The Liberal Case for Effective Immigration Law Enforcement

My purpose in tackling the issue of immigration is to provide you with perspectives you will not find reported in the mainstream media and will not hear from the great majority of politicians. My goal is to be thought-provoking and to help you to think independently about immigration. I ask that you put your preconceived notions aside. Most of those notions are probably the result of being hammered by a veritable barrage of myths and falsehoods about the most serious challenges and threats facing America today. It is vital to understand that the lack of integrity to the process by which aliens are granted lawful status in the United States — including resident alien status, and United States citizenship, pose an immediate and direct threat to national security.

Immigration is often portrayed by supposed journalists and many so-called political leaders as being a single issue of relatively small consequence to the nation. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Immigration is in fact a singular issue that profoundly impacts nearly every challenge and threat facing America today. Our immigration laws were enacted to achieve the primary and vital goals of protecting the lives and jobs of Americans. It is hard to imagine an American of any political stripe who would not want those two vital goals to be met. When politicians talk about the work “Americans won’t do,” they are insulting hard-working Americans.

Today I will play “Myth-Buster” and take on these myths, lies, and propaganda that are nothing short of Orwellian. Having raised the name of George Orwell let me provide a pair of insightful quotes of the author from the book, 1984:

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

The ongoing crisis on the border which is meant to separate the United States from Mexico has moved the immigration issue to the lead story on news programs and newspapers all across the country. The reality is that immigration should have always been a major news story all along. It is so important an issue that while the media almost always labels Americans concerned about border security and the enforcement of immigration laws as “right wing” and may accuse them of bigotry, immigration should actually serve as one issue upon which all Americans can and should agree, irrespective of political orientation. That issue is national security. Immigration is a classic example of an issue that is not about “left or right,” but “right or wrong.”

The United States’ borders and immigration laws are the nation’s first and last line of defense against international terrorists, transnational criminals, aliens with dangerous communicable diseases, and those foreign nationals whose presence in the United States would undermine national security, public safety, and the well-being of American citizens. In fact, a country that is unable or unwilling to take defensive measures to prevent the entry of aliens posing a threat to national security has no justification for a military. The purpose of our armed forces is to keep America’s enemies as far from U.S. shores as possible. Today, there are unknown millions of foreign nationals from virtually every country on the planet, living in towns and cities from coast to coast and border to border. If only a small percentage of these individuals have come to the U.S. as terrorists, enemy combatants, or saboteurs we face a grave risk, indeed.

The mission of CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence poses a threat to the safety of America and Americans. CBP inspectors at ports of entry are supposed to apply the appropriate provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to prevent the entry of such excludible aliens. Border Patrol agents are charged with making certain that aliens do not evade that vital inspections process. When aliens are admitted to the United States and then violate the terms of their admission, and when aliens evade the inspections process and enter the United States by running the borders of the United States, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is supposed to locate and arrest such aliens and seek to have them removed (or deported) from the United States.

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.

Although it is rare for these issues to be raised in news reports about immigration, there have been some reports that address the link between immigration and national security. The 9/11 Commission Report and The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel both made ample references to the importance of border security, the visa process, and the need for integrity to the process by which applications for immigration benefits are adjudicated. We will explore some of the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and its staff shortly.

We will begin by examining the lies, myths, and accusations often propagated by many openborders advocates whom I have come to refer to as the “Immigration Anarchists.” The terminology of the debate is critical. For military strategists, the goal is to seek the high ground to gain what is often an insurmountable superiority over the enemy. In a debate, control of language is the equivalent of the high ground. The term “alien” has been all but expunged from the American vernacular where immigration is concerned. This bit of Orwellian newspeak began with President Jimmy Carter who ordered that employees of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) discontinue use of the term “illegal alien” to describe aliens illegally present in the United States. It was strongly recommended that INS employees use the term “undocumented worker” to describe such illegal aliens. Reporters working for newspapers, radio, and television stations also eschew use of the word “alien.”

