The title of my commentary could refer to a number of aspects of the immigration crisis that our nation is currently confronting and suffering from. Certainly the number of illegal aliens who are present in our country has risen to unprecedented numbers or to put it in other words, the numbers of illegal aliens in the United States has ballooned.
However, for the purpose of this commentary, my use of the term balloon in conjunction with the immigration crisis, relates to the fact that immigration must be thought of as a closed system.
Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue which impacts nearly every threat and challenge that confronts our nation today.
The failures of the immigration system has a huge impact on national security, criminal justice, community safety, the economy, the environment, healthcare, education and other important areas of concern.
While many of our political leaders and journalists simply equate immigration with the southern border of the United States, in point of fact, many thousands of aliens enter our country each and every day through other means. They run the northern border; they may stow away on ships docking at ports along our nation's estimated 95,000 miles of coastal region or boarding small fishing boats that meat ocean going vessels at sea and then simply disembark from that small boat at small, nondescript mariner.
Additionally, millions of aliens enter our country through the inspections process and then, in one way or another, violate the terms of their admission into the United States, by remaining in our country past their authorized period of admission, securing unlawful employment or failing to show up for a job that their temporary work visa required them to work on, or failed to attend the school for which they were issued a student visa.
It is officially estimated that some 5 million aliens who are illegally present in the United States did not run our nation's borders but did, in fact, enter the United States with visas or through the insane Visa Waiver Program and then violated their terms of admission as I noted above. Yet according to GAO reports, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has dedicated only about 3% of their resources to locating and arresting these illegal aliens- this is the equivalent of fewer than 300 agents!
On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic:
Here is a link to a CNN report that was titled, "Tracking Down Visa Violators"
There are those who are convinced that if illegal aliens could be prevented from working in our country that the problem of illegal immigration would be solved. In point of fact, it is important for illegal aliens to be prevented from working in the United States to turn off the proverbial magnet that draws the majority of illegal aliens into the United States; however, this alone will not solve the problem, either.
When the issue of the nexus between immigration failures and the terrorist attacks is raised, there are those who will quickly say that the terrorists were not illegal aliens. In point of fact they were!
They certainly did not run our nation's borders but they lied on their visa applications and a number of them also filed fraud-laden applications for immigration benefits. By ignoring the other elements of what should be a unified immigration system; our leaders are making certain that our immigration laws will fail at their primary objective- protecting America and American citizens for the presence of aliens in our country who pose a threat to our well being and security
Every action taken to bring about solutions cause those who are determined to violate our laws to seek a new strategy to circumvent the efforts of law enforcement.
On March 11, 2004 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic: “FUNDING FOR IMMIGRATION IN THE PRESIDENT'S 2005 BUDGET”
I was greatly disturbed about the lack of money appropriated by the Congress to enforce and administer our immigration laws and angered that as meager as those funds were, the administration chose to slash the amount of money it would ultimately spend on this critically important issue.
During the hearing I was asked by Subcommittee Chairman John Hostettler about the prevalence of fraud in the immigration application process. I responded by comparing the immigration system to a balloon when I said, "You know, this whole thing is like a sealed balloon. If you push one end, it's going to bulge at the other." My focus was on the issue of immigration fraud that is every bit as applicable today as it was back then
Here is the relevant excerpt from the transcript of that hearing:
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Cutler, in your testimony you discuss the immigration application process. How common, in your opinion, is fraud in the immigration process, in the application process, I should say?
Mr. CUTLER. Fraud is rampant. I did marriage fraud investigations. I was also an examiner in the unit that interviewed people when they got married to determine if they were living together.
I think that if we simply look at the idea of employer sanctions, by itself it won't solve the problem. And fraud is the reason that it won't. The people that want to work illegally in the United States—or work in the United States legally will become involved in fraud schemes in order to get the requisite documentation that will enable them to work. So that the guy that knows that he can't get a job because he's an illegal alien may well not leave, but he may well go to a marriage arranger and get residency based on a fraudulent marriage.
So we really—again, this goes back to what I'm saying. You need to have a coordinated effort, a multi-pronged approach, where you go after each vulnerability in turn. And I think 2,000 more agents would be fine, but I don't think it goes far enough. And I think we need better coordination now that we've merged—we're in the process of merging Customs and Immigration.
For example, I understand they're no longer teaching Spanish language to the new agents at the academy. Now, a large percentage of the illegal alien population is solely Spanish-speaking. So we need to do more with language training. We need to—and not just Spanish, I think especially in this day and age we need strategic languages. But we need to approach this looking at the overall problem. You know, this whole thing is like a sealed balloon. If you push one end, it's going to bulge at the other. If you say we're not going to hire illegal aliens, yes, a lot of folks may well pack up and go home. But the more resourceful people and the criminals are going to say, okay, what do I have to do now that they've thrown this other hurdle in my path, whether it's marriage fraud, whether it's fraud of getting labor certification that they're not entitled to. Where the rubber meets the road is where the agent goes out and knocks on a door and makes the inquiries and makes the arrests. So we need to look at fraud. We need to look at how many agents we're assigning to the various task forces, whether it's the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, where I spent many of my years, whether it's the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The point is the work is there that needs to be done, but it's labor-intensive and we really need those agents in the field from within the interior.
The fact that now the administration and leadership in both houses and from both political parties are calling for providing a pathway to United States citizenship for unknown tens of millions of illegal aliens whose true identities are unknown and unknowable is utterly unfathomable!
Just as securing only a segment of the border will cause smugglers to seek to find areas of the border that are vulnerable to penetration, illegal aliens and especially those engaged in terrorism and criminal activities who have the resources, will seek to find ways of finding and then capitalizing on vulnerabilities in the immigration system to successfully perpetrate fraud or resort to other tactics to thwart efforts to enforce our nation's immigration laws.
Of course, under the current administration policies of providing employment authorization for illegal aliens and policies of cities and states to not cooperate with ICE even where criminal aliens are concerned, these aliens won't find many impediments to their goals of entering our country and embedding themselves in communities across our nation so that the terrorists and criminals among them will easily be able to hide in plain sight and ultimately be granted the "keys to the kingdom" that a green card, and especially, United States citizenship represent.