Immigration impacts virtually every challenge and threat America and Americans confront each day.
Failures of the immigration system have cost thousands of Americans and others present in the United States their lives.
The 9/11 Commission, to which I provided testimony, identified those failure of the interior enforcement program, as being at heart of the ability of terrorists, and not only the 19 hijackers who carried out the terror attacks of 9/11 but other terrorists, as well, to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.
Members of pernicious transnational gangs from around the world, and not just Latin America, have easily entered the United States and set up shop in towns and cities across the United States peddling narcotics and perpetrating violent crimes.
Failures of the immigration system have not only surpassed the wages of American and lawful immigrants but have also cost millions of American workers their very jobs.
Nevertheless, for decades politicians from both sides of the political aisle have intentionally refused to effectively address these failures of the immigration system.
Donald Trump astutely understood the true impact of these multiple failures of the immigration system and the anger and frustration of millions of Americans because of them
Consequently he successfully made these failures the centerpiece of his campaign that catapulted him to the Presidency. Unlike most politicians who make promises with no intention of keeping those promises, only to get elected, President Trump did not play that game. He came to office determined to keep those vital campaign promises.
However, while President Trump has issued a series of Executive Orders to deal with some of these failures of the immigration system, several of which have, outrageously blocked by court decisions in what are, in my judgment, examples of massive over-reach by those judges, some of the issues can only be dealt with by appropriate legislation.
On May 16, 2017 Congressman Raul R. Labrador, a Republican Representative from Idaho, was joined by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte in introducing such a bill:
Rep. Labrador’s bill, named to honor two California law enforcement officers who were killed by an illegal alien, has the support of House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
Rep. Goodlatte issued a press release in which he made his support for this bill clear.
This legislation addresses multiple components of the enforcement of our immigration laws including the visa process and the enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.
A summary of the elements of this legislation makes it clear that this proposed legislation seeks to effectively address a number of vulnerabilities within the immigration law enforcement mission of the DHS.
H.R. 2431 addresses Sanctuary Cities, would prevent future administrations from impeding the enforcement of our immigration laws as we witnessed during the Obama administration, would provide for the hiring of thousands of additional law enforcement personnel for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would tighten security for the visa issuance process.
While there are additional issues that would have to be addressed, this legislation is the best I have seen in quite some time, addressing some of the multiple failures of the interior enforcement mission and finally “connects the dots” between failures of interior enforcement and national security.
Most significantly it provides resources and solutions.
On a personal note, it is particularly gratifying for me because I have addressed these failures of interior enforcement at many of the Congressional hearings at which I have testified. In fact, several weeks after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 I accepted then Congressman Tom Tancredo’s invitation to provide testimony to the House Immigration Reform Caucus which he chaired at the time, even though the executives of the former INS refused to authorize my appearance at that hearing.
On December 10, 2001 Tom Tancredo entered my prepared testimony into the Congressional Record. In it I spoke extensively about the need for effective enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. I postulated the need for what I referred to as the “Immigration Enforcement Tripod” in which the Border Patrol enforces our immigration laws from between ports of entry, the Immigration (today CBP) Inspectors enforce the immigration laws at ports of entry and the Special Agents enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.
On March 20, 2013 I testified at a hearing conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee at the invitation of Senator Grassley on the topic: Building An Immigration System Worthy Of American Values.
While I was asked few, if any questions at the hearing, subsequent to the hearing Senator Grassley sent me a list of questions to which I provided extensive answers. My responses to this questions are published on pages 23 through 49 of the published transcript of the hearing to which I provided you the link above.
I hope you will take the time to read my responses because Senator Grassley’s questions afforded me the opportunity to discuss the multiple failures of the immigration system in great detail.
Here is the Link to Members’ statements and prepared testimony of witnesses which also include the video of the hearing.
My 30 year career with the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), including my 26 years as an INS Special Agent, provided me with an insider’s view about the true importance of enforcing our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.
One of the biggest challenges I found as an INS agent was that most of our immigration policies had been, for decades, driven by the U.S. Border Patrol. In fact, when I hired on with the INS in 1971 I was sent to the Border Patrol Academy even though I was being trained as an Immigration Inspector where I spent the first four years of my career.
Back then all enforcement personnel of the INS went through training at the Border Patrol Academy located in Los Fresnos, Texas, just outside Brownsville, Texas.
For the most part, scant attention was paid to aliens who entered the United States through ports of entry but went on to violate the terms of their admission.
On May 11, 2006 I testified before 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?
Scant attention was paid to aliens who committed fraud when they applied for visas to enter the United States or applied for immigration benefits such as political asylum, lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship.
The nexus terrorism and immigration (including visa) fraud was recognized years before the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
In fact, on May 20, 1997, more than four years prior to the attacks of 9/11 I participated in my first Congressional hearing. It was on the topic, Visa Fraud And Immigration Benefits Application Fraud.
That hearing was predicated on two deadly terror attacks carried out in the United States by aliens from the Middle East in 1993. Those attacks involved a deadly shooting at the CIA in Virginia and the first bombing of the World Trade Center.
Clearly members of Congress and other leaders in Washington understood the clear nexus between immigration failures and terrorism but refused to take meaningful actions to address these vulnerabilities to national security.
The “Gang of Eight” or, as I refer to them, the “Eight Gangsters” cobbled together Comprehensive Reform legislation that would have provided unknown millions- likely tens of millions of illegal aliens lawful status.
The news media failed to report that there would be no capacity to interview those millions of aliens who violated our borders and our immigration laws, let alone conduct field investigations into the information that they would have provided in their applications. This would have created an open invitation for fraud and would have done irrevocable damage to U.S. national security and public safety. It would have devastated employment opportunities of huge numbers of American workers, crippled the U.S. economy by drastically increasing remittances wired out of the United States by these newly legalized aliens.
Finally, all of those millions of heretofore illegal aliens wold be granted the authority to petition to have all of their minor children to be immediately legally admitted into the United States. This would overwhelm already beleaguered school districts across the U.S.
Congressman Labrador’s immigration legislation coincides with some of the issues I raised in my article- specifically the nexus between immigration and national security and public safety.
While it does not address all issues, it serves as a good starting point and must have the support of every American, irrespective of political affiliation.
Democracy is not a spectator sport- we the people must contact our representatives and demand that they support H.R. 2431.
RELATED ARTICLE: CBS: 800 Churches Nationwide Harbor Illegal Immigrants
EDITORS NOTE: This column first appeared in FrontPage Magazine.