The actual definition of the term “alien” as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is simply, “Any person not a citizen or national of the United States.” You can find this definition in Title 8 U.S. Code § 1101 – Definitions. Obviously there is no insult in the term alien. There is, however, clarity in that term, and as is the case with con artists and magicians who rely on obfuscating what the audience sees or hears, in discussions of immigration, clarity is often avoided at all costs. Magicians use blue smoke, mirrors, dramatic lighting, and often an extremely attractive scantily clad assistant to distract the audience. Con artists and deceptive businessmen use the small print in a contract or other such tactics to confuse and confound their intended victims. What is truly telling, however, is the fact that there is one instance where the immigration anarchists welcome use of the term “alien.”

The DREAM Act is an acronym for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. Proponents in favor of increasing immigration levels to the U.S. apparently made the decision that it was so important to link the concept of the “American Dream” for illegal aliens, that the term “alien” was remarkably acceptable. Of course, these immigration anarchists know full well that for increasing numbers of Americans, that American dream will become ever more elusive and eventually fail to be realized at all. Another startling and blatant example of hypocrisy that few have taken notice of.

It is incomprehensible that a reasonable American of any political orientation would disagree that our government must protect Americans from the specter of terrorism and threats posed by transnational criminals. Securing the borders of the United States and restoring integrity to the processes by which applications for visas and immigration benefits such as: political asylum, receipt of lawful immigrant status, and United States citizenship should be a first priority. Day after day, journalists on various television programs claim that it is reasonable to provide millions of “undocumented immigrants” with an opportunity to “come out of the shadows,” pay back taxes, and contribute to America. Another widely accepted myth is that we are a nation of “Four Border States.” This is utter folly. Any state that has an international airport, has access to the tens of thousands of miles of meandering coastline, or lies along our northern or southern borders are all “border states.”

On July 7, 2014 FrontPage Magazine published my article: Border Security and the Immigration Colander. In that piece I compared all of the ways in which aliens can enter the United States and game the process whereby applications for immigration benefits are adjudicated, to the many holes in the bottom of a colander used for draining pasta. I used this analogy to drive home the frequent assertions made by many politicians from both political parties that we cannot address the issue of illegal aliens residing in the United States until we first secure the U.S./Mexico border. Of course this leads us to the next absurd argument that the U.S. is incapable of deporting millions of illegal aliens and consequently must resort to dealing with them in a “reasonable” way.

To the average American these sentiments sound reasonable, especially given how often the public is told that to do nothing is unacceptable. The idea, however, that the country is unable to address illegal immigration without providing amnesty is terribly flawed. Given its importance, taking the right step to address immigration is key. Think for a moment of the doctor who takes the wrong action in treating a patient, loses his or her license, and is successfully sued for malpractice. Sometimes doing nothing at all is better than taking a wrong action. Statements to the contrary are often slogans and sound-bites that over time take on the aura of credibility, simply because they are repeated again and again.

Consider the notion of the mythical “Latino Vote.” Is it not an outrageous form of profiling to conclude that all Americans of Latino ethnicity will think and vote the same way? The same lunacy applies when we hear about the “Black Vote,” the “Jewish Vote,” or any other ethnic voting bloc. Such discussions lump all people of similar ethnicity, race, or religion into a common pool and promotes stereotyping which is at the heart of most bigotry and racism. Yet the very journalists who are quick to report that politicians must embrace comprehensive immigration reform to capture the “Latino Vote” are often the same individuals who decry police profiling of suspects.

Consider the term “undocumented” when used to refer to illegal aliens. Although it may sound innocuous, what that term really implies is that aliens who evaded the inspections process either do not have official identity documents, or do not want to provide them because they know that their true names may be listed on fugitive or terrorist watch lists. Use of the word “undocumented” was adopted by the Carter administration which first came to require that INS personnel discontinue use of the term “illegal alien” when referring to individuals illegally present in the United States. This use of language was designed to conceal the truth that should be obvious to all, but then again, in this instance, the following quote by George Orwell is extremely relevant, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.

It should be obvious to everyone that aliens who evade immigration inspections at ports of entry are evading a process that is supposed to prevent the entry of people whose mere presence can pose a threat to the safety and well-being of American citizens. The takeaway point is that people who evaded this process and enter the country illegally are uninspected. No rational person would willingly board an airliner if a number of fellow passengers were observed evading the inspections process conducted by TSA officials. No one wants a seat on a cruise missile! Yet today, we live among millions of unknown aliens who evaded a very similar inspections process conducted by inspectors of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Now let’s consider the 9/11 Commission that was convened in the wake of the worst terror attacks ever perpetrated on U.S. soil to determine how these attacks were carried out. The goal of the 9/11 Commission was not unlike the commissions convened following the loss to two space shuttles, undertaken in an effort to make space flight safer. The National Transportation Safety Board sends investigators to the scene of airplane crashes for similar reasons.

