In the mid-nineteenth century, people looking to make a quick buck headed to California to search for gold in the hills of the “Golden State.” One of their nicknames was the “forty-niners” because it was in 1849 that the “Gold Rush” revved up after gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill the previous year. That discovery started a mad dash by people from inside and outside the United States hoping to make their fortune by finding gold. As they said back then, “there’s gold in them there hills!”
At the beginning of the twentieth century, immigrants, primarily from Europe, were lured to the U.S. by the promise of easy money. The expression back then was that the “streets were paved with gold.”
The profit motive is a powerful force that provides many people with the incentives to work hard or find ways of garnering as much money as possible.
There are many ways to make money — some are legal and ethical, but unfortunately there are also many that are illegal and unethical. The bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks, and his laconic response said it all: “Because that’s where the money is!”
The exploitation of people by other people is as old as our species. Slavery is an example of the ultimate degradation and exploitation of human beings by other human beings. Slavery, at least in the U.S., has been officially outlawed, but that should not be interpreted to mean that exploitation has been outlawed!
While slavery is illegal in the U.S., there are many who are still able to profit by exploiting other people. Foreign workers are exploited inside the U.S., and they are also exploited by many people even before they set foot on American soil. The leaders of many countries look at their own fellow countrymen (and women) as being among the most valuable exports that they have. They seek to have their citizens make their way to the U.S. or some other “host” country where they can get jobs and send money back home to help nourish the economies of their home countries.
These leaders also fear that if they don’t convince their young, able-bodied men to head to the U.S. to find work, these men are likely to engage in crime and possibly, insurrection within their own countries! (Consider the expression about “idle hands!”)
While we have seen many news reports about how Felipe Calderon, the current president of Mexico, as well as his predecessors, have howled whenever the U.S. made any efforts to secure its borders, Mexico is hardly soft on issues relating to the security of its borders and the enforcement if its nation’s immigration laws! In fact, the Mexican government has constructed a fence to help prevent illegal aliens from entering Mexico’s southern border! While I have no particular insight as to why Mexico is so concerned about aliens from Guatemala, El Salvador, and other Latin American countries, I have a hunch that in addition to being concerned about criminals entering Mexico, Mexican officials seem to have a real concern that illegal aliens who enter Mexico will likely migrate to the U.S. to seek illegal employment. I am confident that the leaders of Mexico do not want their citizens, who are working illegally in the U.S. to compete for American jobs with illegal aliens from other countries!
Examples of indentured servitude are to be found in the U.S. today, approximately 150 years after slavery was declared illegal. Illegal aliens who flee the grinding poverty of their home countries are so desperate that they will endure virtually any hardship and risk to their lives to head for the U.S. to work under conditions that violate a laundry list of laws and regulations. Those who intentionally employ illegal aliens do so to maximize their profits.
There are millions of employers in the U.S. and only a relative handful of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents who enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S. While it is virtually impossible to find out precisely how many special agents are employed by ICE, it is believed that there are presently about 7,000 such agents who not only enforce our nation’s immigration laws but our nation’s customs laws as well. Many of the managers of ICE came from Legacy Customs and have much greater interest and experience in enforcing customs laws than immigration laws. If half of the personnel at ICE are dedicated to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S., then there are likely no more than 3,000 such agents assigned to enforcing the immigration laws. Many of these agents are working on investigations that are not related to enforcing the employer sanctions provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
To put these numbers of enforcement personnel into proper perspective, the New York City Police Department currently has about 35,000 police officers protecting the City of New York and its residents and visitors. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) reportedly has more than 60,000 employees scrutinizing passengers who seek to board airliners and conduct the other missions of the TSA. The number of ICE agents enforcing immigration laws for the entire U.S. is about 10 percent the size of the number of police officers who are employed by the NYPD and about 5 percent of the number of employees at the TSA!
As a consequence, investigations of employers are relatively rare.
Today, even when ICE does conduct an investigation of an employer who is believed to be intentionally hiring illegal aliens, the employer may face fines or even prosecution but the illegal aliens are generally not taken into custody. Such field investigations have been given the term “Silent Raid” by the administration!
On January 26, 2011, I testified before the Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on the topic: “ICE Worksite Enforcement — Up to the Job?”
This tactic of “silent raids” does nothing to deter or discourage millions of illegal aliens from entering our country in violation of law and working illegally because the administration is actually seeking to “solve” the problem of illegal aliens being present in the U.S. by providing them with employment authorization!
For years we have been told by the politicians from both sides of the aisle that illegal aliens do the work Americans won’t do. Yet before the implementation of the insane policy of conducting “silent raids” whenever significant numbers of illegal aliens were arrested at their jobs, the next day long lines of unemployed Americans would show up seeking those very same jobs! Of course this will no longer be happening because the “raids” are now being conducted silently!
I guess the point to silent raids was to not frighten illegal aliens who were working illegally in the U.S.!
In some instances, illegal aliens are placed in a situation where they are forced to work for employers who were involved with smuggling those aliens into the U.S., then compelling them to work for them to pay off their smuggling fees. No matter how hard these aliens work, they somehow never manage to earn enough money to pay off their debts to the smuggler/employers. This is a not uncommon tactic, especially within the Asian community.
There are other instances where women are lured to the U.S. with the promise of employment as nannies who will care for young children or as waitresses in restaurants, only to find out that they are expected to work as strippers and prostitutes. This ploy is especially common among young women from Eastern Europe.
You should, however, be mindful that an alien who is able to claim to have been a “victim of human trafficking” can apply for a visa to remain in the U.S., and as a consequence there are those aliens who will falsely claim to have been lured into working as a prostitute or stripper when, in fact, they came to the U.S. with that sort of employment in mind and then gamed the system to acquire a Green Card.
When dealing with many issues, especially the multifaceted immigration issue, all too often, things are not what they appear to be!
As an INS special agent I spent a number of years conducting investigations of aliens who worked illegally in the U.S. We found them in factories, restaurants, and farms. When employers intentionally hired illegal aliens, they generally did so in order to exploit them. In some instances, the exploitation was horrific.
Often factories were filthy and many health and safety regulations were utterly ignored, along with laws concerning wages and other labor standards. Clearly the owners of the establishments that hired these aliens and treated them abysmally and thus maximized their profits at the expense of their employees.
