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   Promoting awareness of problems and solutions in U.S. immigration policies                  
Michael Cutler, former INS agent, New York

AMNESTY TRUTH SHEET

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.

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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.

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Visa Waiver Program Benefits Terrorists

Incredibly, It Will Be Expanded

Michael Cutler

September 6, 2007 -- The two news articles I have referenced below can be called a "good news / bad news" story:

The Washington Times: Foiled Terror Plots Linked to al Qaeda

The New York Times: Searching for 10 Suspects Linked to Plot

The obvious good news is the fact that law enforcement officials were able to thwart deadly plots in both Denmark and Germany and arrested 3 of the terrorist suspects. The bad news is that, as the news reports this morning have indicated, 10 more terrorists are still "out there" and are being hunted all over the world! Meanwhile, as I will explain below, the Visa Waiver Program may, in fact increase our vulnerability for the reasons I note below, however I would as you to first consider the point that the first news article notes towards the end:

"The Europeans have thought this was exclusively a problem between the U.S. and the Islamic world," he said, adding that the continent is suffering now because of lax immigration policies and a failure to integrate newcomers. "People haven't realized that the radical Islamists embrace an ideology that transcends national loyalties. They're not Germans, Brits or French. They are radical Muslims living in these countries."

This brings us back to the fundamental issue of the Visa Waiver Program that is incredibly expected to be expanded.

I have made this point before but believe it is important to make this point yet again; the visa requirement provides 5 benefits to law enforcement and/or national security yet even as more citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program are identified as being involved in terrorism, the Visa Waiver Program is alive and well.

To reiterate the benefits provided by the visa requirement:

  1. The visa requirement can act as an additional screening mechanism to help keep terrorists off of airliners. If an alien seeks to board and airliner destined to the United States is required to apply for and secure a visa but fails to do so, that person is barred from boarding that airliner. (Richard Reid, the so-called "Shoe Bomber" was a British national and boarded the airliner he intended to destroy by detonating bombs in his shoes without obtaining a visa.)
  2. The job of the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspector is quite challenging. The inspector is expected to determine the admissibility of an arriving alien nonimmigrant in about one minute. The visa process acts as a screening mechanism to help the beleaguered inspector make better decisions and helps to cut down on the number of aliens who should not be admitted into the United States. Several terrorist suspects involved with the attacks of September 11, 2001 were believed to have been kept out of the United States by the visa requirement.
  3. The application for a nonimmigrant tourist visa contains about 40 questions that can be potential investigative leads or offer invaluable intelligence if that alien become the focus of a criminal or terrorist investigation.
  4. If an alien lies on that application for a visa, that lie constitutes visa fraud. The penalties for visa fraud range from 10 years of incarceration for an alien who commits fraud simply to enter the United States perhaps to seek unauthorized employment to 15 years of imprisonment if his fraud is committed to help him commit any crime. When an alien can be proven to have committed visa fraud in conjunction with drug trafficking, the penalty increases to 20 years in jail. Finally if the fraud is committed in furtherance of terrorism, the penalty calls for a maximum of 25 years in jail. Often it is hard to prove that an individual is a terrorist but it is quite simple to prove that an alien has lied about a material fact on an application for a visa.
  5. On occasion it is deemed advantageous to use the crime of visa fraud to arrest an individual who is involved with a criminal or terrorist organization to keep from alerting his cohorts that they are being scrutinized.

As Americans we are certainly inconvenienced when we board airliners to travel in our own country. We are severely restricted as to what we can bring on board an airliner with us. We have to remove our shoes and overcoats. We need to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before flight time. Yet we comply with all of these requirements in the name of security. Yet the advocates for the Visa Waiver Program argue that the visa requirement imposes an unacceptable inconvenience on foreign visitors. These people argue that this is the reason that travel has decreased since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Most of these advocates for the expansion of the Visa Waiver Program are involved in the travel and hospitality industry. They have initiated a program called "Discover America" and hired the first Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge to push this dangerous program. You remember Tom Ridge, he was the guy who told us to go out and buy duct tape to secure our homes!

You can see what Discover America is about at: http://www.poweroftravel.org/

Someone needs to remind this folks that the biggest problem we have is that the terrorists have Discovered America! Perhaps if they used their heads and advocated for an end to the Visa Waiver Program and them engaged in a public relations campaign to educate foreign tourists that we are doing the necessary things to keep us safe that more people would be willing to travel.

One thing is certain, if there is, God forbid, another terrorist attack, no one will be flying anywhere. No one will be traveling or staying in hotels. That is what happened in the weeks immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Visa Waiver Program is not only dangerous to the well being of our nation and our citizens, it is also dangerous to the long-term well being of the industries that are now pushing so vigorously to expand it!

The efforts of the travel and hospitality industries could be called "blinded by greed!" I do not know of any polite language to describe the politicians in Washington who are willing to accede to the demands of those greedy corporate fools who apparently are unable to see past their next profit statements!

Meanwhile, the unsecured borders of the United States also provide all too easy access to illegal aliens among whom are undoubtedly terrorists and criminals. Corporations are happy to have the illegals enter our country because they provide cheap and compliant labor. Politicians pander to the special interest groups that want to have as many illegal aliens enter our county in order to provide them with more people which in turn, translates into more power and more money. Immigration attorneys are happy to see these alien enter our country and therefore represent a potentially unlimited source of new clients. As I have noted on many previous occasions, the inspections process carried out by immigration (CBP) inspectors is not a mere formality. When aliens evade the inspections process, it is not the equivalent of a "fare beater" who fails to drop a couple of quarters in the basket at a toll booth before crossing a bridge or getting on to a toll road. The inspection process represents an effort to prevent a number of categories of aliens from entering our country. Among these classes of prohibited aliens are criminals, terrorists, those who harbor dangerous and communicable diseases, those who seek to accept unlawful employment, aliens who are likely to become public charges and those who suffer from mental illness, to name a number of these categories. This is done to protect the safety and security of our nation and our citizens and those aliens who are lawfully present in our country. Those politicians who make light of this do so at our peril!

Everyone involved in advocating for open borders and an expansion of the dangerous Visa Waiver Program believes that they are "making out on the deal" except for American and resident alien workers who face a loss of jobs and a reduction in salaries and benefits.

It may well be that in business, the bottom line is profit earned by the company. Where national security, the bottom line is the safety of our citizens and the survival of our nation! When our government put corporate greed ahead of national security, we are in deep trouble!

The ultimate irony is that if there is another attack, many of the very same corporations that were eager to see the massive number of illegal aliens cross our borders and enter our country would be hammered in the wake of such an attack. Consider, if you will how few people flew or traveled in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001!

We the People are entitled to real leaders who have real principles! My dad used to tell me that a real man (or woman) stands for something! It is time that we had politicians who stand for more than campaign contributions! We need to get involved, get our voices heard and regain control of our government!

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.

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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.

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