Immigration System Must Work for Best Interests of Americans

Published on June 16th, 2015

America's immigration laws were originally enacted to protect innocent lives and the jobs of American workers by preventing the entry and continued presence of aliens engaged in crime, espionage and terrorism and aliens who would provide unfair competition for American workers.

Today the administration seems focused on how to enable immigration policies to provide for the needs of aliens, not on the well-being and concerns of American citizens.

Congressman Lou Baretta (R-Pa)
Congressman Lou Barletta

In December 2014, Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about amnesty, the 9/11 Commission report and the potential unfair cost benefits of hiring illegal aliens over American workers. Barletta noted, in part, “When it comes to illegal immigration, the conversation is always about the illegal immigrant and not about the (American) people that it will affect … and it’s not fair.”

Incredibly, Johnson responded that most restaurants in Washington, D.C., employed “undocumented workers” and that he wanted to get all of those undocumented workers “on the books” by giving them work authorization. This outrageous “solution” does not deter illegal immigration, but encourages it.

Unlike Barletta, too many of our “representatives” today do not represent American workers and their families, but the super wealthy, the special interest groups and industries that fill their campaign coffers.

I began my career with the former INS in 1971. While that agency had its problems, the leaders and personnel understood that the best way to combat illegal immigration was to create deterrence through enforcement, by arresting and seeking the deportation of illegal aliens.

Under the “Employer Sanctions” provisions of the immigration laws, added in 1986, employers who knowingly hire aliens may be fined or even criminally prosecuted, but only if ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) takes the appropriate action.

It would have been unthinkable then for the commissioner of the INS or the Attorney General to state that the goal of the INS was to provide documentation for the undocumented. Had they made such an assertion, they likely would have been relieved of their job quickly – not unlike the head of the TSA who was forced out of his job when it was determined that weapons were smuggled past security personnel at various airports by internal investigators (Red Teams).

The swift reaction to the failures of the TSA stands in stark contrast with the lack of consequences when it was determined that, prior to participating in terror attacks, many foreign-born terrorists, such as the Russian-born Tsarnaev brothers and native Pakistani Faisal Shahzad (the “Times Square Bomber”), had committed immigration fraud.

Shahzad first entered the United States at age 20 with a student visa and naturalized less than one year before setting off the bomb he planted in his SUV that he parked in Times Square. In an exchange between the judge and Shahzad at sentencing, Shahzad said, “We do not accept your democracy or your freedom because we already have Sharia law and freedom.” According to the Associated Press trial coverage, the judge then asked Shahzad if he’d sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen. Shahzad responded, “I did swear, but I did not mean it,” to which the judge replied, “So you took a false oath.”

These are just two examples of failures in our immigration processes. The examples and underlying threats in the administration, management and direction of our immigration system are numerous.

As I’ve said many times, our immigration laws are America’s first and last line of defense against international terrorists and transnational criminals. However, the true purpose of our borders and our immigration laws appears to be beyond the grasp of most politicians of both parties, including those who aspire to become our nation’s next President.

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