Next, so-called “slumlords” got to take their turn exploiting illegal aliens, who live in horrific conditions in the buildings that these slumlords own, packed into tiny, filthy apartments in dilapidated buildings not unlike sardines crammed into tin cans!
When these illegal alien workers left their jobs at the end of a workday, they would head to living arrangements that were the stuff of nightmares! There were times when I found twenty men living in shifts in a squalid apartment with two bedrooms and one bathroom, where the only furnishings were bare filthy mattresses laid end to end and side to side. Often illumination came from a bare lightbulb hanging at the end of a wire poking through a hole in the middle of a ceiling. If you entered such an apartment at night and then flipped on the light switch, you were likely to be greeted by what we came to refer to as the “moving wall”! There were so many insects of various species infesting the apartment that when the light came on, they would scatter in all directions! There were so many of them that there was no way to see the paint on the wall, only this moving mass of bugs! It resembled the crowded stands at a major football game with all of the fans doing “the wave”!
Often mice and even rats, could be seen scurrying around these apartments and their droppings were everywhere!
The stench of rotting food and the not unusual overflowing toilet would make you ill, and it would sometimes take a week or longer for the stench to finally leave your nostrils! One of my colleagues remarked, as he was retiring after a lengthy career, that he was glad he would never have to smell the putrid stench of poverty again!
Sometimes we encountered apartments that had been illegally subdivided with all sorts of partitions erected to create a series of separate rooms, where a number of illegal aliens would sleep in a makeshift “rooming house.” Sometimes the bedroom that had sole access to a fire-escape in that apartment was locked with secure locks, meaning that if a fire broke out and the door to the bedroom that had access to the fire-escape was locked, there would be no way of getting to the fire-escape! Under such circumstances, these apartments were veritable death-traps!
Some of these apartments could be found in apartment buildings that decades earlier had been high-rental buildings with lavish décor. But, as the saying goes, “That was then, this is now!”
Those subdivided apartments were fire traps, and on occasion not only tenants died in fires in those buildings, but firefighters died as they found themselves trapped in a maze-like apartment with no way out!
On January 25, 2005, the New York City Fire Department suffered the deaths of several firefighters on a day that will forever be remembered as “Black Sunday.” There is an account of that horrible day in “Remembering FDNY Black Sunday…Multiple Firefighter LODDs January 23, 2005”. http://commandsafety.com/2011/01/remembering-fdny-black-sunday%E2%80%A6three-lodds-january-23-2005-2/
When the six men (firefighters) got to the fourth floor, they started searching from apartment to apartment, but they’d found no civilians (except the skinny guy and naked fat lady one of the guys saw hightailing it out of there just as they came up the stairs). Now they were in Apartment 4-L, feeling their way along the walls from room to room — six men loaded down with gear, sucking in air from their tanks — and soon they got turned around, lost in the smoke. Brendan Cawley, the probie with just a month on the job, kept seeing padlocks on the doors of every room and was confused; he hadn’t been around long enough to know how many apartments in this neighborhood had been converted into cheap, crowded rooming houses. This place had been chopped up, probably illegally. Random walls and carelessly thrown-up partitions created a maze.
Three veteran FDNY firefighters died in the LODD (Line Of Duty Deaths) in Brooklyn, New York and the Bronx on Sunday January 23, 2005, a day that has become known as “Black Sunday” and called one of the saddest in fire department history. Two firefighters were killed and four others were badly hurt when they were forced to jump from a fourth-floor window of a burning building in the Bronx. Later, a third firefighter died after tackling a basement blaze in Brooklyn.Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, of Battalion 26, and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, of Ladder 27, died after battling the Bronx blaze on East 178th Street in the Morris Heights section.
Three firefighters were in critical condition at St. Barnabas, and a fourth was in serious condition at Jacobi Medical Center. Six Bronx firefighters became trapped in the building while searching for people on the fourth floor. When the fire from the third floor broke through to the fourth, they were faced with a horrifying choice. They jumped out a fourth-floor window, knowing that they would be critically injured.
For a peek behind another curtain, a curtain that often blocks from view the conditions under which illegal aliens employed in the agricultural industries live, consider “Indentured Servitude in America’s Tomato Fields,” an article that appeared on the Discovery Channel’s Green Planet website. The article quoted an excerpt from Tomatoland. Be forewarned this is not bedtime reading nor, is it recommended for the faint of heart! Here are a couple of excerpted paragraphs from that article:
We want to believe that in this country these sorts of evils don’t exist. We want to believe that when that little sticker reading U.S. is pasted atop a plump juicy tomato that it was grown ethically. But in fact, this isn’t always the case. Food Politics writer Barry Estabrook has just released a great piece of investigative journalism that takes a closer look at the tomato industry and recently, an excerpt from his book Tomatoland appeared in The Atlantic.
According to the story:
From the outset, it became apparent that Navarrete’s promises were too good to be true. Domingo’s 20-dollar-a-week rent wasn’t for a room with the family in the neat house but for shared space with three other workers in the back of a box truck out in the junk-strewn yard. It had neither running water nor a toilet, so Domingo and his “room” mates had to urinate and defecate in one corner. It turned out that there were about a dozen other men living behind the Navarrete residence, some in trucks like the one Domingo now called home, others in old vans, and others yet in a crude shack. Navarrete’s mother’s promise to provide food turned out to be two meager meals a day — eggs, beans, tortillas, rice, and rarely some sort of meat — only six days a week. Often the food would run out before everyone got his share.
While there is no way of knowing how much money, in total, is sent to Mexico by its citizens who are illegally present in the U.S., each year more than $20 billion in remittances are wired to Mexico by its citizens. That figure alone makes these remittances the second largest source of income for the Mexican economy — oil being the number one source of income! Clearly the profit motive is alive and well among Mexico’s leaders! No wonder they howl loudly whenever the issue of American border security is brought up!
The government of Mexico does not want to spend money on healthcare or education for its citizens either. Once Mexicans enter the U.S., educating and caring for the health needs of Mexican citizens and the citizens of other countries becomes a burden for the U.S., a burden that is removed from the countries that send us their citizens! I still cannot understand why our government does not bill these other governments for the healthcare costs that their citizens incur but don’t pay. These are costs that ultimately our beleaguered economy gets saddled with, and costs that often lead to the closing of hospitals that go bankrupt when they are not reimbursed for those bills, some of which are truly astronomical!