The first paragraph of the preface of the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel begins with the following statement:

It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist travel went on to detail numerous examples of instances where terrorists not only made use of visa and immigration benefits fraud to enter the United States, but to also embed themselves in the United States. Page 47 of this report provides:

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.

The following paragraph is found on page 98 under the title Immigration Benefits:

“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 9/11 Commission staff came to the conclusion that border security is synonymous with national security. Suddenly the term “undocumented” lacks credibility and should call into question why any leader would seek to minimize the true threat posed by aliens evading the inspections process.

Debunking the Myths

Let’s also consider the notion of providing immigration benefits to illegal aliens. Besides the issue of sending the wrong message, there is a far more serious issue with this proposal – the fact that there are no resources to interview the millions of illegal aliens, and no resources to conduct meaningful field investigations in conjunction with suspected fraud found in these applications. Immigration fraud was identified as a tool used with great success by terrorists – and not only the terrorists who so savagely attacked our nation on September 11, 2001.

When politicians push mandatory E-Verify, a program I agree with whole-heartedly, no one ever talks about how immigration fraud would enable aliens to game the immigration benefits program to be issued documentation to easily pass the E-Verify program. It is beyond belief that our leaders can continue repeating the mantra that we cannot deport millions of illegal aliens. Only the laws of nature are immutable. The speed of light is not established by someone with a badge, a radar detector or a summons book. The speed of light is established by the laws of nature. Man’s laws, however, are entirely different. Without enforcement, legislated laws are worthless and meaningless. The strategy of law enforcement agencies and government officials is to warn those who might contemplate breaking our laws that they will be discovered and punished.

Have you ever heard a mayor, governor, or police chief of a town declare that there are too many motorists to find those who speed or drive drunk, or heard management at the IRS say that because there are so many tax returns filed, the IRS would not be able to find tax cheats? Of course not! Why then do we accept these admissions of defeat where immigration is concerned? Clearly the threat of terrorism provides an area of agreement for all reasonable Americans.

Immigration, legal and illegal, not only impacts nearly every issue facing America, but provides enormous profits to a wide variety of individuals, organizations, industries, and special interest groups that make out like bandits by exploiting foreign workers, providing universities with students, and businesses with customers, all while creating unfair competition for everyday Americans. The news reports about immigration generally ignore many of these consequences and all too often provide misinformation, tricking many Americans into believing falsehoods about immigration, and about those who call for the effective enforcement of immigration laws and the securing of America’s borders.

There are similarly other aspects of the lack of border security and movement of people, money, and commerce across our borders that motivates those who profit from this to mislead citizens about the true nature of immigration and border security. For them, borders are impediments to profits.

Of course, as borders are made more porous, criminals, terrorists, contraband and foreign competitors are able to more easily transit our borders and enter the United States. This undermines national security, public safety, public health, and the well-being of America and Americans. In fact, U.S. borders are our first and last line of defense against international terrorists, transnational criminals, and aliens with dangerous communicable diseases who would otherwise undermine national security, public safety, and the well-being of the nation. Borders are also our first and last line of defense against contraband such as narcotics and weapons – including weapons of mass destruction.

We will explore the myths surrounding immigration that have come to be readily accepted. The purpose of this policy brief is to uncover information not readily provided by the mainstream media, so that American citizens can better understand the important challenges that confront the nation today. Knowledge is indeed power. My goal is to empower you to make better decisions in the voting booth and hopefully, to motivate you to contact your elected representatives to have your concerns and demands made known. When we patronize a restaurant we are very specific about the food we want and the way we want it prepared. No one would sit down in a restaurant and tell the waiter or waitress to serve up whatever the waiter wants us to eat. When the food is not prepared properly we either send it back or leave the restaurant. We must certainly be as demanding of our elected officials.

My 30 year career with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has provided me with unique experiences and observations. Having provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission, and more than a dozen Congressional hearings in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives, and numerous state and local legislative bodies, my involvement with the political side of the issue has afforded me with experiences and perspectives uncommon to most Americans.

