Major Field Investigation Into a Massive Alien Smuggling Operation


I have attached an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) press release below that deals with a major field investigation into a massive alien smuggling operation that has, thus far, resulted in the arrest of 47 defendants who assisted in the smuggling, harboring and transporting of thousands of illegal aliens.

Certainly I laud the success of this field operation conducted by my former colleagues at ICE. As you may know, as an INS special agent I was a member of the very first Anti-Smuggling Unit (ASU) at the New York District Office back in the late 1970’s. We were appalled at the horrific manner in which alien smugglers and traffickers often treated the aliens who paid them for their services.

But as is all too often the case where immigration is concerned- there is a side to this story that was not being told in the press release and one that I believe is important to consider. While the ICE and other law enforcement personnel have much to be happy about- I would love to know where the thousands of smuggled illegal aliens are right now!

I would love to know if the smugglers were themselves, United States citizens, lawful immigrants or illegal aliens. I would also very much want to know if any of the defendants has been identified as being associated with any of the drug trafficking organizations or transnational gangs- such as the Mexican drug cartels.

I would like to know if ICE is doing anything to attempt to identify these smuggled aliens who have apparently fanned out across our nation and charge them with conspiracy to violate our nation’s borders and immigration laws. The press release makes the statement:

“Today’s indictments allege a remarkable degree of coordination among alien smuggling organizations and shuttle company operators – all of whom shared a common currency – people and money,” U.S. Attorney Burke said. “According to the indictments, the defendants conspired to transport thousands of people across the border and onward to destinations throughout the United States – much of it playing out in the light of day under the guise of legitimate business.”

I would love to know if ICE has any indication if any of these smuggled aliens who were brought into our country and transported around our country by the alleged co-conspirators in this case have criminal histories, were previously deported from the United States or were possibly identified as being citizens of “Special Interest Countries”- that is to say- countries known to be associated with terrorism.

Indeed it is appropriate that the defendants who were arrested be charged with conspiracy. Presuming that the defendants will be found guilty, either by trial or plea bargain- then it is to be expected that they conspired among themselves to carry out the crimes for which they were charged. However, the smugglers and other criminals also had to have conspired with the illegal aliens they smuggled across our nation’s borders and are charged with having harbored and ultimately assisted in transporting to destinations far from the border.

I would also like to know if the government will be charging any of the illegal aliens for conspiring with the smugglers with whom they presumably entered into an agreement to pay for the services the smugglers allegedly offered them.

The investigation of alien smuggling rings to ultimately identify the players and dismantle these criminal organizations should clearly be a major priority for ICE and CBP (Customs and Border Protection), however, it makes absolutely no sense for ICE to ignore the smuggled aliens. At the very least, these aliens should be removed from our country- otherwise other alien smugglers who are willing to take the risks to make millions of dollars (as was allegedly the case in the matter described in the press release) will find a potentially limitless supply of potential customers in aliens who will be emboldened if they come to find out that while the smugglers may face prosecution and adverse consequences for their violations of law, the illegal aliens who patronize the smugglers will not face any consequences.

Furthermore, the lack of adequate resources at ICE and CBP makes it unlikely that alien smugglers will be discovered, investigated and prosecuted for their crimes.

It is interesting that the code name for the investigation of this wide-ranging smuggling operation was “Operation In Plain Sight” I suspect that even as you read this commentary that many of the smuggled aliens who availed themselves of the services of the smugglers are, themselves, hiding in plain sight!

If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

Any politician who refuses to work to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity is either corrupt or too dumb to keep his (her) job. Any politician, irrespective of party affiliation who favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the outrageous betrayal that this would represent given the national security implications that this program would have, should be shown the door at the next election!

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.

Later this year, each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Later this year more than one third of the members of the United States Senate will have to face their constituents. They need to be reminded that they work for us, We the People!

However, the practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there. The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to get involved! If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are! We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance. This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated; this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Michael Cutler, a former Senior INS Investigator, an expert witness in more than a dozen Congressional Hearings is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to the ‘911 Families for a Secure America.’ He writes about the nexus between immigration and national security.