There is a saying that was made famous by a Russian emigre turned comedian, Yakov Smirnoff, who, in describing the U.S. as compared with the old Soviet Union, would repeatedly say, “America: What a country!” You can almost hear the leaders of those countries who encourage their citizens to head for the U.S., to utter the same four-word saying!
Where the movement of illegal aliens is concerned, the next group of individuals who stand to make out like bandits, are, in fact, bandits! These are the alien smugglers. Alien smugglers are among the most pernicious criminals to be found on this planet. They use violence and the threat of violence to intimidate the aliens that they charge to help them enter the U.S. Often the younger women are raped, and as a consequence, it is not unusual for women of child-bearing age to take birth control pills for several months prior to the time they expect to run the border to make certain that if they are raped, they wouldn’t become pregnant!
Often illegal aliens are required to carry narcotics on their person and are used as pack-animals. This leads to the use of the term “mules” to describe illegal aliens who carry a significant quantity of drugs in a backpack or hidden in their clothing.
Mexican drug cartels have become increasingly involved in these smuggling ventures, along with transnational gangs that are all vying for control of the extremely lucrative smuggling corridors to be found along our border with Mexico. Territorial disputes are often settled with violence, and at times rival gangs will engage in a shootout in an effort to steal a group of smuggled aliens that to the smugglers are simply regarded as cargo! These shootouts have resulted in not only smugglers getting shot and killed, but smuggled aliens suffering the same fate.
Once in the U.S., smuggled aliens are often kept, against their will, in “safe houses,” while final payments are arranged between the smugglers and the family members of those smuggled. The “negotiations” can resemble, and indeed, all too often turn into, kidnappings. In some instances the smugglers contact family members and demand that additional draconian and unexpected “fees” be paid.
Tragically, these negotiations don’t always have a “happy ending.”
The International Monetary Fund and other global economic organizations have come to see the remittances sent by illegal aliens back to their home countries as a way of moving tens of billions of dollars from the U.S. and other countries to the Third World.
The Migration and Remittances Fact Book for 2011 is published by the World Bank and contains amazing information concerning how the massive influx of aliens into the U.S. facilitates movement of American dollars out of the American economy. According to this publication, inye 2009 more than $45 billion in remittances were wired from the U.S. to other countries by foreign workers who were employed in the U.S. This did not, of course, take into account other ways that money was smuggled or otherwise moved out of the U.S.
Here are some interesting quotes to be found in that report:
■ According to available official data, Mexico–U.S. is the largest migration corridor in the world, accounting for 11.6 million migrants in 2010. Migration corridors in the former Soviet Union — Russia–Ukraine and Ukraine–Russia — are the next largest, followed by Bangladesh–India; in these corridors, many natives became migrants without moving when new international boundaries were drawn.
■ In 2010, worldwide remittance flows are estimated to have exceeded $440 billion. From that amount, developing countries received $325 billion, which represents an increase of 6 percent from the 2009 level. The true size, including unrecorded flows through formal and informal channels, is believed to be significantly larger. Recorded remittances in 2009 were nearly three times the amount of official aid and almost as large as foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to developing countries.
■ In 2010, the top recipient countries of recorded remittances were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and France. As a share of GDP, however, smaller countries such as Tajikistan (35 percent), Tonga (28 percent), Lesotho (25 percent), Moldova (31 percent), and Nepal (23 percent) were the largest recipients in 2009.
■ High-income countries are the main source of remittances. The U.S. is by far the largest, with $48 billion in recorded outward flows in 2009. Saudi Arabia ranks as the second largest, followed by Switzerland and Russia.
? Remittance flows to developing countries proved to be resilient during the recent global financial crisis?they fell only 5.5 percent in 2009 and registered a quick recovery in 2010. By contrast, there was a decline of 40 percent in FDI flows and a 46 percent decline in private debt and portfolio equity flows in 2009.
■ Remittance flows to developing countries proved to be resilient during the recent global financial crisis—they fell only 5.5 percent in 2009 and registered a quick recovery in 2010. By contrast, there was a decline of 40 percent in FDI flows and a 46 percent decline in private debt and portfolio equity flows in 2009.
To these global organizations, remittances and other movements of funds from sending countries such as the U.S., which was listed, incidentally, as by far the greatest source of remittances in the world, these wired and otherwise transmitted funds represented a form of foreign aid that could not be tampered with by political processes within the sending countries, and even when economic issues rear their ugly heads, the remittances keep on moving — draining our economy!
For a number of years, the government of Mexico has provided information to its citizens who were headed north to the U.S. to advise them as to how to survive the harsh climates of the desert, the threat of violence by the alien smugglers, and how to deal with the U.S. Border Patrol if they were encountered by American authorities. Because literacy rates in Mexico are so low, at first the Mexican government provided informal manuals that resembled comic books. Subsequently, the information was contained on video tapes that were provided to Mexican citizens who were seeking to run the border that is supposed to separate the U.S. from Mexico.
Clearly the government of Mexico, and that country’s extremely wealthy oligarchy, have a vested interest in having its citizens violate our borders and our laws. These government officials know that their citizens will be exploited, but they don’t care! This is about money and retention of political power. The leaders of the Mexican government are as concerned about the well- being of their citizens as all too many of our political leaders in the U.S. are concerned about the average American!
For all the complaints often voiced by officials of the Mexican government about how enforcing our nation’s immigration laws results in the families of illegal aliens being split up, no matter how carefully you may listen, you won’t hear a word about how having young Mexican men heading north and abandoning their families and, likely, their wives and children will result in those families being split up in Mexico! Of course once those illegal aliens make their way to the U.S., then suddenly the issue of divided families becomes an issue and provides an excuse to demand that illegal aliens not be deported back to Mexico because that might cause the illegal aliens’ families in the U.S. to be separated!
It is interesting that no one mentions that often, when illegal aliens are removed from the U.S., they may well be reunited with the family members who have been living in Mexico without them, while they toiled away on menial jobs in the U.S., sending greenbacks to their families in Mexico!
Hypocrisy is alive and well where these arguments are concerned!
Now that we are talking about hypocrisy and arguments made by advocates for open borders, we must consider the so-called “advocates for immigrants.”