Finally, I have traveled to towns and cities all over the United States to participate in town hall meetings and debates. I have appeared on college campuses and radio and television programs. What I have found is that most Americans, irrespective of their political orientation, share many of the same concerns with respect to the enforcement of immigration laws in the United States.

When public opinion polls are conducted, participants who define themselves as “politically liberal” or “politically moderate” may claim not to be as concerned about immigration and border security as their more conservative neighbors. When asked, however, about the issues that are of importance to them, political liberals, not unlike the broad spectrum of others who participate in such surveys, will often list the threat of terrorism and crime. The individuals polled frequently cite concerns about poverty and homelessness, failures of the education system, and lack of citizen access to quality healthcare. They often relay concerns about high unemployment and the inability of college graduates to find jobs commensurate with their expensive educations. Finally, issues related to environmental sustainability often make it onto their list of concerns. What they do not realize is that every one of these issues is impacted by the United States’ failure to effectively enforce immigration laws. The lack of integrity in the visa issuance process and immigration benefits program also contributes to all of these concerns.

When the results of these opinion polls are made public, the claim most frequently made is that only political conservatives and those who are “intolerant” are concerned about immigration, causing one to wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg. Often people allow themselves to buy into adopting a particular viewpoint based on what they believe is expected of them. The obvious question then, is whether Americans have been convinced by the reporting of journalists to take a position, or whether the journalists are accurately reporting on how Americans feel about the issues. Before delving into the specifics of immigration, I would like to provide you with a bit of food for thought as well as some tools to analyze how the public is being deceived. My goal is to enable you to recognize the tactics of deception and intimidation being employed by those who have much to gain by swaying public opinion.

In our polarized society, Americans have lost considerable cohesiveness that has enabled us in years past to overcome obstacles and challenges confronting the nation. Today, when we do communicate, instead of speaking with each other all too often we talk at each other. The fact that not all residents of the United States are capable of speaking a common language further Balkanizes our country. We certainly do not need a common religion or a common ethnicity in order to live in a cohesive country. In fact, ethnic diversity enriches all of our lives and expose us to food, music, and art we would otherwise not have experienced. I am a New Yorker and part of what makes New York such an exciting town is its great ethnic diversity. However, when we do not speak a common language we are unable to communicate and share ideas. People tend to mistrust individuals they are unable to communicate with, especially when they do not share a common language. This further exacerbates our problems. While multilingualism is important for people and should be encouraged, a common language is the cement that holds a society and a nation together. This is not about xenophobia but commonsense.

A Nation of Immigrants

We are often reminded that America is a “nation of immigrants.” My own family traces its roots back to Eastern Europe. My mom was born in Poland and my dad’s parents and siblings came to the United States from Russia at the turn of the last century. They did not speak a word of English when they stepped off the ocean liners that brought them to Ellis Island. Their number one priority was learning to read, write, and speak English as soon as possible. As much as America is arguably the most welcoming nation on earth, it is important that those who voluntarily come to live in the country welcome America as much as they want America to welcome them. As my mom used to tell me when I was a young man, “one-sided relationships are not true relationships!”

Along those lines, consider fans filling the stands of a baseball, football, or soccer stadium. The fans in the stands are extremely emotional. Often they consider the opposing team and individuals who support that team as foes. Think of how often riots break out during a hotly contested game, leaving people injured. When the fans leave the stadium after the game they may take out their frustrations on those celebrating the opposing team. In some extreme cases, cars get overturned and blood is spilled. All over a game! Humans are not unlike other creatures on this planet. We often exhibit “pack” or “herd” behavior and may be incited to riot or stampede. Often it does not take much to push a person over the edge.

Public opinion is not only reported on by the media, but is often influenced and even created by the media with all too many people not even realizing what motivates them to take a position on all sorts of issues. How many times you have heard someone take a position on a controversial issue and justify their point of view with statements like, “they say?” Another similar phrase is, “I have heard.” Sometimes these individuals don’t have a clue as to whom they are referring to, or if the information they have come to take as fact is actually true.

Information Is Power

When a government is overthrown, the rebels often focus their efforts on seizing control of airports, train stations, and radio and television stations. Information is power, and when information can be controlled, so can the general public. This is why propaganda and indoctrination are such important tools for totalitarian governments.

