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on their website. A copy of my commentary is attached below. When you read it, please check out the links that are contained within that Op-Ed.
The title provided the misleading impression that it would cost the federal government more than 585 million dollars to deport illegal aliens when, in reality, the report had absolutely nothing to do with the deportation of illegal aliens but rather, the creation of a program that would contain the essential provisions of the failed DREAM Act and provide approximately one million illegal aliens with employment authorization. The distinction between those two activities is clear and extremely significant!
It is only when the reader actually reads the entire article that the actual nature of the program became clear. Titles of books and articles are generally supposed to serve as a sort of “preview” to give the reader some insight into the nature of the literary work they are about to read. In this era of sound-bites and a never ending cavalcade of “News Alerts” and “Breaking News Reports” most folks simply look for the headline and then move on. When a headline is not representative of the actual nature and contents of the article that they presage, damage may well be done when too many people don’t take the time to red the entire report but simply scan a headline and mistakenly believe they understand the primary message of the article.
This is not unlike the warnings we have all heard about the need to carefully examine the small print in a contract. Except that a news report is not a contract- an effective news report is supposed to answer the fundamental questions of who, what, where, when, why and how. It is supposed to be clear and concise. Above all it must be seen as reliable and trustworthy.
It is disconcerting, to say the least, when a news report begins with a title that fails to truly reflect that which follows in the body of the report.
Published July 28, 2012
Fox News Latino
On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, the Associated Press ran a report entitled:
AP Exclusive: Internal documents shows Obama deportation proposal could cost more than $585M
The article primarily focused on whether or not user fees paid by illegal aliens seeking employment authorization will actually cover the administrative costs of providing more than one million illegal aliens with employment authorization or if, ultimately, at least some of the costs of processing these applications will be borne by the American taxpayers.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
Fee waivers could dramatically affect the government’s share of the cost. The plans said that, depending on how many applicants don’t pay, the government could lose between $19 million and $121 million. Republican critics pounced on that.
“By lowering the fee or waiving it altogether for illegal immigrants, those who play by the rules will face delays and large backlogs as attention is diverted to illegal immigrants,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. “American taxpayers should not be forced to bail out illegal immigrants and President Obama’s fiscally irresponsible policies.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimated it could receive more than 1 million applications during the first year of the program, or more than 3,000 per day. It would cost the government between $467 million and $585 million to process applications in the first two years of the program, with revenues from fees paid by immigrants estimated at $484 million, according to the plans. That means the cost to the government could range from a gain of $16 million to a loss of more than $101 million.
The focus on monetary expenses the government may incur is understandable. It is also understandable that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lama Smith, as was reported, was concerned about the negative impact that the anticipated additional applications- estimated to amount to 3,000 per day, would have on law abiding aliens who are applying for lawful immigrant status. These prospective lawful immigrants would likely face additional processing time as their applications are pushed aside to make room for the tsunami of applications likely to result from President Obama’s ill-conceived plans, are certainly costs worth considering. However, what was not noted in the article was the impact that dumping hundreds of thousands of newly authorized foreign workers into a labor pool comprised of millions of American workers of every race, religion and ethnicity who are already unable to find jobs would have. It is important to note that American black workers and American Latino workers are already suffering from a far higher unemployment rate than are their non-minority counterparts!
These American workers are falling below the poverty line in record numbers and losing their homes to foreclosure in record numbers. Adding all of these newly authorized illegal alien workers to the labor pool will only serve to greatly exacerbate the situation- yet this went unreported in this article and in virtually all news reports concerning the immigration crisis.
This is especially hard to understand given that so much attention is being paid to job creation and to the issue of outsourcing of jobs. Just about every candidate for virtually every elected office in the country, ranging from President Obama and Mitt Romney who are competing for the Presidency to those seeking office in local towns and cities, are claiming how they will be most effective at creating jobs. The issue of outsourcing of jobs is just as contentious. Yet not one word has been uttered by candidates or journalists alike, about how failures to enforce immigration laws creates unfair competition for American and lawful immigrant workers. Not one word has been written about how Mr. Obama’s executive orders to provide hundreds of thousands if not millions of illegal aliens with employment authorization will make it that much more difficult for American workers to find employment.
Saving the worst for last- the biggest cost that went unreported and apparently unnoticed- the cost to national security that is likely to result from forcing the bureaucratic conveyor belt at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to run at warp speed to keep up with the onslaught of applications likely to result from President Obama’s plan. These applications will be adjudicated without face to face interviews and there will be virtually no capability to conduct field investigations to weed out fraud. It must be expected that fraud document vendors are gearing up to crank out bogus or stolen high school transcripts to be used as supporting documents by hundreds of thousands or more likely, millions of illegal aliens who know that gaming the immigration system is often as easy as taking candy from a baby- a sleeping baby! This program will likely enable aliens who participate in this program to acquire brand new identities in false names. This would create a serious threat to national security. Most of the names on the various terrorist watch lists and “no fly lists” have no relating biometrics. A system that is purely name-based can be easily defeated by a terrorist who creates a new identity for himself.
The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel contained numerous examples and instances where terrorists who engaged in terrorist attacks made use of visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud in order to not only enter the United States but embed themselves in the United States, thereby enabling them to hide in plain sight. They were aided in their efforts by failures of the former INS to enforce the immigration laws from within the United States, thus enabling them to remain here to carry out their terrorist goals.
To cite an example, page 47 of the above-noted report contained the following paragraph:
Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.7 Mohammed Salameh, who rented the truck used in the bombing, overstayed his tourist visa. He then applied for permanent residency under the agricultural workers program, but was rejected.8 Eyad Mahmoud Ismail, who drove the van containing the bomb, took English-language classes at Wichita State University in Kansas on a student visa; after he dropped out, he remained in the United States out of status.
On July 27, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic:
A video of a portion of my testimony before that hearing provides crystal clarity about my grave concerns about the nexus between any such amnesty program and national security. Those concerns certainly also apply to this newest amnesty program.
I have already voiced my opposition to the President’s proposal in an Op-Ed I wrote for Fox News Latino on July 17, 2012.
As was ruefully noted by a friend whose son was killed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, his son’s death and the death of the roughly three thousand other victims was, for our leaders who refused to secure our borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws, “the cost of doing business.” That is a price we can ill afford to pay!
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.