The First Presidential Debate and Immigration


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By Michael Cutler

On August 6, 2015 Fox News hosted the first debate for the Republican candidates for President.

Nearly every candidate promised that on the first day of their administration, should they be elected President, would be to rescind all of Obama’s illegal executive orders dealing with immigration. That action would, indeed, be a great starting point for our nation and our citizens.

It must also be remembered that Hillary Clinton promised (threatened?) to surpass the Obama administration’s efforts to provide lawful status to unknown millions of illegal aliens – actually fallaciously claiming that Republicans were opposed to providing a pathway to citizenship for “immigrants” ignoring that the “immigrants” to whom she referred are actually not immigrants at all, but are aliens living in the country illegally.


On May 26, 2015 Progressives for Immigration Reform published my article, “Hillary Clinton’s Position on Immigration – Beyond Outrageous.”


When a list of the major concerns Americans have is compiled, the economy, jobs and national security generally surpass immigration. In reality, immigration is arguably the primary factor in all of those concerns. I wrote about this in my August 4, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, “Immigration and the Presidential Debates – The burning question on voters’ minds.”

Much to the chagrin of the political establishment and most news organizations, Donald Trump’s entry into the GOP’s race for the nomination has made the immigration issue unavoidable. Immigration is clearly the key issue for Americans. Trump has limited his statements to the U.S./Mexican border and illegal immigration. In reality, the entire immigration system must work effectively. This was the focus of my July 7, 2014 article for FrontPage Magazine: “Border Security and the Immigration Colander – Why the breakdown of the Southwest border is only the tip of the iceberg.”

My May 7, 2015 FrontPage Magazine article, “Hopeless in America » Immigration lawlessness and the destruction of the American dream” focused on the Obama administration’s unlawful immigration executive orders that have undermined the lives and livelihoods of Americans.

Even though the administration has taken to not providing information concerning how many ICE agents are employed by DHS, in 2013, the last year such numbers were made public, reportedly there were just 7,000 of those agents. Many were engaged in conducting investigations into customs law violations. It is likely that there are fewer than 3,000 ICE agents assigned to enforcing our immigration laws. To put that absurdly low number in perspective, the NYPD has about 35,000 police officers just for the City of New York and the TSA reportedly employs a workforce of 45,000!
Chris Christie engaged in a heated exchange with Senator Rand Paul about the NSA program to retain the metadata concerning phone calls made by U.S. citizens enabling the government to determine who terrorists might be communicating with in the United States. Paul opposed the collection and retention of the data that Christie favored.

Christie responded to Paul’s attack about how he hugged President Obama, by saying that he had hugged the family members of the victims of 9/11- arguing that it was important to be able to make the connections about the communications between terrorists and others who may be working with them. He touted his background as a “federal prosecutor who had put terrorists in jail.”
It is remarkable that Christie, who was quick to invoke the attacks of 9/11 and his own background as a terror prosecutor has, in the past, supported providing millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents. Of course there would be no way to properly identify illegal aliens in terms of their names and potentially event their countries of citizenship, either. There would be no way to know how long any of these illegal aliens have been present in the United States.

Of late Christie has refused to provide a direct answer as to how he would deal with the millions of illegal aliens who are present in the United States other than to say that there was no way to deport all of those illegal aliens. This false argument has been used by supporters of Comprehensive immigration Reform. As governor he provided illegal aliens students with in-state tuition.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform ignores the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. I wrote an extensive analysis of the nexus between immigration, national security and the findings of the 9/11 Commission in my article for The Social Contract’s Summer 2015 edition, “The 9/11 Commission Report and Immigration: An Assessment, Fourteen Years after the Attacks.”
Senator Lindsay Graham has stated that he would send our soldiers into combat overseas to destroy ISIS and protect America using the old phrase, “We must fight them over there so that we don’t fight them over here.” In reality, ISIS and other terror organizations undoubtedly have their sympathizers, fund raisers and likely – operatives already “over here.”

Furthermore, on April 6, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Connecting the Dots: Iran, Immigration & National Security » How Obama is empowering state sponsors of terror — and weakening our first line of defense” in which I focused on how Iran is currently operating in the Western Hemisphere and, indeed, inside the United States.

Graham, as one of the “Gang of Eight,” was an architect of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Again, it must be noted that the failures of the immigration system that permitted the 9/11 terrorists to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations. Since the attacks of 9/11, more international terrorists have managed to enter the United States and easily game the immigration benefits program, not only acquiring lawful immigrant status but U.S. citizenship.

This brings us to statements made by Senator Ted Cruz who said that he sponsored legislation to strip the citizenship of U.S. citizens who travel overseas to fight on the side of the terrorists. Great idea – but preventing terrorists from becoming U.S. citizens is at least as important. Because of lack of integrity to the adjudications process, terrorists such as Faisal Shahzad (Times Square Bomber) and the Tsarnaev brothers acquired lawful status and even citizenship.

The April 16, 2015 Fox News report, “Ohio man accused of traveling to Syria, plotting terror act” served as the predication for my April 20, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, “How DHS Ineptitude Facilitates Terrorist Operations » A chilling case-in-point from Ohio” in which I quoted an April 16, 2015 New York Post article. “ISIS-trained Ohio man was ordered to attack US: feds.” That “Ohio man” was Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Somalia.

My February 24, 2015 article for Progressives For Immigration Reform, “The Immigration Factor – Naturalized U.S. Citizen Added to FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List” focused on a January 29, 2015 FBI press release entitled, “Naturalized U.S. Citizen Born in Somalia Added to FBI List.”

Senator Marco Rubio correctly noted that not all illegal aliens are from Mexico but come from other Latin American countries. In point of fact, aliens from countries around the world including so-called “Special Interest Countries” that are involved in terrorism, have also entered the U.S. by running that border. Rubio said that we have a problem with aliens who violate the terms of their lawful admission.

Rubio called for making E-Verify mandatory and implementing an entry/exit system. While such an entry/exit system was part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 and was also all but mandated by the 9/11 Commission. Yet even after the expenditure of well over one billions dollars, that system was never fully implemented.

Rubio left out the most important remedy – the need for many more “boots on the ground.” Even if both of his programs were to be implemented, the lack of enforcement personnel and other resources will enable aliens, including criminals and terrorists to game the adjudications process and be granted employment authorization. Simply tracking aliens who violate their terms of admission won’t solve that problem either. Aliens who violate their terms of admission must be arrested and removed.

However the obvious lack of agents and resources is never discussed by the politicians.
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, that contains his commentaries, Congressional testimony and links to his appearances on national television news programs and other public venues.

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