Sanctuary Cities and Immigration Enforcement Chaos

  Michael Cutler | Front Page Magazine The murder of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by an illegal alien who had been arrested five times and convicted of seven previous felonies, called attention to cities with a policy of shielding illegal aliens from detection by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known euphemistically as “sanctuary cities.” Obviously failure of the administration to secure our border with Mexico enabled this thug, Francisco Sanchez, to easily gain repeated access to the United States. However, once past the border, the sanctuary policies of California enabled him to remain in the United States with impunity. In point of fact, when asked by news reporters why he kept returning to San Francisco, he said it was because he knew that he would not face deportation in that city.  

Sanctuary cities are the answer to fugitives’ prayers

  Criminals are risk averse. They use false identities to hide in plain sight and seek to live in communities where they are least likely to stand out. They seek to minimize contact with law enforcement. Sanctuary cities are the answer to fugitives’ prayers. For terrorists who seek to embed themselves in communities in the United States as they go about their deadly preparations, sanctuary cities are the answer to terrorists’ prayers, as well. On January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat.” Understandably, the senseless murder of Steinle sparked outrage and caused Congress to immediately take up the issue of these sanctuary cities. However, as I have written in a number of articles, this is not a new problem and the carnage has been going on each and every day across our nation as a direct consequence. Furthermore, the highly publicized hearings are hardly the first. Sanctuary policies have been around for decades and the harm done to innocent victims as a result of these policies, each and every day have continued each and every day. Yet nothing has been done to end this madness even as the body count increases daily. In fact, even after the murder of Kathryn Steinle, a murder that went utterly unnoticed by the administration, incidentally, some candidates for the presidency have continued to support sanctuary policies. Consider this July 10, 2015 article published by The Daily Caller, “O’Malley Defends Sanctuary Cities After San Francisco Illegal Immigrant Murder.”  

Sanctuary cities issues – a long time coming

  I wrote about this in my July 10, 2015 Daily Caller article, “Sanctuary Cities: No Peace And No Justice.” Here is an important excerpt from my article:

Newsmax published an article about my interview and provided a link to a video of the segment in which I appeared with the title, “Ex-INS Agent Cutler: Trump’s Comments ‘a Long Time Coming.’

The title of that article could not have been more accurate in expressing my perspectives on the issue of sanctuary cities and my rage that this issue has been undermining national security and public safety for far too many years. In point of fact, more than a quarter century ago, on March 22, 1990 the New York Times published a report, “Man Is Found Not Guilty In Death of Police Officer.” This report began with these paragraphs:

A 26-year-old former convict who was charged with killing a police officer on a Brooklyn street last year was acquitted yesterday of murder.

The suspect, Renaldo Rayside, an illegal alien from Panama, had been charged with first- and second-degree murder for the March 3, 1989, slaying of Officer Robert E. Machate, who was working on a robbery detail in the Flatbush section when he was fatally shot.

The report ended with these paragraphs:

Officer Machate was a popular, highly-decorated member of the Brooklyn South Task Force Anti-Crime Unit. He had been an officer for two and a half years. His widow, Grace Ann, who was in the courtroom yesterday when the verdict was announced, was six-months pregnant with their first child when the officer was slain. She gave birth last June to a girl, Nicole.

Mr. Rayside, who the police say is in the country illegally from Panama, has a criminal record that dates from at least 1982, police records show. He was deported to Panama in 1986, but illegally re-entered the country. His police record showed that he was charged at least twice with resisting arrest before the shooting of Officer Machate.

There are important facts, at least for me, that were not included in the report. I had physically put Rayside on the airliner to execute the Warrant of Deportation. When Rayside was arrested by the NYPD on those two occasions after his deportation, as noted in the report, Giuliani’s sanctuary policies prevented the NYPD from notifying INS that he was in custody. His presence in the U.S. constituted a felony. In those days he would have been arrested by the INS. I testified at that heart-breaking trial. Thirteen years later, on February 27, 2003 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the issue, “New York City’s ‘Sanctuary Policy and the Effect of Such Policies on Public Safety, Law Enforcement and Immigration.” That hearing was conducted more than a dozen years ago and was predicated on the attack of a young woman in New York who was assaulted by 5 aliens who dragged her into a desolate area and, but for the appearance of members of the NYPD at the scene of the assault who rescued her, her abduction and assault might well have ended with her death. Certainly the debate on sanctuary cities has been a very long time coming. The point is that once aliens get past the Border Patrol or are lawfully admitted into the United States and then violate the terms of their admission into the United States, the special agents of ICE are then supposed to address these failures through the enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.

