Home |  About Us |  Newsletter |  Resources |  Archives |  Links |  Membership |  Downloads |  Free DVD |  Email |  Buck's Blog
   Promoting awareness of problems and solutions in U.S. immigration policies                  
Michael Cutler, former INS agent, New York


The Truth About Amnesty
Amnesty overlooks the alien's illegal entry and ongoing illegal presence and creates a new legal status that allows the recipient to live and work in the country.

Get the two-page Truth Sheet.

U.S. Senate

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
This is the highly controversial 'compromise' immigration reform bill that failed in the Senate. It drew more criticism than support from all sides in the debate.

Get the 790-page bill, S. 1348.

The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration
Reform Act of 2007

This is the "security-first" bill that was designed to draw more votes for comprehensive immigration reform. It failed a critical vote in the Senate.

Get the 762-page bill, S. 1639.

GAO Testimony

Prospects For Biometric US-VISIT Exit Capability Remain Unclear
DHS has invested about $1.3 billion over 4 years and delivered basically one-half of US-VISIT, meaning that biometrically enabled entry capabilities are operating at almost 300 air, sea, and land POEs, but comparable exit capabilities are not. Moreover, the prospects for this changing are essentially as uncertain today as they were 4 years ago.

Get the 16-page report.

CBO Testimony

Budgetary Impact of Current and Proposed Border Security and Immigration Policies
CBO estimates that implementation of S.2611 would require $81 billion in additional appropriations over the 10-year period, resulting in $78 billion in added outlays. Economic growth would increase by only a small degree.

Get the 12-page report.

Problems with Sanctuary Cities

They Attract More Illegal Aliens, Provide Cover for Terrorists

Michael Cutler

September 2, 2007 -- As most of you know, I generally write my commentaries about immigration-related issues that are prompted by the publication of a news story. On occasion I have written commentaries that were not written in response to an article, but were rather written to discuss a major issue concerning an aspect of immigration that has become the focus of many discussions and articles. This weekend I have decided to write an article about so-called "Sanctuary Cities" because this issue has become the focus of so much attention, of late, especially in the wake of the horrific triple murder recently committed in Newark, New Jersey.

The use of the term "Sanctuary City" turns reason and truth upside down and I have decided to tackle this concept in this commentary. The first shot fired in the "war of words" that open border advocates have resorted to was fired by Jimmy Carter when he mandated that INS employees no longer use the term "Illegal Alien" to describe an alien who was illegally present in the United States. His commissioner for the INS, Lionel Castillo mandated that we refer to these people as being "undocumented workers," a term that is still used today. As I have stated on many previous occasions, the term "alien" is not a pejorative but is, rather, a legal term. The Immigration and Nationality Act defines an alien as being any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. The term "alien" goes back to the beginnings of our nation. The obvious goal in this use (misuse) of language is to obfuscate the issues. This is nothing short of a form of Orwellian "Newspeak." Clearly the goal is to blur the distinction between aliens who are legally present in the United States and aliens who are illegally present in the United States.

The President, awhile ago, stated that he wanted to "legalize the immigrants!" As I wrote at the time, this is akin to saying that he wanted to make water wet! Water is obviously wet and immigrants are aliens who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence. They can take virtually any job they are qualified to do, they can petition the government to accord their immediate family members resident alien (immigrant) status in their own right and, in fact, immigrants are on the path to United States citizenship! How much more legal would President Bush want to make them? In point of fact, the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is the equivalent of the difference between a houseguest and a burglar!

The concept of a so-called Sanctuary City is not a new development but has been an issue for a number of years. On February 27, 2003 I was called to testify at a hearing that was conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims. The title of that hearing was:


Then chairman of that subcommittee, John Hostettler convened the hearing and started out by saying:

Mr. HOSTETTLER. The Subcommittee will now come to order.

On December 19, 2002, a 42-year-old mother of two was abducted and forced by her assailants into a hideout near some railroad tracks in Queens, New York. She was brutally assaulted before being rescued by a New York Police Department canine unit.

