A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by the reporter who wrote the article I attached below. As you most probably know, when you are interviewed by a journalist you never know what will be left on the “cutting room” floor. I am pleased that my quote did not distort my views but I do regret that, I assume because of a lack of space, he did not include my concerns about the various aspects of interior enforcement the issue of rampant fraud and the national security implications that this creates. Of course since the attempted destruction of Times Square by Faisal Shahzad, this particular component of the interior enforcement mission of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is once again the focus of many- if not the focus of our nation’s politicians including the President and leaders in Congress as well as within the Department of Homeland Security, those whose attention it ultimately must become if our nation and those who live in the United States, especially our citizens are to be protected.
In fact, when I discussed the issue of the enforcement of the immigration laws I kept on noting that it was more than a matter of having ICE seek to identify and arrest nonimmigrant visa holders who remained in the United States beyond their authorized period of admission- I suggested he describe aliens with visas who are now subject to removal (deportation) as being visa violators. However, where the issue of the various components of the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior is concerned- I will take gladly take half a loaf or even a quarter of a loaf- because for years absolutely no one wanted to even talk about the issue of the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.
Lou Dobbs, the most visible broadcast journalist who was willing to tackle the issue of immigration generally referred to his segment on immigration as “Broken Borders.” In an effort to get as many people as possible to understand just how easily aliens are able to enter our country and then, in one way or another violate the terms of their admission, I cam to say that any state that has an international airport or a seaport should be considered a “Border State.”
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
A few years ago I wrote a commentary about the various ways in which aliens enter our country in violation of law. In order to explain the many ways that our nation is vulnerable to the unlawful entry of foreign nationals, I decided to copy the beginning of the famous poem by Henry Wasdsworth Longfellow, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”
We have been following the terrorist investigations and news reports about how terrorists and criminal aliens I prefer to refer to as transnational criminals because criminals of foreign countries who operate in our nation are able to easily evade law enforcement authorities by fleeing from our country when they suspect that they are about to be arrested and hide in their home countries- often safe from the grasp of our federal agents and police officers. This is, in fact, an advantage that criminal aliens have over United States citizen criminals.
These news reports note how these individuals were able to gain access to our nation and hence endanger national security and the lives of our citizens.
As I have worked to make our fellow citizens and especially our “leaders” understand these serious vulnerabilities I have been frustrated by our nation’s continuing failure to secure its borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity. Therefore I decided to begin this commentary with the first two paragraphs of that poem and repeat what I stated in that earlier commentary as we explore just how insane the situation is.
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower, as a signal light, —
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”
Paul Revere had it relatively easy, there were only two possibilities. The British invaders could only come by land or by sea. Today, were Mr. Revere alive and decided to continue his now “low tech” method to communicate how illegal aliens and criminals and terrorists among them were entering the United States, he would need to have his friend place so many lanterns in the North Church tower that the tower would have probably burned to the ground!
Let us consider some of the many ways that illegal aliens and potentially criminals and terrorists, can gain entry into our country:
1. Running the Mexican border
2. Running the Canadian border
3. Stowing away on a ship
4. Entering the United States through a port of entry under the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program (This enables aliens from 35 countries to enter our country without first applying for and obtaining a nonimmigrant visa.)
5. Procuring a nonimmigrant tourist visa by filing a fraudulent application.
6. Entering the United States with a valid visa and then violating the terms of the visa such as overstaying the period of time for which he was admitted. (US VISIT is not currently able to track the departure of aliens who are admitted for a temporary period.)
7. Procuring a nonimmigrant student visa and then not attending the school for which the visa was issued- (Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, the 19 year old terror suspect who was arrested several days ago while plotting to use explosives to destroy an office building in Dallas, Texas is an example of this method of entry and ebedding in our country as was Nada Nadim Prouty, a woman from Lebanon who entered the United States on a student visa roughly 20 years ago who went on to commit immigration fraud and ultimately acquire United States citizenship. She parlayed her naturalization certificate into a security clearance and a job at the FBI and CIA where she used her clearance to access sensitive databases to spy on our country for Hezbollah!)
8. Applying for and receiving an immigrant visa based on a fraud marriage. (If successful, this ploy provides the alien with a “green card” and puts him (her) on the path to United States citizenship.)
9. Applying for and receiving an immigrant visa based on a fraud job offer, as is the case with the marriage fraud, the alien would receive a “green card” and would place the alien on the path to United States citizenship.
10. Applying for political asylum by making a false claim of “credible fear.” (Mir Aimal Kansi used this ploy. In January 1993, roughly one month before the first attack on the World Trade Center, he stood outside the headquarters of the CIA in Virginia and opened fire on CIA employees who were arriving for what they had thought would be a routine day at work. Two CIA officials died and three were wounded.)
I have stopped this list on the tenth item but there are other ways I have not listed. This is why I refer to immigration as a “system.” If you were attempting to burglar proof you house I do not think you would be satisfied to simply reinforce your back door and declare your house to be “burglar proof!” You would secure all of your doors, all of your windows, all of your skylights and then have a locksmith install solid locks. You would retain strict control over the keys to those locks and then you would probably install a burglar alarm to automatically summon help if some really persistent burglar managed to break in. If you were really serious about the security of you house, you might also consider putting up a fence, installing effective lighting and trimming the trees and shrubs that are located close to the windows and doors of your house to deprive a burglar or criminal the opportunity to hide in the shrubs. There are still more measures you might consider, but you certainly get the idea. Security is best done in layers and must be thought of as a system.