Immigration Law Enforcement Tripod

  Yet no one is discussing this vital mission. When I testified before congressional hearings in the wake of the terror attacks of 9/11 I discussed a concept I have come to refer to as the “Immigration Law Enforcement Tripod.” In fact, I discussed this with members of the House Immigration Subcommittee after the terror attacks of 1993. The three legs of the tripod are the Border Patrol which enforces the immigration laws between ports of entry, the immigration inspectors at ports of entry (CBP) and both of those operations need to be backed up by the special agents of ICE, which is supposed to enforce our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. All of those legs must be of equal length. This is hardly the case today. I have come to compare this vital interior enforcement component with the outfielders of a baseball team. No team could win a baseball game if their outfielders were prevented from taking to the field. Any batter from the opposing team would get an “in the park home run” if they could hit the ball over the infielders’ heads. On October 13, 2014 I addressed the National Conference on Immigration, Conservation & Environment sponsored by Progressives For Immigration Reform (PFIR) to present my policy brief on immigration, “The Liberal Case for Effective Immigration Law Enforcement.” A video of my presentation at this conference has been posted on YouTube. Here is an excerpt from my policy paper that addresses my concept of the “Immigration Law Enforcement Tripod”

Weeks after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, I testified before the House Immigration Reform Caucus and in describing the roles played by the various components of the immigration system, I referred to it as the “Immigration Enforcement Tripod” in which the inspectors enforce the immigration laws at ports of entry, the Border Patrol enforces the immigration laws between ports of entry, and the special agents enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States and provide back up to the other two elements. The third leg of the tripod has never been given meaningful resources. Today, there are nearly 7,000 ICE special agents. More than half of these agents are engaged in enforcing customs laws which have nothing to do with immigration. There are likely fewer than 3,000 agents assigned to enforcing immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. To put that number into proper perspective, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has more than 35,000 police officers to protect New York City. The entire United States of America has less than one tenth as many ICE agents to protect the entire country.

The population of the City of New York is far smaller than the number of illegal aliens present in the United States today. Furthermore, although it is an important component of the interior enforcement mission, ICE is responsible for far more than simply locating and arresting illegal aliens. In addition to these critical duties, ICE agents are supposed to work to: identify and apprehend aliens who violate the terms of their lawful admission, uncover immigration fraud, conduct investigations into employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens, conduct good moral character investigations into the good moral conduct of applicants for United States citizenship, combat alien smuggling, (including working with the Coastguard to safeguard harbors and coastline against vessels entering surreptitiously), and find and arrest stowaways or crew members of oceangoing vessels that jump ship.

ICE agents are also supposed to assign personnel to work cooperatively with multinational task forces such as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the Violent Gang Task Force (VGTF). There is certainly no shortage of work to be done — just an absolute shortage of personnel, resources and political will to accomplish these vital missions, even though the failure to carry out these vital tasks has serious national security and public safety implications.

This excerpt reiterates a point I have frequently made: The need for securing America’s borders and effectively enforcing and administering our immigration laws and creating integrity to their vital components of the immigration system are not about “Left” or “Right” but about right or wrong. These issues create an opportunity for all Americans irrespective of political orientation to agree with.  

The 9/11 connection

  The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel detailed numerous examples of instances where failures of the interior enforcement of our immigration laws provided opportunities for terrorists to embed themselves in the United States. The report noted how terrorists made use of visa and immigration benefit fraud, including political asylum fraud, to enter the United States and as an embedding tactic. Page 54 contained this excerpt under the title “3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot.”

Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.

In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.

On March 10, 2005 I testified at a hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic, “Interior Immigration Enforcement Resources.” On May 11, 2006 I testified at a hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic, “Visa Overstays: Can We Bar The Terrorist Door?”  

Connecting the dots

  We are facing an increasing threat of terrorism from ISIS, al-Qaeda and Iran. I addressed this threat in my April 5, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, “Connecting the Dots: Iran, Immigration & National Security.” Yet none of the candidates for the presidency are even raising the issue of the vital interior enforcement of our immigration laws. At best, some candidates have promised to secure the border from the Republicans while the Democrats are eager to go beyond the immigration anarchy of the Obama administration. The renewed discussion about “sanctuary cities” must be the catalyst to force the issue of the vital interior enforcement mission to become the focus of discussions to truly address the immigration crisis. All of the dysfunctional and missing components of the immigration system that are costing American lives and the livelihoods of American workers each and every day must finally be effectively addressed. Just as the discussions about immigration must go well beyond the U.S./Mexican border, these discussions must go well beyond “sanctuary cities.”  

Make candidates take a stand on immigration – legal and illegal

  Candidates for the presidency as well as candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate must be pinned down about their plans for addressing this vital element of what should be a coherent immigration system. Michael Cutler is an expert on the nexus between immigration and national security, the impact of immigration on the criminal justice system and strategies to combat illegal immigration, secure our nation’s borders and restore integrity to the immigration system. He graduated from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1971 with a B.A. in Communications Arts and Sciences. Before becoming a fellow, Mr. Cutler had a 30 year career with the INS where he was a Senior Special Agent.]]>