Response to ‘U.S. Can’t Trace Foreign Visitors on Expired Visas’

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The news report I have attached below appears in today’s edition of the New York Times and should be of great concern to all Americans.

It details how more than 8 years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the expenditure of more than one billion dollars, our nation is still unable to reliably track the departure of aliens from the United States even though the 9/11 Commission made it clear that the ability to track the arrival and departure of aliens in the United States was a critical requirement for national security.

Indeed, the instant matter of a young man by the name of Hosam Maher Husein Smadi- a 19 year old from Jordan was arrested by the FBI for attempting to plant a bomb in a Dallas, Texas skyscraper.

Mr. Smadi had an encounter with local police shortly before his arrest but because immigration, in all of its ineptitude failed to make this information available to law enforcement authorities and because the FBI apparently failed to post their interest in Mr. Smadi in the computerized database that law enforcement uses to identify wanted individuals, even after being arrested by the local cops, Mr. Smadi was able to simply pay a $550.00 bond and go on his merry way as he continued working on his terrorist plan. Somewhat ironically, this took place on the evening of September 11, 2009- the eighth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11!

I will dissect the news report to show you how the enforcement of the immigration laws relates directly to national security and our nations purported “War on Terror.”

First of all I want you to pay attention to the conflicting statistics noted in the report concerning how many foreign nationals (aliens) enter our country but whose departure is not verified and thus how many illegal aliens who are currently in our country who did not run our borders in order to gain entry into our country but simply walked into a port of entry, were admitted by the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspector and then simply melted into communities across our nation and engaged in the immigration version of a game that just about every child has played called, “Hide and Seek.”

The immigration version of this game should be more accurately called, “You hide and we won’t seek!” In part this is because of an extreme lack of resources and in part this is the result of having “leadership” at DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) or as I have come to refer to it- “The Department of Homeland Surrender” refusing to make the apprehension of illegal aliens a goal worth pursuing!

In considering the statistics please note that at the beginning of the article it is estimated that last year alone, some 2.9 million aliens entered our country but then failed to depart. The article also notes that an estimated 40% of the illegal aliens in the United States did not run our nation’s borders but entered through ports of entry and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission.

This includes aliens who failed to depart the United States when their authorized period of admission expired, aliens who obtained unlawful employment, aliens who were convicted of committing felonies, etc.

On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic:

“VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?”

You can read the transcript of that hearing at: http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa27480.000/hfa27480_0f.htm

As you read the news report below, you will notice a clear conflict in the statistics about the magnitude of the number of illegal aliens whose presence in our country is attributable to the failure of aliens who were “temporarily admitted” who failed to depart the United States. DHS claims that of the 39 million of such temporarily admitted aliens, DHS has been able (somehow) to account for 92.5% of them and that only some 200,000 are believed to have intentionally overstayed their authorized period in the United States. (I wonder how you might unintentionally still be in the United States.)

That is one heck of a discrepancy! Nearly 3 million illegal aliens vs. 200,000!

This is the agency that is now gearing up to provide God knows how many illegal aliens with a “pathway to United States citizenship!”

Senator Schumer, the chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee issued a statement several months ago wherein he declared our nation’s borders secure and thus it would be appropriate for our nation to go ahead and implement “Comprehensive Immigration Reform!”

As the chairman of the senate subcommittee that has oversight responsibility for the enforcement and administration of the immigration laws, I am flabbergasted that he, of all of the members of the United States Senate would make such a statement!

First of all, there are many reasons why Comprehensive Immigration Reform is absolutely contrary to the best interests of the United States and the citizens of the United States- but even ignoring this rudimentary fact, I do not know how Mr. Schumer could think that our nation’s land borders even come close to being secure. I also do not know how he could possibly ignore the abysmal situation at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) the agency that would have to administer his pet “Comprehensive Immigration Reform program.

And now we come to the icing on the cake- the fact that there is no way that our government, even after the expenditure of more than one billion dollars over a period of many years is still unable to have a clue as to how many aliens who are temporarily admitted into the United States depart from the United States when they are supposed to!

Incidentally, I also have a wild hunch. I believe that the government does not want to know how many aliens fail to depart because when the Visa Waiver Program was first implemented, one of the requirements for a nation to become a participant in that ill-conceived and dangerous program was that the citizens of those nations had to have a low rate where failure to depart the United States within their authorized period of admission was concerned. You really have to wonder how many countries would have to be dropped from the Visa Waiver Program if the true number of such errant aliens was known!

We should also consider the statement of Ms Doris Meissner, the former commissioner of the former INS. Consider this quote from Doris:

“You can’t ask the immigration system to do everything,” said Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a research center in Washington, and a former commissioner of the immigration service. “This is an example of how changes in law enforcement priorities and techniques since Sept. 11 actually got to where they should be.”

