This past Friday Lou Dobbs Tonight, as might be expected, covered two important immigration stories.
CNN Correspondent Lisa Sylvester reported on yet another attempt to jam AGJOBS legislation down our throats and Bill Tucker did a piece about the need for police to check with ICE to determine the background of criminals who are arrested.
Here my thoughts about both news reports. I have attached the transcript of the portion of the program that covered those issues.
First of all, Senator Chuck Schumer was the legislative architect of the SAW (Special Agricultural Workers) provisions of the 1987 Amnesty. At that time he was a congressman and, in fact, “represented” my congressional district back in 1987. It is worth noting that there was not then, nor is there now, a single farm in that entire district. Now as the chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee he has already conducted a hearing a couple of weeks ago entitled:
“Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?”
As I noted in my previous commentary, last week, about this hearing, the title reminded me of the lawyer joke in which the name of an apocryphal law firm was, “Dewey, Cheatham and Howe!”
I met with Schumer in 1986 and all but begged him to not push that legislation or even support the amnesty program. He was arrogant, beyond words. I recall telling him that if the government enacted amnesty and especially his provisions, that if my son, who at that time was one year old, would decide to become an immigration agent when he turned 21, would have job security because of the massive fraud crisis that this legislation would cause.
Schumer got annoyed and told me that he needed to end our 15 minute meeting early because his next appointment had already shown up!
Here are a couple of points to consider about the AGJOBS amnesty:
1. Rosemary Jenks is, of course, absolutely correct about the fraud issue- I assisted in the investigation of a farm that had been heavily involved in fraud. How would a relative handful of adjudicators deal with an alien who claimed to have worked under various false names and simply had to provide unverifiable “proof” of having worked on a farm?
2. Notwithstanding Dianne Feinstein’s claim of the extreme need for agricultural workers- without an adequate number of special agents at ICE, there would be absolutely no way to insure that even aliens who enter the United States as H-2A farm workers will even show up to spend one day on a farm, let alone work on farms any length of time at all. There is virtually no policing of any of these programs. If there is such concern about providing farms with an adequate number of farm workers, why doesn’t Senator Feinstein request that ICE have the resources to enforce the status of these “temporary” farm workers and other such nonimmigrant aliens? Simply admitting purported farm workers does not help the farmers she claims she wants to help- those workers need to actually do work on the farms! There is virtually nothing to stop an alleged “farm worker” from simply getting a visa and then, upon entry into the United States, disappearing into the woodwork, never to be heard from again until, perhaps, he commits a crime or files an application for residency based on a bogus marriage!
3. On February 26, 1993, as I am certain you know, the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists. I cited that attack when I testified before a House Judiciary Committee field hearing in Dubuque, Iowa on September 1, 2006.
The topic of the hearing was:
“IS THE REID-KENNEDY BILL A REPEAT OF THE FAILED AMNESTY OF 1986?”
Here is the link to the transcript of that hearing:
I think you may want to consider a portion of my prepared testimony when I talked about Mahmud Abouhalima- one of the terrorists who participated in that first attack on the World Trade Center. Although he was granted amnesty as an “agricultural worker” the only thing he ever planted in our country was a bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center!
Here is the paragraph from my testimony at that hearing:
A notable example of such a terrorist can be found in a review of the facts concerning Mahmud Abouhalima, a citizen of Egypt who entered the United States on a tourist visa, overstayed his authorized period of admission and then applied for amnesty under the agricultural worker provisions of IRCA. He succeeded in obtaining resident alien status through this process. During the 5 year period he drove a cab and had his license suspended numerous times for various violations of law and he ultimately demonstrated his appreciation for our Nation’s generosity by participating in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 that left six people dead, hundreds of people injured and an estimated one-half billion dollars in damages inflicted on that iconic, ill-fated complex.
