Response to Secure Communities Initiative Identified 111,000 Criminals Plus

The press release I have attached below appears on the DHS government website and is important to consider because it addresses one of the most serious components of the immigration crisis confronting our nation today- the fact that there are tens of thousands of aliens in our country, right now, who are involved with serious criminal activities

The press release should be thought of as a sort of “Good news- bad news” article.

The good news is that DHS is working to identify criminal aliens who are currently incarcerated as a result of their having been convicted of committing felonies. The huge number of criminal aliens in our nation’s prisons demonstrate how often criminals from other countries enter our country in order to ply their respective “trades” in our country and/or seek to enter our country to evade law enforcement agencies in other countries.

This, of course, makes it clear that illegal immigration is not a “victimless crime.” Just ask the victims of those 111,000 criminal aliens who are currently incarcerated in our country.

Now, here is the bad news.

I have learned in my decades of experience as an employee of the United States government that when press releases are put forth, the choice of language is critical. Notice, if you will that the article focuses on how more than 111,000 criminal aliens were identified. The term identified raises some very interesting questions. Of course it is important to identify the bad guys. This is the first step in the process of seeking the removal of criminal aliens.

The issue is not simply to identify the criminal aliens but to make certain that they are ultimately removed from our country after their jail sentences are completed! Simply identifying criminal aliens and not completing the task at hand is actually worse than doing nothing- it teaches the criminal aliens that even if they are identified by ICE, they have little to fear- further emboldening them and their buddies in their home countries who are deciding on whether or not to seek to run our nation’s borders and commit crimes in the United States.

When I used to qualify with my firearm as an INS special agent, a requirement my colleagues and I needed to fulfill every 90 days, it was not adequate that we identified the target at the pistol range; we needed to hit the target within a tight time constraint and with great accuracy. Simply pointing at the target and announcing that I had identified the target would have gotten me nowhere but had I done so, I can guarantee you that it would have resulted in quite a bit of laughter!

The removal of criminal aliens from our nation is not a laughing matter, however. So the obvious question that the article did not answer is, “What resources are available for making certain that upon release from prison the identified criminal aliens are taken into custody and maintained in custody until their final orders of removal (deportation) are completed?

A number of years ago, the so-called “Catch and Release” program of the Border Patrol was brought to light in many news reports. The Border Patrol would apprehend illegal aliens, fingerprint and photograph them and serve them with a document known as a “Notice to Appear.” In some particularly egregious instances, the Border Patrol would actually drive these illegal aliens to bus stations so that they could continue their journeys to cities around our country where they were supposed to show up for hearings before Immigration Judges. Not surprisingly more than 85% of these illegal aliens failed to show up for their hearings and angry and frustrated Border Patrol agents came to refer to the documents they served upon these illegal aliens as being “Notices to Disappear!”

What got scant attention in the media was the fact that ICE special agents were also catching and releasing illegal aliens. What was even more frustrating is that statistically these aliens were identified as have been apprehended and placed under removal proceedings! Of course this was a classic example of how our government creates illusions to mollify the citizens of our nation while making certain that nothing interferes with the goal of our “leaders” of seeing to it that nothing interferes with the human tidal wave of illegal aliens crashing upon our nation each and every day providing cheap and exploitable labor and the promise of political power for those who go with the program.

On May 5, 2005 I testified before a Congressional hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic of:


At that hearing I discussed many of my concerns. I was especially frustrated and indeed angered by the statement of one of the other witnesses, Richard Stanna who, at that time held the position of Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office when he stated that as of that date, more than three and half years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that the DHS still had no mission statement for immigration law enforcement!

One of the issues I addressed at that hearing was the issue of “Catch and Release.” Here is a segment of my testimony on that issue:

.” ….I have to tell you as a New Yorker, as someone who has been working closely with the 9/11 Families For a Secure America, it leaves me shaking my head. New York has 40,000 cops and enough jail space that if they find somebody breaking the law, they find a place to lodge them. We have 2,000 special agents to cover the entire United States of America; we sit here quibbling over 143 new agents or 500 new agents. We have no jail space. We have a catch and release program, but we want more technology on the border. The technology is great, but if the Border Patrol responds to the alert, and they have a warm body in custody they can’t hold on to, why do we bother in the first place?