A wide variety of corporations understand just how important propaganda is. They spend incredible sums of money on commercials and advertisements to influence how consumers make decisions. They have even discovered a new tool in their efforts to convince consumers to buy their products. They pay film studios large amounts of money for “product placement.” Think of how people associate particular cars with certain movie heroes. How often is the label on a soda can or other such product clearly visible in a scene in a movie? Think of the hero in a film checking his wristwatch to view the time and for several seconds the watch, usually an expensive one, fills the entire screen so that the audience can clearly see the manufacturer’s brand name. Most likely this is not a coincidence, but the result of a carefully planned strategy where the manufacturer of that wristwatch paid top dollar for visibility in the film.

While on the topic of propaganda and ad campaigns, some thought should be given to political campaigns where candidates spend huge sums of money on radio and television advertisements. In order to pay for this air time, candidates often engage in a series of fund raisers where they attempt to convince people, companies, and various groups to make financial contributions to their campaigns. Think of how many IOU’s these politicians must shell out in their quest for campaign donations. All too often this process has come to be nothing short of legalized bribery. As a result, the wealthy are all too often getting the “best government money can buy!”

Now for another important issue, back when we were children attending school, think of how many kids did really dumb and dangerous things to avoid being called “cowards” or “chickens.” Use of these words have caused large numbers of children to suffer serious injuries. The reality is that anyone who would do such stupid things that they wind up in a hospital emergency room to avoid being labeled a coward, is in fact demonstrating the worst sort of cowardice imaginable. As children we frequently played games like “follow the leader” and “Simon says.” Not much has changed for many adults in our country. They still play games like “follow the leader.” Unfortunately, on important matters like immigration, they often pick some truly bad “leaders” to follow.

Consider how many movie stars, sports figures, or others in the public eye do commercials for products known as celebrity endorsements. The practice of endorsing is about getting consumers to play a game of “follow the leader,” right into the stores to buy that product. Half of the time these endorsements make no sense at all. If Mario Andretti, or some other famous racecar driver would endorse tires, motor oil, or other related product, consumers might understandably accept that celebrity’s advice. However, consider the celebrity who becomes a spokesperson for aftershave lotion, underwear, or some other such product. That actor or athlete obviously has no expertise about the product he or she is hawking, yet many people will still buy it, simply because they want to imagine themselves being just like that celebrity. There is a huge emotional component to this process of swaying public opinion.

The point is that when it comes to immigration, the public is constantly bombarded with the notion that immigration enforcement is only a concern for extreme political conservatives, racists, nativists, or the intolerant. As I noted previously in this brief, however, immigration is not at all about “left” or “right,” but about right or wrong. The manipulation of facts and the accusations and assertions about immigration have caused many otherwise intelligent people to come to some very wrong-headed conclusions. This is not unlike the many people who as teenagers decided to smoke cigarettes because as the old commercials for cigarettes used to remind everyone, “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should!” Many of them are no longer alive, having succumbed to lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and other devastating illnesses. But at least for a few years, they felt good that they looked “cool!” The Founding Fathers understood the true importance of conversation, discussion, debate, and even argument. This is why the First Amendment includes the concept of the right for peaceable assemblage, so that the citizens of our nation could meet with other citizens, especially those with whom they disagreed. This is an essential step for achieving a true consensus where controversial issues are concerned. The famed trial attorney, Johnnie Cochran, a member of the “Dream Team” who defended O.J. Simpson at his murder trial is remembered for a number of insightful and clever statements he made during that trial. In hammering the issue of the trustworthiness of one of the police witnesses at the trial, Cochran turned to the jury and said, “If you cannot trust the messenger, you cannot trust the message.”

The polarization of our nation today has caused many Americans to distrust their neighbors. Unfortunately, it is often human nature not to speak with people we have come to distrust and to ignore what they have to say altogether. Because we live in difficult and dangerous times, people need to feel as if they can easily identify individuals who can be blamed for their problems. Politicians and many journalists have, whether by intent or not, engaged in the “divide and concur” strategy that pits Americans against Americans. This strategy keeps us from listening to one another and in fact, makes it more likely that we will accuse each other of being responsible for the country’s problems and focus on each other, rather than the common enemy, which is often both major political parties.