America had opened his doors to him so that he might participate in the American dream and he turned that dream into our worst nightmare. The other terrorists who attacked our Nation on subsequent attacks, including the attacks of September 11, 2001, similarly exploited our generosity, seeing in our Nation’s kindness, weakness, gaming the immigration system to enter our country and then hide in plain sight among us.
The issue is that as is the case with any massive amnesty program, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is now unable to carry out its critical mission of deterring fraud. There are just a few hundred investigators at that beleaguered agency trying to create integrity while each year the adjudicators deal with more than 6 million applications
To provide illegal aliens whose identities, affiliations and intentions are unknown and unknowable will create a huge national security nightmare for our nation and, at the same time, not really provided the workers that the proponents of this insane program claim it would. There would be absolutely no reason for these aliens to work on a farm when they realize that there will be no one making certain about where they work. They would, no doubt, be able to find willing farmers who would be happy to provide letters certifying that they worked on their farms for the “right price!”
When I was an INS special agent, I encountered numerous examples of fraud where the Schumer SAW provisions of the 1986 amnesty program.
To cite one of many examples, I recall interviewing an alien who was being questioned as his possible involvement in a narcotics trafficking organization we were investigating when I was assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. I asked him about his immigration status and he quickly produced his green card. I asked him about how he became a resident alien (lawful immigrant) and he quickly told me that he had worked on a farm and that was how he got his residency.
I asked him what sort of farm he worked on and he told me that he had worked on a watermelon farm. Not believing him because of many inconsistencies in answers he had provided to me and agents of the DEA who were present during the interview, I asked him how tall the ladders were that he used to harvest the watermelons. He looked me in the eye and told me that he was scared to death to work on the farm because the ladders he used to pick the watermelons off the trees were more than 40 feet tall!
You should have seen the looks on the DEA agents’ faces!
File it under “You can’t make this stuff up!”
As for the question Lou used for his audience survey about whether or not the police should routinely check immigration status- I don’t think you will be surprised that I would emphatically demand this be done!
It is important for a number of reasons- but first and foremost- if a criminal alien is wanted for deportation, there is a greater potential for that individual to be willing to take drastic action against that police officer.
(In 1990 I testified at the trial of a Panamanian national, Renaldo Rayside, an illegal alien who had physically put on an airplane in 1982 pursuant to an order of deportation after he had served a jail sentence for a narcotics conviction. On March 3, 1989 Rayside and another man was stopped by two police officers. It was alleged that Rayside grabbed the pistol of Police Officer Robert E. Machate, Jr., and shot him fatally. Although acquitted of the murder charge he was found guilty of other felonies in conjunction with that crime.)
You can read a New York Time article about that case at:
On September 21, 2006, a Houston police officer, Rodney Johnson was shot to death by Juan Quintero, an illegal alien from Mexico who had been previously deported for molesting a young girl. A couple of weeks ago I testified at a hearing conducted by the Texas State Senate on the issue of “Sanctuary cities.”
Also testifying at that hearing was that police officer’s widow, Jocelyn Johnson who is also a police officer- she is a sergeant with the same police department.
There are many other such examples of criminal aliens who have killed police officers around the United States to avoid being prosecuted for the crime of reentry after deportation and / or avoid being deported once again.
On February 27, 2003 I testified at a hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims about the issue:
“NEW YORK CITY’S ‘SANCTUARY’ POLICY AND THE EFFECT OF SUCH POLICIES ON PUBLIC SAFETY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND IMMIGRATION”
You can read the transcript of that hearing at:
I have compiled a list of six solid benefits to be gained by having local law enforcement officials work with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement):
Access to immigration files to provide investigative leads when a criminal alien is being sought as a fugitive or suspect of a crime.
Access to immigration file can also provide vital information to a judge when a criminal alien is arrested and the judge is attempting to set bail. The immigration file can provide evidence of risk of flight based on numerous identities, occasions when the defendant jumped bail in an immigration matter and failed to appear for a hearing. The file can also provide evidence of prior deportations. (As an immigration agent, I often testified at bail hearings to provide this sort of vital information to the court.)
