Response to ‘The Argument for Health Care for Illegal Aliens’

I have attached a transcript of an interview that Greta Van Susteren conducted with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee on September 28 concerning a letter that 22 Democrat members of Congress sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking that illegal aliens be provided with medical coverage under the health care bill currently being formulated and debated in both houses of Congress.

I have also attached a report on how the United States Senate has removed the requirement that immigrants would have to provide photo ID in order to prove that they were legally present in the United States in order to be eligible to apply for health care under the auspices of the health care program being drafted by the Congress.

It is worth noting that when Representative Jackson Lee was the Ranking member of the House Immigration Subcommittee, she called me to testify before that Congressional Subcommittee on two separate occasions. She asked that I testify at a hearing conducted on March 19, 2002 on the topic:


Here is the link to the transcript of that hearing:

On May 18, 2004 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims at Ms Jackson Lee’s behest.

The topic of this hearing was:


Here is the link to the transcript of that hearing:

The point is that she has provided me with a two opportunities to provide my expertise and perspectives to two important hearings on immigration issues that have serious implications for national security.

When I raised the issue of immigration fraud as being a component of the issue of alien smuggling at the May 18, 2004 hearing (since illegal aliens not only run our nation’s borders but also manage to enter our country by committing visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud) Representative Jackson Lee proposed the creation of a “Fraud Task Force” to attempt to address this issue.

I was dismayed, to put it mildly, to see that Rep. Jackson Lee has, in my judgment, landed on the wrong side of the issue of immigration.

Interestingly Greta got it exactly right when she asked Ms Jackson Lee, “Here’s the problem. Here’s the problem. To do that, we become aiders [and] abettors to encourage people to be here illegally. That’s the problem…”

In fact, Title 8 of the United States Code, Section 1324 includes the following:

1907 Title 8, U.S.C.

  • 1324(a) Offenses

    Title 8, U.S.C.

  • 1324(a) defines several distinct offenses related to aliens. Subsection 1324(a)(1)(i)-(v) prohibits alien smuggling, domestic transportation of unauthorized aliens, concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts. Subsection 1324(a)(2) prohibits bringing or attempting to bring unauthorized aliens to the United States in any manner whatsoever, even at a designated port of entry. Subsection 1324(a)(3).

    Alien Smuggling – Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) makes it an offense for any person who – knowing that a person is an alien, to bring to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien.

    Domestic Transporting – Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) makes it an offense for any person who – knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law.

    Harboring – Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) makes it an offense for any person who – knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation.

    Encouraging/Inducing – Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who – encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.

    Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting – Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.

    Bringing Aliens to the United States – Subsection 1324(a)(2) makes it an offense for any person who – knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has not received prior authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, to bring to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever, such alien, regardless of any official action which may later be taken with respect to such alien.

    The point is that the promise of an imminent wide-ranging “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” program as well as the promise of a health care program are, in my judgment, tremendous incentives for aliens to enter our country in violation of law and also provides additional incentives for the millions of illegal aliens who are already present in our country in violation of law to remain in the United States. These aliens have been provided with the apparent expectation that if they can evade immigration law enforcement; an easy task since ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is all but ignoring millions of illegal aliens who have not been convicted of committing felonies, that they will soon be on the “pathway to United States citizenship.”

    Making illegal aliens eligible to join a federally managed health care system provides an additional incentive for these illegal aliens to remain in the United States and virtually provides them with the sense of entitlement to remain in the United States even before Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation is debated, let alone enacted. Meanwhile the administration has stated that any company the knowingly employs illegal aliens will be prosecuted if they are discovered violating the statutes of the immigration and Nationality Act that prohibit such employment practices!

    I certainly favor having ICE conduct investigations into employers of illegal aliens but it is absolutely hypocritical, in my judgment, for the same government to provide incentives to millions of illegal aliens to enter our country in violation of law, remain in our country in violation of law and, no doubt, violate other criminal statutes involving identity theft and related crimes.

    To consider the issue of the intentional employment of illegal aliens, the law concerning this crime was a part of the ill-conceived amnesty of 1986 because it was (rightly) assumed that the great majority of illegal aliens who enter our country each year do so in order to secure unlawful employment. If the goal of the employer sanctions laws was to “turn off the power to the magnate that draws the majority of illegal aliens across our borders” as was stated by the politicians who backed the 1986 amnesty, then why would our nation’s leaders state that they want to go after the employers to remove the incentives for illegal aliens to enter our country while, at the same time, provide still more incentives for millions of illegal aliens to violate our nation’s borders and immigration laws?

    Sheila Jackson Lee noted that it would be helpful for as many people, irrespective of immigration status to join such a health care program because the more people who join, the more money will be pumped into the system to help fund the program.