In considering the facts that are presented in the news report below I want you to consider the lack of resources dedicated to enforcing the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. ICE claims that there are all of 272 investigators whose assignment is to locate and apprehend visa overstays! I am willing to bet that they are also tasked with other assignments as well!
Stop and reread that last paragraph! There are just 272 investigators for the entire United States of America- from coast to coast and border to border whose job is to locate visa overstays when it is estimated that 40% of the illegal aliens who are present in our country did not run our nation’s borders but entered through a port of entry and then overstayed their authorized period of admission or otherwise violated their terms of admission!
There is a greater likelihood of getting hit in the head with a snowball in late August at a beach in Miami, Florida than an illegal alien has of getting arrested in the United Staes!
Meanwhile the President and members of Congress such as Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi demand that illegal aliens whose identities are unknown and unknowable be provided with a pathway to United States citizenship as a reward for running our nation’s borders and violating loads of additional laws along the way!
I guess that they are so accustomed to think of laws that stand in the way of their objectives that they have come to see laws as little more than “speed bumps” so why should anyone be concerned about pesky borders or laws, unless your are a citizen of this nation?
We should also consider the statement of Ms Doris Meissner, the former commissioner of the former INS and is currently the director of U.S. Immigration Policy at the Migration Policy Institute. (Even the name of her organization uses a bit of semantic legerdemain (slight of hand)- The Migration Policy Institute- it nearly sounds as though they are trying to determine what flight paths migrating geese should follow! Migration is to Ms Meissner, the former leader of the federal law enforcement agency that is charged with securing our nation’s borders and enforcing as well as administering our nation’s immigration laws who never wanted to effectively enforce those laws!
Consider this quote from Doris:
“You can’t ask the immigration system to do everything,” said Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a research center in Washington, and a former commissioner of the immigration service. “This is an example of how changes in law enforcement priorities and techniques since Sept. 11 actually got to where they should be.”
Doris Meissner, as the commissioner of the INS was unwilling to make the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States a priority of any dimension at all.
This can be made crystal clear when you consider the testimony provided by a gentleman by the name of Jack Shaw who, at the time of his appearance before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims on March 4, 1999 was the Assistant Commissioner for Investigations. He was the person in charge of every INS special agent in the United States. The topic of the hearing at which he testified was:
“DESIGNATIONS OF TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS AND FRAUD IN PRIOR AMNESTY PROGRAMS”
Here is an excerpt of Jack’s prepared testimony for that hearing:
”In reality, the INS still strikes little fear in illegal immigration here. . . . After leaving his home in Mexico in 1996, [the illegal immigrant], age 42, now a landscaper in Durham, was caught three times in a single month after crossing the Texas border with a smuggler. Yet when he made it to North Carolina on the fourth try, he was in the clear. . . . ‘In North Carolina, immigration authorities pose no problems,’ [according to the immigrant] . . . As Congress boosted the Washington-based agency’s budget 163 percent in six years, the enforcement priority has been clear. Each year through 2002, the INS is to deploy an additional 1,000 Border Patrol agents, for a total of 12,000. Yet almost half the illegal-entry problem has nothing to do with border enforcement. The INS’ own statistics show that four of every 10 undocumented immigrants enter the country legally-usually on short term tourist or work visas-and then stay.”
In its determined efforts to establish control of the border by tightening security on the perimeter, Congress has seemingly ignored the critical, complementary roles and responsibilities of Interior Enforcement . . . and these fall mainly on the shoulders of Investigations.
I believe that the concept of Interior Enforcement, supported by a well articulated strategy document, ought to be as familiar in the nomenclature of immigration enforcement as the concept, or term, Border Control. Although, I must admit that even in- house at INS, the Commissioner has said that Interior Enforcement is a term of usage invented by Investigations and devoid of meaning.
Let me repeat and highlight that last sentence in which Jack Shaw quoted then INS Commissioner Doris Meissner: “Although, I must admit that even in-house at INS, the Commissioner has said that Interior Enforcement is a term of usage invented by Investigations and devoid of meaning.”
The commissioner Jack Shaw referred to was Doris Meissner. That is what she thought of the critically important mission of the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. She was in charge and refused to demonstrate leadership where immigration law enforcement was concerned! And now she makes all of these statements about immigration! It takes my breath away!
Jack Shaw showed real courage in speaking out against his boss at that Congressional hearing- but to no avail! Check out the statistic that 4 out of 10 (40%) of illegal aliens back then, in 1999 did not run our nation’s borders but were admitted into the United States via the inspections process and then simply managed to “hide in plain sight!”
Here is the transcript of that hearing in its entirety:
Ms Meissner is now “out there” touting Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
I have always thought that an effective leader was the person who ran in front of his (her) troops exhorting the people under his command to do a better job while sweeping debris off the road so those they led could run more swiftly and carry a heavier load.
I always had visions of Ms Meissnere throwing grenades in front of us, working over the road with jack hammers and sprinkling shards of broken glass in front of us while demanding we run barefoot! In fact, there was a time, during Meissner’s tenure, when the leadership at INS in New York demanded that those of us who were making arrests wear leather soled shoes so that we would look more professional!
The immigration crisis that now confronts our nation did not happen overnight- this has been a disaster a long time in the making!
In my view, the enactment of Comprehensive Immigration Reform would be nothing short of catastrophic for our nation but it would also represent the realization of a dream- Doris Meissner’s dream and the dream of politicians who clearly feel no responsibility to 300 million citizens of our nation whose best interests they are supposed to represent.
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!