Sharing Common Concerns

Because information is power, when immigration is the subject matter, honest and factual reporting is increasingly difficult to come by. Furthermore, because of misinformation provided by the mainstream media, perceptions about immigration have been created that are often misleading and dangerous. Rather than simply being an issue that concerns political conservatives, immigration is an issue that should be a primary concern for all Americans – particularly those on the political left.

The truth is that irrespective of political orientation, all Americans share common concerns when it comes to this important issue. It is nonsense to believe that apprehensions about unfettered immigration are held only by political conservatives. This sort of disinformation is calculated to divide our nation and our citizens. This is a blatant example of a divide and conquer strategy.

Irrespective of political affiliation, most Americans are concerned about the threat of terrorism. Public safety and public health should be major areas of concern for all citizens. What may surprise most Americans is that about 20 years ago, the late Barbara Jordan, a Democrat who had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, headed up a commission that was given her name to examine the issue of immigration. The report she issued made it abundantly clear that failures to secure the borders and enforce the immigration laws did more harm to American workers and their families, with the greatest harm being done to American minorities.

With regard to immigration, realities on the ground are often far different from what is reported in the media. Indeed, the notion that Democrats care little for enforcing immigration laws is only one of the many lies propagated to alter public opinion about the true importance of immigration laws and border security. Given their impact on the nation, it is vital that all Americans understand the true importance of these issues.

It is often stated that Republicans view large numbers of foreign workers (both legal and illegal), as a source of cheap labor for their wealthy contributors, while Democrats view illegal entrants as potential voters. This is an extremely simplistic view, but does have some merit. The point is that the leadership of both political parties see huge gains to be had when large numbers of aliens are allowed to enter the United States. This is why when the leadership of the Democrat and Republican parties fight over immigration and border security, their “battles” are as staged as were the battles waged by the wrestling teams we watched as youngsters. For the most part, the outcomes of the fights were predetermined and the actual battle was as scripted as a carefully choreographed ballet.

Just as leaders from both political parties ponder the potential gains when dismantling our borders and undermining the integrity of the immigration system, Americans from all political perspectives are suffering the negative consequences of these willful actions. If there is one issue where all Americans can and should agree, it is the absolute necessity of securing our borders against the illegal entry of people and contraband.

Political Collusion to Undermine Enforcement

The financial profits being amassed by a wide array of individuals, industries, and special interest groups, because of the human flood entering our country each day is astounding, and provides these profiteers with the motivation to do whatever they can to persuade politicians to give them what they demand: an inexhaustible supply of cheap, compliant, and exploitable labor. They are not unlike the slave-masters of that dark and immoral era of American history when slavery passed as business as usual.

In addition to the importation of cheap labor, many corporations, special interest groups, unions, religious organizations, universities and others, seek to increase their customers and clients from other countries. The United States Chamber of Commerce has long led the charge to increase the dangerous and ill-conceived Visa Waiver Program. Although we will examine their efforts and the dangers that this creates for America a bit later, suffice it to say that this program flies in the face of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and its staff.

Apparently in an effort to bow to political pressure to increase the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the country, leaders from both the Democrat and Republican parties are in tacit agreement about the need to enable foreign nationals to enter the United States, so that no matter what is said, nothing will be done to solve the problems that this creates for America. Their apparent greed has motivated them to ignore commonsense, the safety and well-being of America and unbelievably, the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and the 9/11 Commission Staff.

Across the United States, some mayors and governors have taken to the outrageous strategy of creating “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens in an obvious effort to entice large numbers of illegal aliens to move into their states, cities, and towns. Of course, such efforts also wind up enticing illegal aliens to enter the United States with the hope that they can make their way to one of those havens. Clearly these mayors and governors are committing felonies under federal immigration statutes.