The NYPD arrested five aliens in connection with that assault. According to records that the Judiciary Committee has received from the INS, four of those aliens entered the United States illegally. Three of those four had extensive arrest histories in New York City. The fifth alien, a lawful permanent resident, also had a criminal history prior to the December 19, 2002, attack.

Despite the criminal histories of the four aliens, however, it does not appear from the records that the Committee has received that the NYPD told the INS about these aliens until after the December 19 attack. These heinous crimes prompted extensive public discussion of whether New York City police were barred from disclosing immigration information to the INS, a policy that may have prevented the removal of these aliens prior to the December 19 attack.

Some suggested that the only reason that the three illegal aliens were in the United States, despite their extensive arrest histories, was because the NYPD officers who arrested these aliens previously were barred by a so-called ''sanctuary'' policy from contacting the INS. That policy, critics claimed, prevented NYPD officers from contacting the INS when they arrested an illegal alien.

We will examine New York City's policy on the NYPD's disclosure of immigration information to the INS. New York's Executive Order, or E.O. 124, barred line officers from communicating directly with the INS about criminal aliens. That executive order was issued by Mayor Ed Koch in 1989 and reissued by Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani.

Two Federal provisions, both of which were passed in 1996, preempted this executive order. In particular, section 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act bars States and localities from prohibiting their officers from sending immigration information to the INS. New York City challenged that provision in Federal court and lost.

We will examine whether New York City continued E.O. 124, amended it, or scrapped it altogether. We will also examine what guidance the city has sent to its officers on the street about reporting criminal aliens to the INS.

You can read a transcript of that hearing in its entirety.

I urge you to read the transcript and then I would like you to consider precisely what the term sanctuary is supposed to mean.

The term "sanctuary" is defined, in part, by the OnLine Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:

"... a place of refuge and protection (2) : a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal b : the immunity from law attached to a sanctuary"

If a sanctuary city is, indeed, "a place of refuge and protection" then I believe that it would be wonderful if every city in our country was a true sanctuary; for law- abiding citizens and non citizens alike! However, we all know that the use of the term "sanctuary" represents yet another example of semantic word-play and obfuscation utilized by those who favor the dismantling of our nation's borders and the blurring if not the flat-out eradication of the distinction between immigrants and illegal aliens.

To declare a city as being a "Sanctuary City" the mayor or other such politician is declaring that the immigration laws should not be enforced and our nation's borders should not be protected. Such politicians cannot refute my assertions because it is impossible to otherwise explain why these politicians would want to encourage illegal aliens to come to their towns to live and ply their trades whether they are construction workers, landscapers or child molesters, rapists, drug traffickers, gang members or terrorists!

If this seems harsh to you, let me explain me position as clearly as I know how.

Let us first understand that the inspections process conducted by inspectors of CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is not a mere formality. The inspector is not the equivalent of a toll collector on a highway or bridge. The alien who runs our nation's borders is most definitely not the equivalent of a motorist who fails to drop a couple of quarters in the collection basket before driving across a bridge. The inspector is charged with the extremely serious responsibility of making certain that an alien seeking entry into our country is meets the statutory obligations to be admitted either as an immigrant (a green card holder) who is permanently admitted and who may ultimately be eligible to seek to naturalize and become a United States citizen, or as a nonimmigrant, that is to say, a temporary visitor who may be coming for vacation, schooling, business or some other temporary purpose and will presumably return to his / her country after the purpose of his visit is completed.

In carrying out his duties, an inspector is charged with the mission of keeping out aliens who pose a risk to our nation and our citizens. Among aliens who are supposed to be barred from entering our country are aliens who have altered or fraudulent travel documents, aliens who have serious criminal histories, aliens who suffer from mental illness, aliens who harbor deadly contagious diseases, aliens who are involved with terrorist organizations, aliens who are involved with violent gangs, aliens who would appear to be intent on seeking unauthorized employment or who would seek to become a financial burden to our nation.

I can tell you from personal experience that the mission of the inspector is extremely daunting. I began my career with the former INS as an immigration inspector at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in 1971 where I held that position for about 4 years before I became a criminal investigator (special agent).

