Michael Cutler | Progressives for Immigration Reform
On April 12, 2015, just days after announcing his candidacy for President, Rand Paul was interviewed on “Face the Nation” by CBS News Correspondent Bob Schieffer. CBS News subsequently posted an article about the interview under the title, “Rand Paul on why a “libertarian-ish” Republican can win.”
On May 4, 2015 Progressives For Immigration Reform Published my commentary, “Rand Paul: Wrong on Immigration – Part 1″ in which I focused on the economic issues including the displacement of American workers by foreign workers and wage suppression caused by the administration’s immigration policies and how Rand Paul’s support for removing limits on visas for high-tech foreign workers would greatly exacerbate the attack on America’s middle class.
The second half of my commentary examines how Paul’s support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform would undermine national security and public safety by utterly and completely ignoring the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission (to which I provided testimony).
This component of the immigration issue has taken on new relevance and urgency considering that ABC News / Chicago reported on February 25, 2015, “ISIS present in all 50 states, FBI director says.”
On May 8, 2015 ABC News reported, “The Note: Worries and Warnings About ISIS.”
While some of these ISIS supporters may have been born in America, we know that to date the vast majority of terror attacks in the United States were carried out or were attempted to be carried out, by foreign-born terrorists. Nevertheless, the nexus between immigration and national security is one that has been all but ignored and even scoffed at by many in the mainstream media and our politicians even though America has faced a string of terror attacks conducted inside the United States since 9/11 by aliens who had, in one way or another, entered the United States and then embedded themselves in the United States.
Immigration is not an insignificant issue but is actually a key issue in virtually every challenge and threat confronting the United States and must be seen for what it is, an integral component in efforts to defend our nation and our citizens against international terrorists and transnational criminals.
Consider this excerpt from Chapter 12 of the 9/11 Commission Report:
Before 9/11, no agency of the U.S. government systematically analyzed terrorists’ travel strategies. Had they done so, they could have discovered the ways in which the terrorist predecessors to al Qaeda had been systematically but detectably exploiting weaknesses in our border security since the early 1990s.
We found that as many as 15 of the 19 hijackers were potentially vulnerable to interception by border authorities. Analyzing their characteristic travel documents and travel patterns could have allowed authorities to intercept 4 to 15 hijackers and more effective use of information available in U.S. government databases could have identified up to 3 hijackers.32
Looking back, we can also see that the routine operations of our immigration laws-that is, aspects of those laws not specifically aimed at protecting against terrorism-inevitably shaped al Qaeda’s planning and opportunities. Because they were deemed not to be bona fide tourists or students as they claimed, five conspirators that we know of tried to get visas and failed, and one was denied entry by an inspector. We also found that had the immigration system set a higher bar for determining whether individuals are who or what they claim to be-and ensuring routine consequences for violations-it could potentially have excluded, removed, or come into further contact with several hijackers who did not appear to meet the terms for admitting short-term visitors.33
Our investigation showed that two systemic weaknesses came together in our border system’s inability to contribute to an effective defense against the 9/11 attacks: a lack of well-developed counterterrorism measures as a part of border security and an immigration system not able to deliver on its basic commitments, much less support counterterrorism. These weaknesses have been reduced but are far from being overcome.
Rand Paul and most of our political leaders, insist that once our border with Mexico is secured it would be reasonable – indeed beneficial, to provide millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and identity documents. I addressed this bald-faced lie in my February 5, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, “The ‘Secure Our Border First Act’ Deception » Why it’s no solution to the immigration crisis.”
While the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico must be made secure, there are many more components to the immigration system that lack integrity and must also be addressed. Aliens enter the United States along the northern as well as the southern border. Aliens enter the United States at international airports located in each and every state and enter through seaports. Once in the United States aliens who apply for immigration benefits often succeed in gaming the adjudications process by committing fraud.
My July 7, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, “Border Security and the Immigration Colander” compared each of the critical elements of the immigration system to a hole in a colander that need to be plugged.