There are a number of these advocacy organizations that see, in the large numbers of illegal aliens, money and power. It is in their best interests to attract as many aliens to enter the U.S. as possible because the more people they can claim to represent, the more political power they garner. Additionally, the more people who are likely to join these organizations, the more money they can receive. They claim to be on the side of the illegal aliens and oppose any efforts to secure our nation’s borders and enforce our nation’s immigration laws, but they also understand that the most likely victims of crimes perpetrated by transnational criminals are the members of the immigrant communities. The leaders of these advocacy organizations also know that the more foreign workers pour across our borders, the more wages for these workers will decline.
They don’t care! For them, this is purely about meeting the objectives of these organizations and not about really providing for the needs of immigrants.
They have developed a narrative that makes all sorts of allegations about those who understand that open borders and failures to enforce the immigration laws will enable more foreign workers and more foreign criminals to enter the U.S., but this is not their problem! They have jobs and their jobs involve enticing more aliens to enter the U.S. and to convince politicians that unless they pass laws that further this agenda of enticing and encouraging more aliens to enter the U.S., they cannot be elected!
More than anything else, politicians, just like any other workers, want to keep their jobs. They know that they need to garner increasingly huge campaign contributions and need to convince various ethnic voting blocks to cast votes for them.
These open borders advocates, whom I have come to refer to as the Immigration Anarchists, have many politicians conned into believing that their political futures depend on pandering to the ever-expanding base of newly naturalized voters. This is one of the real problems with having a nation of hyphenated citizens. Instead of all Americans focusing on being Americans with a common goal, the preservation of our nation and the protection of our citizens, many people are becoming convinced that their specific group has to have its needs met as a result of the divide and conquer approach taken by these special interest groups.
As more and more politicians talk about the need to appeal to voters of one ethnicity or the other, they stir up emotions that pit one group of Americans against another, further exacerbating the problem.
This is a bit like crying “Fire!” in a crowded theater — no one wants to waste time looking around to see if there really is a fire, and a stampede ensues!
Meanwhile the advocacy groups rake in the cash!
As more and more young illegal alien men enter the U.S. without their wives and/or girlfriends, the popularity of houses of prostitution increased in that population, leading to more trafficking in women for the sex trade. Some women intentionally sought to work in such brothels, while others were duped and forced into it.
Often the prostitutes in these immigrant communities are of the same ethnicity and nationality as are their customers. Many times they are smuggled into the U.S. by the same smuggling rings that bring in the illegal aliens who are seeking illegal employment.
This is not limited to any one racial or ethnic group, but exists in just about every immigrant community across the spectrum. Exploitation tends to beget still more exploitation!
Illegal aliens who come to the U.S. in violation of law are in need of a number of services that enable them to embed themselves in the communities in which they live. The term “embed” is significant because it is a term that was used by the Presidential Commission on the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 20001 (to which I provided testimony). The term “embed” is another way of saying “hide in plain sight.”
These illegal aliens all need to be able to blend into a community, get a job, and not arouse suspicion while achieving the purpose for which the illegal alien first entered the U.S.: to obtain identity documents that will enable him or her to work in the U.S. and send money back home. Producers of fraudulent identity documents and the vendors who sell them have become a huge industry since the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided millions of illegal aliens with lawful status but also required that employers check identity documents to try to determine if the workers they hire are lawfully entitled to work in the U.S.
As the illegal alien population mushroomed, so did the demand for these documents. As more employers enroll in E-Verify and other such programs that enable employers to determine if names, dates of birth, and Social Security and/or alien file numbers to be found on alien registration cards or other such documents issued by DHS match, those who commit identity theft have been finding their “services” to be in increasing demand. Of course the growth of this insidious criminal “industry” has encouraged many people to sign up with companies that offer identity protection. This is a bit reminiscent of the old Mad magazine cartoon, “Spy vs. Spy” where one action requires a counter action. And so it goes!
When law enforcement officers arrest a suspect, generally the first question that police officers and other law enforcement officials need to answer is, “Who is this guy I just handcuffed?” This is why fingerprinting is a routine part of the process. I have often joked about how you can tell a good guy from a bad guy. A good guy gets up in the morning and goes through his belongings asking, “What do I want to wear today?” A bad guy wakes up and asks, “Who do I want to be today?”
Illegal aliens who simply seek illegal employment are not the only people who want to obtain false identity documents, criminals have the same need. As more false identity documents become easier to come by, criminals including members of narcotics trafficking organizations, transnational gangs, and international terrorists all need to acquire false identities as a part of the embedding process. This illustrates how a large illegal alien community provides opportunities for criminals and terrorists to easily conceal themselves in these communities without calling undue attention to themselves. These communities create a huge haystack in which some truly deadly needles are hiding!
Most illegal aliens live a transient existence in the U.S. For them a secure place to receive mail is essential. This increases the demand for Post Office boxes, and more often, they rent mail boxes from private companies. No matter where the illegal alien who has rented a mail box may move, he knows he can always go to that one location to pick up his correspondence from home.
In conducting investigations into large-scale narcotics trafficking organizations and international terrorist organizations, we found that these mail box services provided an easy and relatively secure way for these truly pernicious individuals to communicate with their cohorts all over the globe with little fear of detection. One of their tactics was to rent such a box under an assumed identity and provide a home address that was simply another such mail box not far away. When we attempted to track down the owner of the other box, we almost always found that the address that was used to rent that box only existed in the imagination of the person who rented the box. This was a dead end for us!
Earlier I noted the remittances that are transmitted from the U.S. to the countries from whence the illegal aliens come. Banks and money remitters also get their piece of the action, charging for their services, making them the silent partner of the illegal aliens who seek to send their money to their families back home. They also become the silent partners for those whose means of acquiring money is considerably more nefarious than the illegal alien who is paid to mow lawns, bag groceries or perform day labor work. In this instance I am talking about drug traffickers and other transnational criminals.
A number of years ago, when Tom Tancredo was a Congressman from Colorado, he proposed that remittances be taxed. What ensued was quite interesting. Charles T. Fote, who was at that time, the CEO of a corporation known as the First Data Corporation, formed a political action committee to attempt to unseat Tancredo and moved his company from its location in Atlanta, Georgia, to Denver, Colorado. It is important to know that at the time, First Data Corp. was the parent company of Western Union! On September 29, 2006, Western Union was spun off from First Data Corp.
According to the cover story of the July 18, 2005 edition of Business Week, entitled, “Embracing Illegals”:
Illegals’ importance to the U.S. economy is key to the country’s
often schizophrenic views toward them. Chronic complaints from taxpayers and
workers aside, companies that hire or sell to the undocumented simply have too
much at stake to allow a backlash to get out of hand. Even politicians who
thunder about illegals have trouble sticking to their convictions.