    Again, I have to disagree.

    Most people who enter the United States from “Third World Countries” do not have the same level of health as do those who are born and raised in the United States. I am concerned that people in foreign countries who are unable to get health care at home would find that the prospect of obtaining health insurance in the United States, would create a powerful “magnet” for those who have serious illnesses to head for the United States to seek treatment. It might also encourage members of their families to seek to enter the United States as well to make certain that they could seek employment and thus obtain health insurance for all of the members of their family.

    I would ask you to consider this quote from the transcript I have attached below: LEE: Let me say this. I mean, you raise valid points, and I know these are going to be points raised by the American people. First of all, all of us want to ensure that criminal aliens, people who are here to do us harm, are not here in this country.

    This statement underscores the biggest issue where not only health care for illegal aliens is concerned, but also illustrates my concern about a massive “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” program for millions of illegal aliens whose identities are unknown and unknowable.

    When an alien is “undocumented” the alien has no reliable documentation to attest to his (her) true identity. There is no way of knowing that person’s true name, date of birth or even nationality. There is, therefore, no way of knowing if that person has a criminal history in another country. There is no way of being certain that the person in question is not on the various terrorist watch lists because many of those individuals on those lists are known by their names and we have no fingerprints for them on file.

    There is also no way of knowing how, when or where these aliens entered our country.

    If these millions of illegal aliens would be eligible to file for enrollment in the government health insurance program, they would, of necessity, be given an official identity document that would, no doubt, enable them to apply for other identity documents in a fictitious name. This is the primary concern that had been addressed by the Real ID Act that Congress is now working to gut even as a significant terrorist plot is being unraveled by the FBI, DHS, the NYPD and other agencies concerning an Afghani citizen by the name of Najibullah Zazi.

    In fact, as I have been following the news reports about that ongoing prosecution/investigation, I thought back to testimony I provided at a Congressional hearing that was conducted on May 11, 2006 before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations. The title of that hearing was:

    “VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?” Here is the link to the transcript of that hearing: Here is a portion of my prepared testimony that is worth considering when I addressed the issue of how terrorists embed themselves in a community as they prepare to participate in a terrorist attack:

    There have been published accounts in newspapers of terror suspects who have worked at a wide variety of seemingly menial jobs in the United including one guy who drove an ice-cream truck and others who have driven taxi cabs while still others have worked in used car lots or even taught school. I can tell you from personal experience having spent years conducting surveillance in conjunction with conducting various criminal investigations into a wide variety of criminal activities that when a bad guy gets in his or her car and drives to a location where he gets out of his vehicle and meets with another individual, that it is easy presume a meeting has taken place and we could follow the other participant in that meeting to further the investigation.

    In the case of the terror suspect who drove an ice- cream truck, think about how many people may approach that truck on a warm afternoon seeking to buy ice-cream. How could you tell if any of them were actually associates of the driver of that truck who were there to meet with him in a very effective clandestine manner? How many meetings could a terrorist have with his ”passengers” in his taxi cab that would evade detection by a surveillance team? Furthermore, ice-cream trucks and taxi cabs are truly ubiquitous. They can be used for surveillance by terrorists because they blend in so well with the urban landscape. These menial jobs can help terrorists to hide in plain sight.

    Yet, the administration talks about targeting sensitive locations such as airports and nuclear power plants and military bases to look for illegal aliens. Certainly these locations should come under intense scrutiny because of their obvious potential as targets for terrorists, but by focusing on these locations we are, in effect, providing a play book to our adversaries. The message is clear, if you want to embed yourself in our country and not arouse the attention of law enforcement, especially ICE, do not get a job in a nuclear power plant but sell hot dogs outside that power plant and no one will bother you or even pay attention to you.

    Finally, I would like you to consider what Representative Sheila Jackson Lee said about the legislative process: LEE: And as the bill comes back from the Senate in conference, the American people will have the opportunity to see the full and final bill, as well.

    This is, most definitely where We the People come in! We must consider it our obligation to contact our members of both houses of Congress and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that illegal aliens must not be eligible to enroll in health care!

    Greta Van Susteren was absolutely correct when she noted that emergency medical care is, right now, available to anyone who is in need of emergency medical treatment. Illegal aliens must not be provided with regular health care insurance.

    (I would also love to see our government bill foreign government when the citizens of those countries receive emergency treatment and are unable to pay for it!)

    The point is that the great majority of Americans want our nation to gain control over its borders and create an immigration system that possesses real integrity. Providing health care to millions of illegal aliens is antithetical to this commonsense objective.

    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!

    The Argument for Health Care for Illegal Aliens

  • 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.