My Thoughts About Arizona’s Immigration Law…

As you may know, this past weekend, I was a guest on Fox and Friends and on MSNBC to debate Arizona’s new immigration laws that require aliens in that state to carry proof of their immigration status.

I am going to start out by providing you with a copy of the statutory requirement that addresses aliens and proof of alien registration:

Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

I want you to take a moment and give some serious thought to the paragraph above.

The point to remember is that while citizens of our nation have an absolute right to enter into the United States and remain in the United States, aliens do not. This is why I have come to try to explain the issue of illegal immigration by noting, on many occasions, that the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar.

Throughout the world, nations make clear distinctions between citizens and non-citizens (aliens). According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, that body of all inclusive laws that pertain to the entry and presence of foreign nationals (aliens) in our country, the term “Alien” simply means “Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.

There is certainly nothing derogatory or insulting about that definition. The term alien is simply a legal term that is as old as the Constitution of the United States and it also parallels terminology and concepts employed by every other country on our planet to draw a distinction between those people who are present in a country who are citizens of that country and those who are not.

The importance of citizenship is taken extremely seriously in every country on the face of the earth and, in fact, in many ways, other countries are far more concerned about the distinction between aliens and citizens.

Countries certainly have the right, indeed the imperative of denying the entry of an alien into its territory and also retain the right to remove aliens from their territory if those aliens are found to have engaged in activities that are contrary to the best interests of that nation. In order to achieve this goal all countries insist on aliens carrying proof of their lawful status in their territory. Without such proof officials of governments would be utterly unable to deal effectively with foreign nationals who are present within their borders. In fact, many countries also require their own citizens to always carry official identity documents to properly identify the people within their borders. The purpose of identity documents is to answer what is arguably the most fundamental question anyone can be asked either in a social situation or in a business or governmental situation- “Who are you?”

Governments on all levels- federal, state and local have an obligation to provide for the safety and security of those who live within the territory that is under their jurisdiction. In order to accomplish this fundamental and essential goal it is important for law enforcement to be able to identify people who are encountered in the course of official business. This most basic and fundamental responsibility of providing for the safety and security of those who are present within the jurisdiction of a government requires that law enforcement officers be provided with basic tools to facilitate their work.

For decades our federal government has done an abysmal job of securing the borders of the United States and creating an immigration system that has even a modicum of integrity. This is why there are now unknown millions of illegal aliens who are present in our country. As I have often noted- immigration is not a single issue but is a major factor in nearly every challenge that confronts our nation today. Everything from national security and criminal justice to the economy, the environment, healthcare and education are getting slammed and so are other areas of concern.

The state legislature of Arizona, in recognizing these failures of the federal government created a bill that the governor of Arizona signed this past weekend, which would address the vacuum created by a crisis of leadership and integrity in Washington. They enacted legislation that would require aliens present in that state to carry proof of alien registration.

It is my position that these political leaders had no choice. About two weeks ago, a rancher by the name of Rob Krentz was brutally murdered on his own ranch in Arizona- it is believed that the murdered was an illegal alien who apparently fled back to Mexico after he gunned down Mr. Krentz and his dog in an apparently cowardly ambush. The border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico has, in some areas, become a virtual “free fire zone!”

Phoenix, Arizona now has the undesirable nickname of “Kidnap Capital of the Western Hemisphere” with an average of one kidnapping and/or home invasion being reported to police each and every day!

For the state government to fail to act would constitute dereliction duty! Isn’t it bad enough that the federal government has been guilty of this dereliction of duty for decades?

Dereliction of duty is what enabled the terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 to enter our country and then embed themselves in our country as they prepared to slaughter three thousand innocent victims. Dereliction of duty is what enabled the other terrorist attacks to have been carried out more than 17 years ago at the CIA and at the World Trade Center in 1993, with both attacks coming just weeks apart. Had the Clinton administration been willing to address the ways that the terrorists of those attacks had gamed the immigration system and the visa system the terrorists who savagely attacked our nation on 9/11 would not have been able to enter our country as they did and, hence, could not have attacked us.

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are now ranting and raving about Arizona’s law that requires aliens to carry their identity documents on them. My suggestion is that they be provided with the legal paragraph I you at the beginning of this commentary. I actually copied that paragraph, word for word from the Immigration and Nationality Act that was enacted nearly 60 years ago! That paragraph still applies today- under the federal laws governing the presence of aliens in the United States. Furthermore, this requirement has its origins in the 1940 Alien Registration Act.

The paragraph is actually to be found in the following section of law contained within the current Immigration and Nationality Act:

8 U.S.C.

  • 1304 : US Code – Section 1304(e)

    Here is that section in its entirety: FindLaw 8 U.S.C.

  • 1304 : US Code – Section 1304: Forms for registration and fingerprinting

    (a) Preparation; contents The Attorney General and the Secretary of State jointly are authorized and directed to prepare forms for the registration of aliens under section 1301 of this title, and the Attorney General is authorized and directed to prepare forms for the registration and fingerprinting of aliens under section 1302 of this title. Such forms shall contain inquiries with respect to (1) the date and place of entry of the alien into the United States; (2) activities in which he has been and intends to be engaged; (3) the length of time he expects to remain in the United States; (4) the police and criminal record, if any, of such alien; and (5) such additional matters as may be prescribed.

    (b) Confidential nature All registration and fingerprint records made under the provisions of this subchapter shall be confidential, and shall be made available only (1) pursuant to section 1357(f)(2) of this title, and (2) to such persons or agencies as may be designated by the Attorney General.

    (c) Information under oath Every person required to apply for the registration of himself or another under this subchapter shall submit under oath the information required for such registration. Any person authorized under regulations issued by the Attorney General to register aliens under this subchapter shall be authorized to administer oaths for such purpose.

    (d) Certificate of alien registration or alien receipt card Every alien in the United States who has been registered and fingerprinted under the provisions of the Alien Registration Act, 1940, or under the provisions of this chapter shall be issued a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card in such form and manner and at such time as shall be prescribed under regulations issued by the Attorney General.

    (e) Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

    (f) Alien’s social security account number Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Attorney General is authorized to require any alien to provide the alien’s social security account number for purposes of inclusion in any record of the alien maintained by the Attorney General or the Service.

    If the basic requirement that aliens who are present in our country always carry proof of alien registration- a requirement mandated by nearly every other nation on this planet is seen as controversial, especially by the President, the Attorney General and other high ranking government officials in Washington and in state and local governments – then we are in deeper trouble than I thought possible!

    We the People can add to the consternation of these politicians who are failing to live up to their oaths of office by contacting them and making it abundantly clear that election day is coming and they should think of election day as their personal “Day of Reckoning!”

    Our government must live up to its obligation of protecting its own citizens and, indeed, all who are present in our country from the criminals and terrorists who would threaten our lives and the survival of our nation and our way of life. In the end, the government is actually those who are elected to act as our “leaders.” Those who fail to truly lead and look out for those they are supposed to represent, need to be sent packing this coming Election Day!

    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. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

    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!

  • Michael Cutler
    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.