Such was the case with Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado, who says he may run for President in 2008 on a largely anti-immigration platform. One suggestion he made last year: a tax on the remittances foreigners send home as a way to recoup the education and health-care costs Tancredo chalks up to freeloading. But he quickly dropped the idea after an outcry from Denver-based First Data, whose Western Union unit took in $1.1 billion last year from such money transfers. First Data Corp.’s political action committee and its chief executive, Charles T. Fote, each wrote $2,000 checks in support of Tancredo’s opponent. Tancredo won reelection but has revised his plan: Rather than tax the individual transaction, he proposes reducing foreign aid by the amount of remittances that countries like Mexico receive from their citizens in the U.S.
Please make certain that you don’t miss the point that in one year (2004) Western Union took in more than $1 billion for simply transferring money out of the U.S.! This begs the question, how much money did they move out of the U.S.? The obvious follow-up question: “How many other such remitters moved money from the U.S. and what was the grand total?”
Having foreign workers employed in the U.S. clearly causes huge amounts of American money to disappear from our nation’s beleaguered economy!
The administration has mortgaged the economic future of our children and their children to create an economic stimulus program. Encouraging ever larger numbers of foreign workers to enter the U.S. to take jobs American desperately want not only displaces American workers, but also creates a situation where foreign workers do what makes perfect sense to them — they send as much of their earnings out of our country to support their families in their home countries. This is money that is not spent in the U.S. and not invested in the U.S.
This is a bit like filling a swimming pool with water during an extreme drought but neglecting to close the drain. The next day when the homeowner, who is fortunate enough to have a swimming pool, puts on his swimming trunks and heads for the pool hoping to take a dip, he is upset to find out that he has an empty pool!
In December 2003, I watched a cable television program that aired a commercial for Bank of America. This commercial was for a program that promised a safe and secure way for people to wire money from the U.S. to Mexico with a minimum of human interaction! I was flabbergasted!
I contacted a journalist at the Washington Times for whom I have tremendous respect, Jerry Seper. I told him about the commercial and my concerns about how such a program could provide illegal aliens with a significant service in furtherance of their illegal activities and also create a risk to national security. Being the sort of tenacious journalist that he is, Jerry got to work.
On January 5, 2004, the Washington Times published Jerry’s article, “Terror route seen in bank program.” I was gratified that Jerry quoted me in it.
Almost as soon as that news report was published, the Bank of America commercials touting that program stopped, and while the service remained available, it was no longer prominently displayed on the home page of the Bank of America website!
I would urge that you read that entire news report and pay special attention to the last three paragraphs which I am providing here:
SafeSend requires the sender to have a Social Security number, although the bank’s Web site says those without a card can enroll by calling a toll-free number. Other requirements are an e-mail address and a valid check or credit card, which the bank noted it can help the applicants obtain. The site also notes that the sender has control over the system because it is an “automated process, so there are fewer intermediaries.”
Bank of America was a leading proponent of the digitally coded “matricula consular cards” issued by Mexico to its citizens in the U.S. The cards are used by Mexican nationals as legal forms of identification. Nearly 1 million were issued last year, despite law enforcement warnings of potential widespread document fraud.
FBI Assistant Director Steve McCraw, who heads the bureau’s Office of Intelligence, told a House subcommittee this year that the matricula cards were being used by illegal aliens, noting that foreign nationals in this country already had other forms of legal identification, including passports.
Stop and give this a bit of thought: The then head of the FBI’s Intelligence Division had testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on June 26, 2003, wherein he warned against the acceptance of matricula cards issued by the government of Mexico because, he noted in his testimony, those cards were not a reliable proof of identity. And yet, the Bank of America went ahead and accepted those cards as valid ID in conjunction with the issuance of credit cards and providing mortgages and various other loans and and services to aliens whose true identities could not be verified!
The FBI thought that the prepared testimony that was provided at that hearing was so significant that they posted it on the official FBI website as a press release! The title of that hearing was: “Consular ID Cards In A Post 9/11 World.” http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/consular-id-cards-in-a-post-9-11-world
Here is an excerpted paragraph from Mr. McCraw’s testimony:
These criminal threats are significant, but it is the terrorist threat presented by the Matricula Consular that is most worrisome. Federal officials have discovered individuals from many different countries in possession of the Matricula Consular card. Most of these individuals are citizens of other Central or South American countries. However, at least one individual of Middle Eastern descent has also been arrested in possession of the Matricula Consular card. The ability of foreign nationals to use the Matricula Consular to create a well-documented, but fictitious, identity in the U.S. provides an opportunity for terrorists to move freely within the U.S. without triggering name-based watch lists that are disseminated to local police officers. It also allows them to board planes without revealing their true identity. All of these threats are in addition to the transfer of terrorist funds, mentioned earlier.
It is unthinkable that, after the clear and convincing warning issued by the head of FBI intelligence at a Congressional hearing conducted approximately 20 months after the worst terrorist attack ever committed on American soil, and arguably the worst terrorist attack of modern history, bankers summarily ignored that advice! Clearly these bankers do not say a pledge of allegiance to the red, white, and blue flag of the U.S. but to a banner, likely green in color, festooned with dollar signs!
If you wonder how so many banks failed when they likely provided subprime mortgages, issued credit cards, and offered other loans to illegal aliens whose identities, let alone credit histories could not be verified, wonder no more!
Banks, money remitters, and other such enterprises that gladly provide their services to illegal aliens are not alone in seeking to do business with illegal aliens. In point of fact, just about any business that offers goods or services doesn’t care about the immigration status of their customers, and there is nothing in the law that says that a store or other business cannot do business with illegal aliens unless that business involves the sale of firearms, ammunition, or other narrowly confined products.
Merchants and business owners of all sorts simply want patrons to enter their establishments and leave behind their money! Whether the customer is buying $20 worth of groceries or a $20,000 car, all that the business person wants is to sell his (her) wares to customers. They don’t care whose money they get. If Americans can no longer afford that nice new expensive car, so be it, provided that someone buys it!
If Americans wind up losing their homes to foreclosure, then the solution, to those without scruples, is to import buyers! If you believe I am being harsh, please consider that this is precisely what Alan Greenspan had to say when he testified, on April 30, 2009, about the issue of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” before the Senate’s Immigration Subcommittee chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer!
