Immigration, Journalism and the Presidential Race

Published on February 8th, 2012

The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper published an article on February 3, 2012 that provides an example of the ways that immigration is often inaccurately portrayed in the media leading to false assumptions by many folks that can be cleared up by simply considering the facts.  That article was entitled: “Dems face tricky immigration choice”.

The article begins by touting the DREAM Act and the concept of having illegal aliens enlist in the military.  It is interesting that in discussing the DREAM Act the writer, Alex Bolton notes that aliens who entered the United States before they turned 15 would be eligible to participate but neglected to point out that aliens who had not yet turned 35 could apply for participation in the program that this legislation would create.  Think of the potential for fraud, where millions of illegal aliens who had used multiple false names could easily game this system.  If you wonder why aliens up to 35 years of age could apply, you are not alone!  What is interesting is that it is believed that about 90% of the illegal alien population in the United States is no older than 35.  This program would enable the vast majority of all illegal aliens to apply.  The Amnesty of 1986 was fraught with fraud- a lesson that apparently our leaders refuse to learn!

Next let us consider that the idea of enrolling illegal aliens in the military is extremely problematic in a number of truly significant ways, but first and foremost, the issues about this concept that absolutely must be addressed are national security and community safety!

There are currently federal laws that deem the possession of firearms or ammunition by illegal aliens to be felony.  As an INS special agent I made numerous arrests of illegal aliens who were found to be in possession of firearms and ammunition including a suspected member of the Irish Republican Army, during a case I worked in close cooperation with the FBI.

The idea of providing a literal “playbook” for foreign nationals where military tactics and firearms proficiency training are concerned should give every rational adult serious “cause for pause!”

If you want a clear example of how wrong-headed this sort of approach is, you need look no further than the extremely violent Mexican drug trafficking organization known as “Los Zetas.”  A number of years ago, the United States federal government decided that it would be in the best interests of the United States and Mexico to arm and train the elite of Mexico's military and law enforcement agencies in the tactics of our military and law enforcement agencies to enable them to combat the drug cartels of Mexico.  That plan backfired and rather than help bring down the cartels, the newly trained Mexicans quickly found that they could make lots more money by acting as “enforcers” for the Mexican cartels then they could earn by remaining in their jobs with the Mexican government.

Not long after these former military and police officials went to the “dark side” they realized that they could make even more money by supplanting the cartels that hired them.  Today, Los Zetas are among the most violent drug traffickers in the world- trained and equipped by our government!

In my own experience as an INS special agent, back in the late 1970's and early 1980's I worked in close cooperation with members of the NYPD and the NIS (Naval Intelligence Service) to track down and arrest illegal aliens who, as it turned out, had enlisted in the Marine Corps in order to gain weapons and tactical training.  In order to enlist in the Marines, they worked with recruiters who were being pressured to meet recruitment quotas.  These recruiters furnished these aliens, primarily from Jamaica, Trinidad and Panama, with false identity documents.  Many of these aliens went AWOL, stole high-powered weapons and carried out a number of commando style bank robberies in the New York City area.  Many of these illegal aliens did not run our nation's borders but had been admitted into the United States with nonimmigrant visas including tourist visas and temporary agricultural visas.  Those with the agricultural worker visas were supposed to work in the orange groves of Florida and the apple orchards of upstate New York.

We also found other such “agricultural workers” from Caribbean countries who did not seek to enlist in the military but who decided to become involved with a different sort of “cash crop.”  They became involved with marijuana and, over time, with cocaine that they sold from store fronts that were referred to as “Variety Stores” or “Smoke Shops.”  They were extremely protective of their turf and often resorted to the use of firearms to protect their turf and the proceeds from the drug trade.  Many of their customers were high school and even junior high school (intermediate school) teenagers.

Today there is a growing peril to be found in increasing numbers of gang members who have joined the military, enabling them to acquire the skills and weapons that will enable them to pose a formidable threat to communities and to law enforcement when they leave the military.

A truly disturbing article was posted on October 24, 2011, on the website, Military.com that was entitled: “FBI Says Gangs Infiltrating the US Military” which stated:

The U.S. military is facing a "significant criminal threat" from gangs, including prison and biker gangs, whose members have found their way into the ranks, according to an FBI-led investigation.

"Gang members with military training pose a unique threat to law enforcement personnel because of  their distinctive weapons and combat training skills and their ability to transfer these skills to fellow gang members," the report states. Gang members have been reported in every branch of the armed forces, though a large proportion of them have been affiliated with the Army, the Army Reserves or Army National Guard, it says.

Some gang members get into the military to escape the streets, but then end up reconnecting once in, while others target the services specifically for the combat and weapons training, the National Gang Intelligence Center says in a just-released 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment/Emerging Trends.

Whatever the reasons, it's a bad mix.

The issue threats to national security and community safety have to bee seen as the most important areas of concern where immigration is concerned, but immigration does not just impact these two highly important areas of concern.  Our nation's continuing failures to secure its borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity impacts nearly every other challenge confronting our nation and our citizens today.  It is therefore absurd that those who favor various amnesty programs would insist that United States citizens and lawful immigrants of the Hispanic community or any other community, for that matter, would welcome proposals of politicians to create pathways to legality for aliens whose very presence in our country represents a violation of our laws.

People tend to be extremely sensitive to the concept of “fairness.”  How eager would anyone, irrespective of ethnicity, race or religion be to find out that while they had to jump through all sorts of bureaucratic hoops and, perhaps wait years before legally immigrating to the United States, that millions of illegal aliens who showed utter contempt for our nation's borders and our nation's laws would now be placed on the express track for lawful status and, perhaps even United States citizenship?

Furthermore, providing lawful status to millions of illegal aliens at a time when joblessness is a major concern for all Americans is absolutely counter-intuitive.  Any alien who is granted employment authorization is immediately place on an equal footing with millions of unemployed and underemployed American workers who are, in increasing numbers, losing their homes to foreclosure and are finding it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to support themselves and their families!

Let us remember that first and foremost, our nation's immigration laws are blind as to race, religion and ethnicity are designed to protect American lives and American jobs.  Who could possibly take issue with those two critically important goals?

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