As you can see, the mission of the inspector is of great significance and as you might expect, when an alien runs our nation's borders, the screening process that the alien is mandated by law to undergo is utterly sidestepped. It is no different from a burglar entering your home in the dead of night by gaining entry into your home by climbing in through a back window. While it is true that the majority of illegal aliens are simply trying to take a job that an American can't do for the money an illegal alien would accept, often under illegally dangerous conditions, there is a significant number of illegal aliens who enter our country without inspection because he is desperate to avoid law enforcement authorities in his own country for committing serious crimes.

You cannot tell a dishwasher from a bank robber without a scorecard! Undocumented aliens have no scorecards! Without documentation it is impossible to determine the name, or even the nationality of an illegal alien. It is impossible to know when , where or how an illegal alien entered our country. This is why I came to refer to the Senate "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill" as the "Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act of 2007." The overworked and inept USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency would have had to provide official identity documents to some 100,000 illegal and undocumented aliens each and every day, even though there would be no way of knowing their true identities!

Yet there are politicians who are all too willing to guarantee illegal aliens that they are welcome in their towns and cities. If you were an alien who was a fugitive who was desperate to avoid deportation (a relatively very rare occurrence), would you go to a city that cooperates with ICE or would you go to a city that makes it clear that they will not even talk to officials of ICE?

There are other issues to be considered when you contemplate the issue of Sanctuary Cities. Illegal aliens are able to accept lower wages because they generally will live in tiny apartments with many other illegal aliens. Would you like to live in an apartment or own a house where down the block, or perhaps down the hall, 20 adult men are jammed into an apartment that was originally intended to house a family of 4? This level of overcrowding creates major hygiene issues and such apartments can become fire traps! When large numbers of illegal aliens move into a community a number of illegal enterprises often spring up to take advantage of this population. Among these businesses are houses of prostitution to cater to the large number of young, lonely and isolated men whose families are generally abandoned back home. These houses of prostitution often engage in human trafficking in order to have an ample number of prostitutes to service their customers. These brothels also create the potential for public health issues with the spread of STD's.

Drug trafficking organizations may also spring up in such neighborhoods because most narcotics are produced outside the United States and smuggled into the United States by aliens engaged in the drug trade. I spent more than a dozen years working with various federal agencies including the DEA, FBI and ATF investigating narcotics trafficking organizations. From 1988 until 1991 I was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA in New York and I conducted a study about the defendants who were arrested by the DEA. I found that in New York City some 60% of the individuals arrested by the DEA were identified as being "foreign born." Nationwide some 30% of the defendants arrested by DEA were so defined.

Hospitals located in communities that harbor large numbers of illegal aliens suffer the consequences of having illegal aliens using their emergency rooms as primary health care providers, often not being remunerated for the expenses they incur in treating the illegal aliens who crowd the emergency room waiting area.

Sanctuary cities not only simply attract illegal aliens into those communities, but also draw massive numbers of illegal aliens across our nation's borders, convincing those aliens that they can expect to be able to enter our country in utter violation of our laws and have a safe place to set up shop inside the United States. The notorious bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. His laconic response: "That's where the money is!"

For aliens who seek to enter our country in violation of law, their objectives are similarly focused. They too are looking to get their hands on money by working in violation of law or by committing felonies. The establishment of Sanctuary Cities encourages them that they can attain their goals in our country. Terrorist sleepers would also, undoubtedly, seek to embed themselves in communities where the likelihood of cooperation between local police and immigration authorities is vastly reduced.

Sanctuary is supposed to mean a place of safety. How safe would you feel if you knew that there were large numbers of illegal aliens living in your community whose true names and backgrounds are unknown and unknowable? What a perversion of the word "sanctuary" this word play represents!

It has been said that you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. How our nation enforces and administers the immigration laws (the first laws aliens entering our nation, or seeking to enter our country) sends a clear message to millions of people throughout the world. Statements made by the President and other politicians such as Senators Kennedy, Reid, Specter and McCain as well as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi sends the outrageous message that in the United States law violators cannot only expect to get away with violating our nation's laws, they can and should expect to be rewarded for violating our nation's laws! When local mayors and other politicians declare their cities are Sanctuary Cities, they amplify that potentially deadly message!