Here is a brief excerpt from Greenspan’s prepared testimony:
First, skilled (foreign) workers and their families form new households. They will, of necessity, move into vacant housing units, the current glut of which is depressing prices of American homes.
What he neglected to state is that the “vacant housing units” had belonged to American families who lost their homes to foreclosure. Some of whom had been fiscally responsible in the way that they handled their finances but could not have imagined that they would find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own! You also have to love how Greenspan refers to a family’s home as a “housing unit”!
Could he have described a family’s home in a more clinical or dispassionate manner? He almost makes it sound as though we are talking about a birdcage or a garage!
You will be able to read more about what Green-span had to say shortly. I promise you that it will elevate your blood pressure!
It is because of the foregoing that the Chamber of Commerce is in favor of having as many aliens as possible enter the U.S.! As the infamous mob saying goes, “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business!”
Several years ago I was contacted by Indiana State Senator Mike Delph and members of IFIRE (Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement) requesting that I come to Indiana to provide testimony at a hearing in which a bill authored by Senator Delph would be debated. He had proposed legislation, SB 580, that would punish establishments in Indiana that knowingly hired illegal aliens and implement other such measures to combat illegal immigration.
I agreed to travel to Indiana and testify at that hearing. I was astonished that before it was my turn to testify, that a representative of the Chamber of Commerce took to the podium and proclaimed that he was going to say something that likely no one had ever said before. He stated that the U.S. has millions of aliens who are both documented and undocumented and that our nation needed many, many more aliens of both categories! I nearly fell out of my seat! This guy certainly did not mince words! The Chamber of Commerce has been a strong force for increasing the number of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program and has been a strong force for issuing just about every category of visa imaginable.
We will take another look at the Chamber of Commerce and its efforts concerning immigration later on.
Unfortunately, SB 580 did not pass then, but last year I was again invited to provide testimony at a hearing about the successor legislation, SB 590, and this time the bill did pass and was signed into law.
The government of Mexico is not alone in doing what it can to facilitate the exportation of its citizens across international borders and the importation of money they send. It does not even always involve illegal aliens but also involves aliens who have technical skills and who secure visas that enable them to ply their “High-Tech” trades in foreign countries — often ourcountry. The H-1B visa is one of a number of such nonimmigrant visa categories that enable aliens to enter our country under the color of law. Awhile back, the U.S. raised the filing fees for these visas and the President of India expressed public indignation about this. He was quoted in the Washington Postarticle, “Indian government calls H1B visa fee hike ‘discriminatory,’” from July 2010. Here is an excerpt from that article:
The legislation targets companies that lawmakers say “exploit” U.S. visa programs. A summary of the Senate version listed Wipro, Tata, Infosys and Satyam as such firms, saying that they fly thousands of employees to the U.S. to work at as technicians and engineers for their clients.
What is impossible to understand is how the U.S. government reacts to the exploitation of the visa system that is supposed to protect American workers, by raising the fees for those visas, while not preventing the exploitation in the first place! The point to the process by which visas are issued to aliens is to attempt to make certain that their presence in our country will be regulated and that they won’t pose a problem for the citizens of our country. The visa process is supposed to prevent the entry of aliens who fall into a series of categories that are obviously problematic for the U.S. and its citizens. The categories of aliens who are not to be admitted into the U.S. are enumerated in Title 8, U.S. Code, Section 212.
This section of law is one of many contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and enumerates the grounds for excluding aliens, for such reasons as that an alien has been previously deported and did not secure the authorization to lawfully reenter the U.S., an alien has contacted a dangerous communicable disease, suffers mental illness and is prone to violence, is a convicted felon, is a narcotics trafficker, alien smuggler, money launderer, has engaged in war crimes or human rights violations, or is a spy or a terrorist or is otherwise a threat to national security. This list is not all inclusive, but it provides a series of examples of aliens who are to be prevented from entering the U.S. because of obvious national security or public safety issues. Aliens who are public charges or who would remain in the U.S. illegally as intending immigrants who have no immigrant visas are also excludible, as are aliens who intend to work on jobs they are not entitled to take in the U.S., depending on the class of visa they have been issued.
Where the issuance of work visas is concerned, under the law, aliens are not supposed to be admitted to work in the U.S. if under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the law
…excludes aliens seeking to immigrate “for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor,” except that such aliens may be eligible for a visa if: the Secretary of Labor has determined that (A) there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available at the time of application for a visaand admission into the U.S. and at the place where the alien is to perform the work, and (B) the employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of the U.S. workers similarly employed.
If the visa process for H-1B visas was found to have been exploited, then the primary objective of the visa process, that of protecting American workers, was not being met. Simply charging more for those visas does not solve the problem and does not help unemployed Americans who are displaced by foreign workers. The exploitation of the visa process has a more formal name: that name is visa fraud! Visa fraud is a felony!
There is another term that is appropriate to describe what these aliens are doing. According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, the term “steal” is defined as:
1 : to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice
2 : to come or go secretly, unobtrusively, gradually, or unexpectedly
3 : to steal or attempt to steal a base
1 a : to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully < stolea car> b : to take away by force or unjust means <they’ve stolenour liberty> c : to take surreptitiously or without permission < steala kiss> d : to appropriate to oneself or beyond one’s proper share : make oneself the focus of < stealthe show>
2 a : to move, convey, or introduce secretly : smuggle b : to accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner < steala visit>
3 a : to seize, gain, or win by trickery, skill, or daring <a basketball player adept at stealingthe ball> < stolethe election> b of a base runner : to reach (a base) safely solely by running and usually catching the opposing team off guard
— steal·able adjective
— steal·er noun
— steal a march on
: to gain an advantage on unobserved
— steal one’s thunder
: to grab attention from another especially by anticipating an idea, plan, or presentation; also : to claim credit for another’s idea
If foreign workers are able to acquire jobs that should rightfully go to American or lawful immigrant workers, it would not be unreasonable to say that these foreign workers have stolen American jobs. It is interesting that the secondary definition of the term steal could be used to further describe how, through stealth and guile, aliens enter our country to do harm to our nation and our citizens when they either game the visa process and the immigration benefits program or circumvent the inspections process altogether.
This is why I have come to say the difference between an illegal alien and a lawful immigrant is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar!
