressional Representatives Lamar Smith and Ted Poe clearly understand the risks created for our nation by the continuing failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. They should be commended for demonstrating true leadership at a time when leadership in Washington is hard to come by.

Simply stated, our government cannot defend itself and its citizens from the threat of terrorism and transnational gangs, including the pernicious drug cartels until and unless our nation’s borders are secured and the system by which USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has real integrity and combats the issue of the rampant fraud that permeates the process by which our nation confers resident alien status and even United States citizenship upon aliens- thereby presenting them with the “Keys to the kingdom!”

What all Americans must understand is that the administration and duplicitous members of Congress are now, once again, revving up their efforts to implement “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” against the will of the vast majority of the citizens of this nation. (So much for “representative government!”) The advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that I have on numerous instances have come to refer to as the “TERRORIST ASSISTANCE AND FACILITATION ACT” say that once the border is secure we should provide potentially tens of millions of illegal aliens who are “undocumented.”

In point of fact, the idea of providing those tens of millions of aliens who have no official or reliable way of proving who they are, would mean that terrorists and criminals could easily game this insane program and create brand new false identities for themselves. Additionally, USCIS is motivated to simply clear the backlog of applications with no meaningful effort being made to prevent the massive levels of fraud from ravaging a program that has profound national security implications- a point the 911 Commission made abundantly clear.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform would, of necessity cause the overworked and beleaguered USCIS to have to grapple with a minimum of 100,000 additional applications per day, filed by illegal aliens seeking to participate in a massive amnesty program that would eclipse the disastrous Amnesty of 1986 by a factor of ten! This would be the equivalent of telling a patient suffering from cardiac failure that he would be running in the New York City Marathon even as he sucked oxygen from a tank located next to his wheelchair!

Rather than chastising a true political leader- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and members of her state’s legislature, the President of the United States needs to take his oath of office serious and secure our nation’s borders and do whatever is necessary to make certain that there is real integrity within the immigration system where immigration benefits and the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States are concerned!

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

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!

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!

-michael cutler-

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