In my humble opinion, every city should offer true sanctuary for every law abiding citizen and visitor. Illegal aliens are not law-abiding as the open borders advocates often like to claim! Illegal aliens are, as the name implies, illegally present in our country. In order to seek to work in our country or to conceal their true identities, illegal aliens often commit identity theft. This is also a tactic used by hard core criminals and terrorists. I have read a number of articles that refer to identity theft as being America's fastest growing white collar crime. I wonder how many of these cases of identity theft were carried out by aliens who had no right to be in the United States in the first place!

The primary responsibility of government, on all levels (federal, state or local) is to create a safe and secure environment for the residents who live and/or work within the jurisdiction of that government. When our government fails to deter illegal conduct and, in fact, encourages law violators to move into that jurisdiction, public safety is severely compromised. This past week, while I was doing a radio interview on a radio show that was broadcast in Racine, Wisconsin I listened to a news story that ran during a break in the interview. A group that purported to represent the rights of immigrants (illegal aliens) stated that they did not want the local police to work cooperatively with ICE to stop the "climate of fear" that such cooperation fosters! Think about that statement: they made the assertion that when the police cooperates with ICE, a climate of fear is created! In law enforcement, the goal is to deter criminal and illegal conduct as much as to detect violations of law and punishing those who commit such transgressions. In fact, there are two purposes behind punishing law violators. One purpose is to punish the violator. At the same time, when violators are punished, those who might be contemplating committing such violations are generally deterred from violating the laws.

Sobriety check-points are intended to get drunk drivers off the road. They are also intended to keep drivers from driving drunk. I hope that this creates a "climate of fear" for those who would otherwise drive drunk!

We the People can end "Sanctuary Cities" by working together to end the political carries of mayors and other officials who show such contempt for those who elected them by creating "sanctuaries" for illegal aliens. If the administration was serious about enforcing the immigration laws they would cut off funding for those towns that refuse to cooperate with ICE. However, the President, himself has done everything in his power to hobble efforts to enforce the immigration laws. It is time that those who are seeking the presidency be made to articulate precisely where they stand on the issue of immigration law enforcement. In order to truly enforce the immigration laws and secure our nation's borders, the entire immigration system must be made effective.

We the People must take our responsibilities as citizens seriously!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

Michael Cutler, a former Senior Investigator with INS in New York, has been an expert witness in more than a dozen Congressional hearings. He is a board member on the American Council for Immigration Reform (ANCIR), a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies a(CIS), and an advisor to the 911 Families for a Secure America. Among his areas of concern is the nexus between immigration and national security.

Media queries for comments, articles and appearances can be addressed to Mr. Cutler at: mcutler@ancir.org.

Help us continue the fight against illegal immigration

ANCIR is a volunteer 501(c)(4) citizens organization. Our goals are to educate the public on the problems created by current U.S. immigration policies and to promote legislation to correct them. Donations to 501(c)4s are not deductible for tax purposes.

Defending DC against illegal immigration

The Unintended Consequences of Amnesty

See us on...

Now on iTunes

Visit Buck's Blog

Join ANCIR's Legislative Director Bill Buchanan for some blistering insights on immigration issues.

America's Immigration Security Crisis

DVD Previews
Watch a 5-minute preview of this important Special Report in Flash, Windows or QuickTime.

Download audio
Save an audio version of this preview for your mp3 player.

Download video
Save a video version of this preview for your iPOD or mp4 Player.

Free DVD with membership
View the DVD with friends and family, or at your next meeting. Become an ANCIR member now!

More Maxwell...

Checking Terrorism at the Border
Employee corruption within USCIS... how ongoing national security investigations are being jeopardized!

Get the 35-page brief.

Listen to the testimony.

Check the video.

More Jenks...

Shortfalls of 1986

Failed to wipe the illegal
immigration slate clean; failed to deter future
ilegal immigration.

Get the 17-page brief.

American Council for Immigration Reform  |  P.O. Box 2752 Arlington, VA 22202
Copyright 2016 ANCIR. All Rights Reserved.