While the mayors and governors create sanctuaries for illegal aliens, the administration has created a “legal sanctuary” for these duplicitous politicians by not punishing them or their respective jurisdictions for these serious legal transgressions that not only undermine the safety and well-being of the residents of their localities, but creates powerful incentives for aliens to run our borders or otherwise enter the United States to make their way to one of these sanctuaries. When aliens evade the inspections process no record of their entry is created. There is no way of knowing who they are, or why they are here. There is no way to know why they are likely excludible, only that they are excludible. In all likelihood, such are the very reasons these aliens have entered the country illegally to begin with. This is the only reasonable conclusion that can be reached when aliens sneak into the United States, rather than presenting themselves for scrutiny during the inspections process as required by law. [1]

A Nation Defined By Borders

Countries are in large measure defined by their borders. Consider how Geography is taught to students: it is all about the borders and the land and resources contained within those borders. In fact, many of the borders that define countries were drawn in blood, having been established as a consequence of wars. Indeed, a nation’s first and last line of defense is its borders. A nation that is unable or unwilling to secure its borders against the entry of foreign nationals who pose a threat to national security, has no need for a military, inasmuch as failures to secure those borders undermines the achievements, gallantry, and sacrifices made by the military of that country.

Consider that the primary mission of the armed forces of the United States is to keep America’s enemies as far from its shores as possible. How can the armed forces of the United States protect America and Americans if the enemies of the United States are capable of entering the country by evading the inspections process, running the borders, stowing away on vessels or gaming the visa process? Terrorists who seek to attack the U.S. see the borders of the United States as the enemy lines they need to cross. They know that they cannot launch a frontal assault on the most effective military force on the planet, so instead they seek to engage in asymmetrical warfare which is not unlike guerrilla warfare tactics.

National borders are certainly no less significant than are the property lines of real estate property. Consider the definition of the term “trespass” as noted in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

tres•pass noun \ˈtres-pəs, -ˌpas\

1) Law: the crime of going on someone’s land without permission
2) A sin or other wrong or improper act

That definition hardly squares with the assertion, going back to the Carter administration, that aliens who evade the vital inspections process that our Customs and Border Protection Inspectors conduct at ports of entry are simply “undocumented.” The reality is that they are uninspected. In fact the official jargon of the Immigration and Naturalization Service uses to describe aliens who evaded the inspections process is EWI (Entry Without Inspection).

Let’s recall how many times Janet Napolitano, while serving as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, made the outrageous assertion that it is “not a crime to run the border of the United States.” In fact, while an alien who enters the United States without inspection for the first time is not generally committing a felony, aliens who have been previously ordered deported from the United States and then evade the inspections process to re-enter the United States illegally are committing a felony – one that may carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in a federal prison. There are relatively few federal crimes that carry such an onerous penalty. Clearly re-entry after deportation is a serious crime, yet you never hear politicians mention this fundamental fact. [2] Considering all of the foregoing, it is impossible to imagine that these systemic failures would not be of serious concern to all Americans ranging from political conservatives to the most liberal of our fellow citizens.

Finding Common Ground to End to the Illegality

Whenever government officials attempt to bring an end to criminal activity they seek to ramp up enforcement and impose greater sanctions against those who would violate the laws. Because of the dangers posed by drunk or otherwise impaired drivers, not long ago municipalities across the United States began enacting strong measures to deal with these issues. In many jurisdictions throughout the country, permissible blood/alcohol levels were lowered to .08 from what had been the previous standard of 1.0. Laws and ordinances were promulgated that greatly increased the penalties for motorists found driving under the influence, and included suspension and/or cancellation of drivers licenses, forfeiture of vehicles, greatly elevated fines, and even incarceration. Sobriety checkpoints were set up across the United States and commercials were run on radio and television programs warning of the seriousness of drunk driving, and informing drivers of impending police crackdowns on those foolish enough to violate the law. Billboards were used to further spread the message which even noted that “buzzed” driving (or driving while under the legal limit) was discouraged.

If the tactics employed by the administration on immigration were applied to drunk driving, the acceptable blood alcohol levels would have been made much higher. The politicians could have then claimed that when accidents did occur, and people were injured or killed, that the motorists were not actually drunk, so drunk driving was no longer an issue. Fortunately, sanity and commonsense prevailed and drunk driving accidents really did decline and lives were saved.

Isn’t it remarkable that there are far more motorists in the United States than illegal aliens, yet not a single politician has ever concluded there are too many drivers to effectively enforce the laws related to drunk driving? There are many more motorists in the United States who have cell phones than the number of illegal aliens present in the United States. Yet not one politician has ever said that there are too many motorists for law enforcement to adequately enforce the laws related to distracted drivers using cell phones to talk or text while driving.