If a plea bargain is being arranged, local and state prosecutors should work in close cooperation with federal immigration counsels to make certain that in the process of working out a plea-bargain arrangement that they don’t inadvertently eliminate a conviction that have would rendered the alien deportable.
Working cooperatively with ICE, it would be far easier to cultivate informants. Informants are often essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of criminals and criminal organizations as well as terrorists and their associates. The immigration laws provide a huge “carrot and stick” to this end.
There are a number of laws that can be used to hammer criminal aliens under the federal code. For example, the penalty for an illegal alien in possession of a firearm carries a 5 year penalty. There are other such laws in the federal code that deal with the possession and use of false identity documents and for the crime of reentry after deportation. A criminal alien who is deported from the United States and then unlawfully reenters the United States is facing a maximum of 20 years in jail. Without the federal government being made aware of these violations of law, none of these penalties come into play.
When an alien is convicted of a crime, by working in close coordination with federal immigration authorities, a detainer can be lodged to make certain that upon release from jail when his (her) sentence is completed, the criminal alien will be deported from the United States and thus be removed from the streets of Americas towns and cities.
Additionally, as I noted in my “Top 6 List” of reasons that it is important for local police agencies to work with ICE, information contained in an alien’s immigration file may prove to be a veritable “treasure trove” of information about a criminal alien’s risk of flight as evidence by such factors as previous incidents when that alien was previously deported and unlawfully reentered the United States, failed to show up for an immigration court hearing, used multiple false names and provided nonexistent addresses to immigration officials or otherwise demonstrated that he (she) would be unlikely to abide by a court order to return to court.
Additionally, it is important for ICE to be aware of a criminal alien who is facing potential additional prosecution so that ICE can, as Bill Tucker noted in his excellent report, lodge a detainer to make certain that the alien in question does not slip through the infamous “cracks in the system.”
We the People must not leave the critical decisions to chance. This is the time for getting our voices heard.
These decisions will have a long lasting impact on the safety and security of our nation and our citizens. These decisions will impact the lives of our children and their children. The time for complacency is over.
Good citizenship does not end at the voting booth but it simply begins there. In order for our representative democracy to represent us, we need to communicate with our elected representatives to let them know in clear and unequivocal terms what we want.
I implore you to get involved!
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!
Transcript of Friday’s show that relates to both yours and Bill’s reports:
DOBBS: There’s evidence tonight that the number of people trying to enter the United States illegally from Mexico is declining. That’s according to data from the Mexican Government Census Bureau. It shows about 25 percent decline over the past year — that according to published reports. The numbers include both legal and illegal immigrants.
The recession is cited as a key reason for what the government of Mexico maintains is a slow-down. Immigration researchers here say several hundred thousand illegal aliens a year still cross our borders. There are between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau reports a slow-down in the growth of the Hispanic immigrant population as well. Hispanic growth slowed to just over three percent last year from four percent in 2001.
Lawmakers, federal lawmakers, are trying to revive the so-called AGJOBS (ph) Act. AGJOBS (ph) would provide amnesty for more than a million illegal alien farm workers. Many say the AGJOBS (ph) Bill would reward people who have broken our immigration laws. AGJOBS (ph) is backed of course by big agriculture, big agricultural lobbyists, and other special interest groups. The move comes at a time when millions of Americans are out of work, the nation’s unemployment rate has risen to a 25-year high. Lisa Sylvester has our report.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Farm workers in the United States illegally would be put on a path to citizenship under a bill known as AGJOBS (ph). The bill could grant some 1.5 million foreign workers and their family’s legal status. Senator Dianne Feinstein says the legislation is necessary because there are not enough American workers willing to harvest crops.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: With an inadequate supply of workers, farmers from Maine to California, from Washington State to Georgia, have watched their produce rot in the fields have been forced to follow (ph) close to a half a million acres of land.