Doris Meissner, as the commissioner of the INS was unwilling to make the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States a priority of any dimension at all.

This can be made crystal clear when you consider the testimony provided by a gentleman by the name of Jack Shaw who, at the time of his appearance before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims on March 4, 1999 was the Assistant Commissioner for Investigations. He was the person in charge of every INS special agent in the United States. The topic of the hearing at which he testified was:

“DESIGNATIONS OF TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS AND FRAUD IN PRIOR AMNESTY PROGRAMS”

Here is an excerpt of Jack’s prepared testimony for that hearing:

”In reality, the INS still strikes little fear in illegal immigration here. . . . After leaving his home in Mexico in 1996, [the illegal immigrant], age 42, now a landscaper in Durham, was caught three times in a single month after crossing the Texas border with a smuggler. Yet when he made it to North Carolina on the fourth try, he was in the clear. . . . ‘In North Carolina, immigration authorities pose no problems,’ [according to the immigrant] . . . As Congress boosted the Washington-based agency’s budget 163 percent in six years, the enforcement priority has been clear. Each year through 2002, the INS is to deploy an additional 1,000 Border Patrol agents, for a total of 12,000. Yet almost half the illegal-entry problem has nothing to do with border enforcement. The INS’ own statistics show that four of every 10 undocumented immigrants enter the country legally-usually on short term tourist or work visas-and then stay.”

In its determined efforts to establish control of the border by tightening security on the perimeter, Congress has seemingly ignored the critical, complementary roles and responsibilities of Interior Enforcement . . . and these fall mainly on the shoulders of Investigations.

I believe that the concept of Interior Enforcement, supported by a well articulated strategy document, ought to be as familiar in the nomenclature of immigration enforcement as the concept, or term, Border Control. Although, I must admit that even in- house at INS, the Commissioner has said that Interior Enforcement is a term of usage invented by Investigations and devoid of meaning.

Let me repeat and highlight that last sentence in which Jack Shaw quoted then INS Commissioner Doris Meissner: “Although, I must admit that even in-house at INS, the Commissioner has said that Interior Enforcement is a term of usage invented by Investigations and devoid of meaning.”

The commissioner Jack Shaw referred to was Doris Meissner. That is what she thought of the critically important mission of the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. She was in charge and refused to demonstrate leadership where immigration law enforcement was concerned! And now she makes all of these statements about immigration! It takes my breath away!

Jack Shaw showed real courage in speaking out against his boss at that Congressional hearing- but to no avail! Check out the statistic that 4 out of 10 (40%) of illegal aliens back then, in 1999 did not run our nation’s borders but were admitted into the United States via the inspections process and then simply managed to “hide in plain sight!”

Here is the transcript of that hearing in its entirety:

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/judiciary/hju59871.000/hju59871_0f.htm

Finally, the news article makes the point I have made on so many occasions and at so many venues. Individuals involved in terrorism and other nefarious areas of endeavor hide in plain sight by securing unlawful employment. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was not different. The article notes how he was able to obtain an identity document and a job even though he was illegally present in the United States and was, on top of that, a citizen of a country from the Middle East at a time when our nation continues to be waging what has been described as a War on “Terror!”

To put this in perspective, I would remind you that when our nation was attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 it took our nation all of three and a half years to mount a successful effort to join with our allies and defeat the Axis Powers. In order to accomplish this goal the United States of America had to construct fleets of naval vessels that had never existed before, fleets of brand new airplanes ranging from revolutionary fighter planes and equally revolutionary bombers, tanks, radar, and even atomic weapons with unproven technology.

Today, the United States of America is unable to track the arrival and departure of aliens although Fed Ex, UPS and other such companies can track with virtual the precise locations of each and every parcel they move each and every day.

The United States which landed men on the moon more than 40 years ago is still unable to complete a fence along its southern border today- more than 8 years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001!

We have “leaders” who are hell-bent (figuratively and in reality- it would seem) to provide millions of illegal aliens whose identities, backgrounds, associations and affiliations are unknown and unknowable- with official identity documents and a pathway to United States citizenship!

I have often stated that the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar! If you accept this analogy, then you must also accept the premise that to provide illegal aliens with amnesty (Comprehensive Immigration Reform) is the equivalent of providing a burglar with the key to your front door and the code to your burglar alarm!

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

In less than two years each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. In less than two years 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! You need to politely but pointedly, demand to know what they are doing to protect our nation. You need to ask them how they are protecting you and your families. You can also forward this commentary to them. 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. Can’t Trace Foreign Visitors on Expired Visas By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. and JULIA PRESTON

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.