The primary purpose for requiring visas of foreign workers is to make certain that those foreign workers don’t take jobs that Americans are ready, willing, and able to do. Aliens who game the visa process are depriving American workers of the vital jobs that they need to support themselves and their families. In this economic climate, jobs are precious and virtually every politician on every level of government now pledges to create jobs because they understand that this is a concern of the vast majority of the citizens of the U.S. Yet the “solution” concocted by our politicians was not to prosecute those who perpetrated fraud and it was not to terminate the visa program or create safeguards to end the exploitation (fraud). The “solution” was to charge more for the visas, and meanwhile, the protections that the visa process was designed to afford American workers are nowhere to be found!
You cannot make this stuff up!
Clearly the government of India wants to make certain that its workers can enter the U.S. and at the lowest costs possible, and get jobs so that they can keep those remittances coming (going?) back to India to enrich the economy of India while bleeding the economy of the U.S.
Not long ago I wrote about the way that attorneys easily manipulate the visa process to swindle American workers out of the jobs they are eminently qualified to do, but have lost out to lawyers who want their legal fees for working to get those foreign workers visas to work in the U.S., and unscrupulous employers who want to pay the least amount possible for the services of highly educated and highly skilled professionals. As I have previously noted, abuses in the H-1B visa program, which is supposed to enable importing of high-tech workers with skills that supposedly are not available among U.S. citizens or lawful immigrant workers, are legendary and well documented in a series of GAO reports. As I have noted in previous commentaries, you should take a couple of minutes to watch a video that I guarantee will really infuriate you. It is the video of an immigration lawyers’ conference in which lawyers were being coached to “not find qualified U.S. workers”! The lecturer who is seen leading the seminar and is instructing the attorneys is a guy by the name of Lawrence M. Lebowitz, the Vice President of Marketing for the firm of Cohen & Grigsby. This video (see link below) was posted on You Tube by the Programmer Guild, an organization made up of computer programmers.
The attorneys are motivated to make certain that the aliens get the visas and the jobs because their lucrative fees (billable hours) are dependent on American workers not securing those jobs. If Americans were able to take those jobs, the corporations would have no need to retain those high-priced attorneys!
The corporations are eager to hire foreign workers because they will work for lower wages than their American counterparts. There is a saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Money not spent on wages and fringe benefits enriches the profit margins of the companies that hire alien employees.
When Comprehensive Immigration Reform was being debated and, fortunately, defeated several years ago, what was not widely known was that there was a provision of the proposed legislation that would have required that the federal government pay the legal fees of the illegal aliens!
Let that concept sink in! When Americans prepare their tax returns, if they seek the services of a tax preparer, an accountant, or an attorney, they have to pay for those services.
When an alien who seeks lawful status through the appropriate legal channels and retains an attorney, that alien must pay for his attorney, but the sweeping amnesty program that was being proposed to provide unknown millions of illegal aliens with lawful status, even though there would be no reliable way of determining their true identities, backgrounds, or intentions of potential affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations, would have been eligible to have free legal counsel!
Not only would this be to the advantage of these illegal aliens, but to the attorneys who would not have to worry about acquiring deadbeat clients!
As it is, immigration law provides employment to many attorneys who have found a lucrative legal niche where aliens are concerned.
On December 21, 2011, I was a guest on Neil Cavuto’s program on the Fox Business Network to discuss how failures to secure our nation’s southern border, which is supposed to separate the U.S. from Mexico, may well be costing American workers their jobs. This segment was predicated on an announcement by the Obama administration that they were going to remove some of the National Guard personnel assigned to the U.S./Mexican border, and Neil was concerned that this might make our already porous southern border even more porous, which would likely enable more illegal aliens to run our borders and take jobs in the U.S.
Of course the National Guard personnel have not been making arrests along the border, only supporting the efforts by the beleaguered Border Patrol, but certainly any reduction in resources along that border is worrisome and, in my judgement, wrong-headed.
As I settled into my seat opposite Neil on his set in the television studio, and the technicians adjusted my microphone, he and I had an opportunity to exchange pleasantries — he is an affable and “down to earth” guy, and I have been on his program many times. I decided to pique his curiosity before we went on air, and so I asked him, “Why should anyone give a damn if a product that we buy is made by an ‘American’ company, because to my thinking, there are very few truly American companies?” I explained that most of the American companies are actually multinational companies that don’t say a pledge of allegiance to the American flag but to the bottom line. These companies often don’t pay federal taxes and may even receive subsidies. They construct factories and other facilities overseas, hiring native workers there, and then, as if to add insult to injury, where they do have facilities in the U.S., they often seek to import and hire as many foreign workers as possible inside the U.S. Finally I asked, “Why should Americans really care if a so-called American company is successful unless they own shares of stock in that company?”
He seemed surprised at my statements and then told me that he had actually checked the issue about taxes out, and that I was correct about many of these companies not paying taxes. While I don’t know for sure if this quiet discussion influenced what we talked about on air, as you will see, this issue did come up during my on-air appearance.
We went on air and had a brief discussion that quickly moved from one issue to another. Neil asked me if I thought that by making the border more porous, more illegal aliens would likely take advantage of the situation and take jobs in the U.S.?
I assured him that his hypothesis and concerns were entirely justified, and then I told him that it was frustrating that, with all of the talk that we hear from the political candidates about the need to create jobs, not one candidate has suggested that the U.S. should liberate jobs!
He asked how we could liberate jobs, and my answer was succinct: “Enforce the immigration laws!”
Next he asked about the use of drones to conduct surveillance along the border, and I noted that manned helicopters would actually make more sense, since drones can only beam images to a control center that would then have to convey the information to Border Patrol agents, who would then have to race to the location where the drone may have spotted aliens running the border. A helicopter containing Border Patrol agents could immediately land and the agents could then make the arrests. A helicopter can also provide backup for Border Patrol agents operating along the violent border regions of the U.S.
Finally Neil asked me about the assertions of the many CEOs who have appeared on Neil’s program and claimed that without foreign “High-Tech” workers, American companies cannot be competitive. I told him that this was, in my judgement, a false claim. I went on to say that these CEO’s are simply seeking to hire foreign workers because these workers accept lower wages. I made note of some truly infuriating statements that Alan Greenspan had made during his appearance before a hearing conducted by the Senate Immigration Subcommittee in April 2009, when Greenspan bemoaned the fact that Americans who have skills and/or education were earning too much money, and he actually referred to these American workers as the “privileged elite!” Greenspan actually said that the solution to paying Americans too much money was to make them compete with foreign workers for their jobs!