Most of what we have focused on thus far has been the issue of public safety and national security. We have additionally noted that there have been huge economic incentives for duplicitous politicians and the various constituencies they represent to profit through the exploitation of cheap labor. Notwithstanding the impact of illegal immigration on the U.S. economy, the supposed “legal” immigration system is also being gamed to provide corporations with high tech workers who work for far lower wages than their American counterparts. Advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform are quick to ignore the fundamental fact that adding millions of authorized foreign workers to an already over-crowded and underemployed labor pool will not create more jobs for desperate American workers but will do precisely the opposite. [3] These massive additions to the American labor pool each month through the admission of lawful immigrants and non-immigrant foreign workers, all too frequently results in unfair competition for desperate American workers who are forced to compete with a growing population of authorized foreigners willing to work for lower wages. This forces all too many American workers to have to run up a “down escalator” that is picking up speed!

Flooding the labor market with foreign workers has lowered the wages of American workers, driving many families below the poverty line. In addition to the detrimental effect this has on quality of life, artificially flooding the labor market creates a vicious cycle which prevents the U.S. economy from crawling out of its deep hole. Notwithstanding the importance of this point, there are other important, indeed devastating consequences.

There is no doubt that America is enriched by immigration. Many Americans are the children of immigrants or may be immigrants themselves. The immigration system, however, must have real integrity and must live up to the purpose of the immigration laws, to protect the security of the United States and the well-being of the citizens of the United States. This is common ground upon which all Americans can and should stand.

During the Second World War the United States partnered with a communist nation, the USSR. We also worked with France – in spite of their adherence to the Napoleonic Code which declares that defendants in criminal cases are presumed guilty and must prove their innocence. We even partnered with Great Britain and they drive on the “wrong” side of the road! Because of this combined and coordinated efforts by the allies we prevailed in that war.

Today both political parties have become the adversaries of American citizens attempting to do the bidding of the mega wealthy. Even the specter of extremely violent terrorists openly boasting that they plan to attack the United States directly cannot motivate the majority of our elected “representatives” to seek to address the vulnerabilities in our immigration system including border security and the lack of integrity to the adjudications process.

I am often asked a question by people I meet in my travels around the United States and in fact, it is a question I often ask myself, “What will it take to wake up our political leaders?” Apparently not even the credible threat of a massive terror attack committed on American soil will spur these politicians to take the necessary actions to protect national security and public safety if it involves enforcing our immigration laws. Americans, irrespective of political ideology, should and must band together against both political parties and the politicians who fail to act on behalf of the citizens of the United States. We may not all agree on some issues, but where border security and effective immigration law enforcement is concerned, it is easy to find common ground. Membership in any American political party does not include a suicide pact!

America is currently in a war for survival against terrorist organizations including ISIS and others that include some of the most violent and pernicious sociopaths to be found in the history of the human species. In a war, second place is occupied by losers. This is a war we clearly cannot afford to lose. Americans must support and vote for those courageous political leaders, irrespective of party affiliations, who understand the true nature and significance of the immigration crisis and are committed to acting decisively, making the best interests of America and Americans their fundamental priority.

Immigration is not about “Left” or “Right” but about right or wrong!


  1. Under Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324, it is a felony to aid, abet, encourage or induce aliens to enter our country illegally or to conceal, harbor, shield or transport aliens who are illegally present in the United States. That same section of law deems any concerted effort to commit those crimes by working in concert with others to be guilty of conspiracy to violate the immigration laws.
  2. The relevant section of law is Title 8 U.S.C. § 1326 – Reentry of removed aliens. Section (b) of that statute addresses “Criminal penalties for reentry of certain removed aliens.” John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers, famously remarked, “Facts are stubborn things.” He was certainly correct.
  3. What is also not generally acknowledged or reported, is that already, each month, many tens of thousands of authorized foreign workers are admitted into the United States so that they can work. This includes the nearly 100,000 lawful immigrants who enter the United States each month, who are given “Green Cards” and are immediately placed on the pathway to United States citizenship, along with nonimmigrant workers including workers with H-1B visas and other such nonimmigrant work visas. Additionally, there are exchange visitor programs which also provide foreign workers with opportunities to work in the United States. Foreign students are almost always provided with practical training, which means they are authorized to be gainfully employed in the United States as well.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on Progressives for Immigration ReformDownload a PDF of this Policy Brief.