SYLVESTER: The foreign workers would have to pay a fine of $500 and meet other requirements like having no major felonies. Republican critics blast AGJOBS (ph), saying it rewards people who broke U.S. immigration laws and calling it earned legalization isn’t enough to earn Representative Marsha Blackburn’s support.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: This is basically amnesty for those farm workers who are in the United States and who are working here.
SYLVESTER: Agricultural workers can apply for a so-called “blue card” if they can demonstrate they have worked in the United States at least five months in 2006 or 2007. They then have to work another 150 days during a three-year period or 100 work days per year for five years. Then they can apply for a green card. Sounds complicated — it is says NumbersUSA, a group which favors restrictions on immigration and predicts U.S. citizenship and immigration services will not be able to handle the onslaught of applications.
ROSEMARY JENKS, NUMBERSUSA: There is absolutely no way that that agency can monitor effectively the claims being made in the applications and ensure that there isn’t fraud.
SYLVESTER: AG jobs has been introduced in previous sessions of Congress, either as a standalone bill, or part of comprehensive immigration reform. And each time, it has not gotten through.
SYLVESTER: And one reason is that there already exists a program that allows in an unlimited number of foreign agricultural workers, it’s called the H-2A Guest Worker Program. Last year 173,000 H-2A workers were admitted into the United States, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security — Lou.
DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much. And a very important reminder to all of those folks in the United States Senate and the Congress that the rhetoric of the advocates who choose to deny or to ignore the fact that we already have guest worker programs in this country that is available to big agriculture, is simply what it — it’s simply a lie. Thank you very much, Lisa Sylvester, great reporting.
An illegal alien, tonight, is in a Nebraska jail, held on $1 million bail. He’s accused of causing a car crash that took the life of a 4-year-old girl. The illegal alien has four prior DUI convictions; his driver’s license had been previously suspended. Many who are horrified by this tragedy want to know simply why the driver had not been deported. Bill Tucker has our story.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A 4-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, girl is dead and a community is torn between pain and outrage. Josie Bluhm died when her mother’s van was hit by a truck driven by this man, Eleazar Rangel-Ochoa, when he allegedly ran a red light on his way to work. It was an accident that many say never should have happened. Ochoa’s lawyer admits his client has four DUI convictions, has served time in jail for two of those convictions, and was driving on a suspended license at the time of the accident. He also acknowledges his client has been in this country illegally for 14 years.
The Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, which supports stricter enforcement of immigration laws, is outraged that given his record, Ochoa was never deported, but instead he kept slipping through cracks in the legal system.
DAN STEIN, FEDERATION FOR AMER IMMIG REFORM: This case is a perfect illustration why state and local police and agencies of the local level need to have agreements with ICE, with the DHS enforcement authorities, so that people who are here illegally are apprehended and removed.
TUCKER: Local immigration and customs enforcement officials say they were never notified of Ochoa’s presence until this week, despite his past encounters with local police. The Omaha police said they never notified ICE because they had no reason to suspect Ochoa’s immigration status was illegal. ICE now is in detainer on Ochoa so that if or when he’s released by local police he will be handed over to federal authorities.
Ochoa appeared in court on Friday and was charged with a felony for driving with a suspended license and a misdemeanor for motor vehicle homicide. He pleaded not guilty to both charges. His lawyer offered this statement.
JOSEPH LOPEZ-WILSON, OCHOA’S ATTY: My client is really devastated by this situation, a very unfortunate incident. He is not a father, but he’s not young family members. He’s totally devastated by it.
TUCKER: Ochoa faces up to five years on the charge of driving on a suspended license and up to one year, oddly, on the charge of the misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide charge. And as you mentioned, Lou, $1 million bail was set in court today.
DOBBS: Well, thank you very much. Bill Tucker.
Well, we’d like to know what you think about this. Our poll question tonight is: Should immigration status checks be routine? With every arrest in this country? Yes or no, cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We’ll have the results here later in the broadcast.