Failures in the immigration system all provide opportunities for terrorists and criminals to enter the United States and embed themselves. Indeed, the “9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel” that was authored by the staff of government attorneys and federal agents that assisted the 9/11 Commission included this paragraph on page 98:
Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.
Clearly the process by which applications for immigration benefits creates opportunities for terrorists to acquire lawful status and official identity documents. Fraud permeates this entire process and a lack of resources exacerbates this critical issue. Today USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) already processes well over 6 million applications each year for all sorts of immigration benefits including providing aliens with authority to change status to attend schools, be granted political asylum, acquire lawful immigrant status and be issued a Green Card (Alien Registration Receipt Card) and even become a United States citizen via the naturalization process.
Each year the United States naturalizes hundreds of thousands of new citizens.
All too often aliens are not even interviewed in person for many of those benefits and routine field investigation to verify information contained in applications are not conducted. Imagine what adding millions of applications for aliens who entered the United States surreptitiously will do to this already overwhelmed and inept bureaucracy.
When Paul and other politicians attempt to make the unreasonable sound reasonable by making claims, we need to see past the rhetoric and deceptions such as the claim that aliens who have been living illegally in the United States for years should be granted the chance to come out of the “shadows.” Given the lack of resources to interview aliens who created no record of entry when they ran our borders and no resources to conduct field investigations creates an invitation for rampant fraud. Applicants for amnesty would simply find out what they need to claim in their applications and then make those assertions that will go un-investigated. An alien who arrives in the United States 5 weeks ago could easily claim to have entered the United States five years ago.
It is astounding to believe that the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who have outstanding criminal warrants would voluntarily emerge from the shadows. There are no resources to track them down and arrest them. These dangerous individuals will remain in those shadows and will not be sought by DHS- an agency that lacks the resources and the political will.
On September 17, 2014 Congressman Lou Barletta (R) Pennsylvania, questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about this issue and during the exchange that was reported in a CNS article, “DHS Secretary Says He’ll Do ‘Background Checks’ to Ensure Amnestied Illegals Won’t Commit Terrorism” published on September 22, 2014 Johnson conceded that aliens with criminal histories would not emerge from the shadows. A video of this discussion between Barletta and Johnson was posted on YouTube under the title, “Rep. Barletta questions DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in Homeland Security Committee hearing.”
The only thing worse than no security is false security. The “background checks” that the administration and advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform” tout are all but worthless.
There have been a string of GAO and Inspector General reports about the abject lack of integrity to the processes by which aliens are provided with lawful status and identity documents even without the implementation of this massive program that will involve millions of aliens who entered the United States without inspection. There will be no way to verify the following:
- If the alien has not been previously fingerprinted in the United States or a handful of other countries it is likely that there will be no way to determine the actual identity of the alien including possibly, even the country of citizenship or criminal convictions.
- The alien’s affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations.
- Date, place and manner of entry into the United States.
- Verification that all material questions were answered truthfully and accurately so that the alien is actually entitled to the immigration benefit being applied for.
Recently ABC News aired an alarming report, “The $500,000 Green Card; Are Suspected Criminals, Spies and Terrorists Buying Their Way Into America?”
On January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article: “Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat.”
The title of my March 11, 2015 FrontPage Magazine article, “Ignoring the 9/11 Commission’s Warnings” Even as terrorists expand operations in Europe” could be used to summarize my opposition to Rand Paul’s candidacy for the Presidency – along with my opposition to any other candidate who suffers from this perilous mindset as well.
Michael W. Cutler is a former Special Agent with the INS, where his career spanned nearly 30 years. Mr. Cutler has provided expert witness testimony at more than a dozen Congressional hearings. He has testified before the 9/11 Commission and regularly provides expert testimony at state legislative hearings and in trials where immigration is at issue. Michael Cutler can be reached through his website, www.michaelcutler.net that contains his commentaries, Congressional testimony and links to his appearances on national television news programs and other public venues.