You know, as an agent I’ve had the occasion where I’ve chased somebody five or six blocks, dodged garbage cans that the guy was hurling at me as he was trying to get away from me, tackled him, rolled around on the ground, tore up my clothes, got bruised and the whole 9 yards, and the guy lied for a half hour about who he was, and then in the end my boss said, Mike, I’m sorry to tell you this, but there is no room at the inn. So that guy went home that day; not home to his home country, but home to his apartment in Queens.

Now, we sit here talking about mission statements, we sit here talking about fighting a war on terror. You know, if you go into neighborhoods that have large numbers of illegal aliens, there is an infrastructure that springs up to support those folks. Its mail drops, its money wire services, its document vendors. We’ve shortened the investigations of terrorists-I have arrested terrorists in my career, and they make use of these facilities. These are the facilities that people who are trying to hide in plain sight make use of. These are the facilities that are used by dish washers, drug traffickers and terrorists.”

You can read the transcript of that entire hearing at:

The huge numbers of criminal aliens who are currently incarcerated in our nation’s prisons provide ample evidence of the damage done to our nation and the harm done to our citizens by this madness.

I would also like to know how many of those 111,000 criminal aliens are put before an administrative Immigration Judge while they are still incarcerated- that is supposed to be the goal of the Institutional Hearing Program. The idea is that when criminal aliens are incarcerated, they should have their immigration hearings while they are still in prison to make certain that by the time they are released, they can be expeditiously removed from our country rather than have them languish in an immigration detention facility for an extended period of time or possibly even be released pending an appeal of their order of deportation where they then have the opportunity to commit more crimes and abscond.

As I have noted in previous commentaries, back in the early 1980’s I had approached then New York Senator Al D’Amato with the idea of holding deportation hearings inside prisons to accomplish the goal I noted above. This became the basis for the Institutional Hearing Program. The problem with this program has been the historical lack of resources.

I would also like to know what efforts are made to identify criminal aliens who falsely claim to be United States citizens. This is a common problem. Aliens who do not want to be deported often lie about their true names and nationality. In my experience as an INS special agent, Hispanic aliens would often claim to have been born in Puerto Rico, citizens of Caribbean countries such as Jamaica or Trinidad would claim to have been born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.

Part of the training I underwent as a new agent, along with all of my colleagues involved mandatory Spanish language training and tips to breaking false claims to United States citizenship based on idioms and use of terminology. Today the special agents and the deportation officers at ICE are not even being offered Spanish language training.

This begs the question, “By what mechanism are criminal aliens being identified in the prisons?” The article notes that biometrics are being used to identify these criminals. I have long advocated that fingerprints and/or other biometrics should be used when it is feasible. This means that aliens who have been granted resident aliens status and then commit felonies and are convicted of those crimes should be readily identified.

Proper use of US-VISIT can also use fingerprints to properly identify foreign nationals who have been convicted of committing felonies. However, an alien who runs our nation’s borders may succeed in not being apprehended and fingerprinted by the United States Border Patrol. In those instances, the criminal alien’s fingerprints will not show up in ICE databases and such illegal aliens may well attempt to “get over” and falsely claim to be citizens of the United States, thereby evading the removal process.

Finally, I would love to know how many prisons and correctional facilities are not being covered by ICE. How many more criminal aliens are falling through this huge crack in the “system.”

The impact of our nation’s continuing failures to secure its borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity impacts our nation and our citizens each and every day. Our nation is bleeding green and red. The green is the cost in money to our nation’s economy and the money not earned by Americans who, in increasing numbers are losing their jobs and there tenuous grip on their share of what used to be call the “American Dream.”

The red, of course, is the blood of increasing numbers of victims spilled at the hands of criminal aliens who should never have entered our country in the first place.

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 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.

Next year each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Next 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!

Any American who has lost his job certainly has enough time on his (her) hands to get involved!

Any American who fears the loss of his job must make effective use of his spare time to make certain he keeps his job! (Remember, the job save may be your own!) 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!

Secretary Napolitano and ICE Assistant Secretary Morton Announce That the Secure Communities Initiative Identified More Than 111,000 Criminal Aliens in Its First Year Release Date:

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.