Here is a link to that hearing from April 30, 2009: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=e655f9e2809e5476862f735da147e5ee
Keep in mind that Greenspan was arguably one of the architects of the economic meltdown of the U.S., who had advocated for providing subprime mortgages to many people who could not afford those mortgages, including illegal aliens.
Among the remarks made by Greenspan in his prepared testimony at the immigration hearing, were these outrageous statements:
The quantity of temporary H-1B visas issued each year is far too small to meet the need, especially in the near future as the economy copes with the forthcoming retirement wave of skilled baby boomers. As Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, succinctly testified before Congress in March 2007, “America will find it infinitely more difficult to maintain its technological leadership if it shuts out the very people who are most able to help us compete.” He added that we are “driving away the world’s best and brightest precisely when we need them most.”
Our skill shortage, I trust, will ultimately be resolved through reform of our primary and secondary education systems. But, at best, that will take many years. An accelerated influx of highly skilled immigrants would bridge that gap and, moreover, carry with it two significant bonuses.
First, skilled workers and their families form new households. They will, of necessity, move into vacant housing units, the current glut of which is depressing prices of American homes. And, of course, house price declines are a major factor in mortgage foreclosures and the plunge in value of the vast quantity of U.S. mortgage-backed securities that has contributed substantially to the disabling of our banking system.
The second bonus would address the increasing concentration of income in this country. Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created a privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at noncompetitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions would reduce at least some of our income inequality.
Unemployment and underemployment of our citizens have caused record numbers of them to lose their homes to foreclosure and to an increasing number of our citizens and their children now living in poverty.
Whenever the unemployment statistics are published, the news media converge on those numbers and report on them, but all too often the statistics do not honestly reflect the suffering of our fellow Americans. Americans who have exhausted their unemployment benefits are not included in the unemployment statistics. The jobs that are created are often at salary levels that do not come close to replacing the jobs that have been lost. From an economic perspective, many American workers are attempting to run up a “down escalator,” and that escalator is picking up speed!
On January 27, 2011, Fox News posted a report about the economic meltdown worth reviewing that made it clear that Alan Greenspan played a major role in the economic crisis that is still hammering our nation and our citizens.
Most recently, H.R. 3012, “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act,” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The text of this legislation is available on the Library of Congress website: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3012:
The purpose of this bill is to make it easier for high-tech workers from countries such as India and the People’s Republic of China to obtain visas to work in the U.S., yet there is no legislation being proposed with the name of “Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act!”
Now I want you to give some thought to what a freshman senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet, is proposing. Here is an excerpt from a recent Denver Post article titled“Bennet bill seeks visas for illegal immigrants studying math, science,”which discusses Mr. Bennet’s dedication to foreign nationals:
WASHINGTON — In hopes of meeting a yawning need for engineers in the U.S., Sen. Michael Bennet has introduced legislation that would create a new green card category for math and science graduates to stay in the U.S. after college if they have work.
Bennet’s proposal would also give undocumented kids a student visa if they enroll in a science, math, or technology program as undergraduates.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Visa Act of 2011 was drafted after Bennet, a former Denver schools chief, heard a loud cry from CEOs and university chiefs that America was good at delivering a world-class higher education, but not so good at keeping those students in the country for jobs after they graduate.
Here is an excerpt from the press release that Senator Bennet posted on his website on December 13, 2011, to explain his proposed legislation:
“We are facing a shortage of workers in high-tech jobs, and more and more of our STEM degrees go to foreign students who leave the U.S. to work,” said Bennet.“It only makes sense to keep international talent in our economy and encourage American students to enter STEM fields. This plan addresses these problems through a comprehensive approach with an eye toward long-term workforce development, economic growth and job creation.”
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Visa Act of 2011 would create a new category of visas for students graduating with advanced degrees in specialties in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It would help fill Colorado’s increasing number of STEM-related jobs by keeping graduates of American universities working in the U.S. and by encouraging American students to study STEM fields.
“Demand in the U.S. for engineering and scientists is strong and will continue to grow with the upcoming retirement of many baby boomers,” said Ralph Christie, chair and CEO of Merrick & Company in Aurora. “Senator Bennet’s proposal of a pathway to more visas can be one approach to providing additional engineering and scientific human resource talent in a time when it is needed for our country.”
“This legislation will address a long known problem for American higher education – why force our best and brightest students, those whom we have invested in so significantly, to leave just as they are best positioned to contribute to our society?” said Noah Finkelstein, director of Integrating STEM Education and associate professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “U.S. science and technology, and our society more broadly, would not be the great successes they are today if it were not for the innovations, contributions, and investment by foreign students who came to this country to study science, technology engineering and mathematics.”
A member of the U.S. Senate is bemoaning the lack of high-tech workers in the U.S. at a time when American high-tech workers are unemployed or underemployed and when American students who are graduating from colleges are confronting an unemployment rate that is in the stratosphere, meaning that they are having a tough time finding work in their chosen professions or in any profession at all, while paying off student loans that resemble mortgage payments? This is insane!
If there was an actual shortage of so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals, the solution should be to encourage American students to study those curricula and become successful!
Someone needs to explain to Senator Bennet that a high unemployment rate means that there are two few jobs for too many workers! Perhaps he slept through that class in college!
While his bill would provide education and incentives for American students to acquire degrees in STEM, his bill would even provide opportunities for illegal aliens to study in the U.S., citing the DREAM Act!
What most folks don’t immediately understand is that when thousands of foreign high-tech workers take jobs in the U.S. for what are lower than prevailing wages, the wages that these foreign workers are willing to accept become the new “prevailing wages”!
This phenomenon is not limited to high-tech industries but is to be found across the labor market. What we wind up with is a veritable “race to the bottom” where the Middle Class is decimated!
Traditionally in the U.S., hard work, education, and diligence are rewarded. By opening up job opportunities to people from across the planet, it is inevitable that extreme downward pressure will be exerted on wages and benefits, thereby destroying the Middle Class.
Again, I ask that you consider Greenspan’s statement:
Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created a privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at noncompetitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions would reduce at least some of our income inequality.
Some time ago I compared this concept of encouraging and inducing foreign workers, especially highly educated professionals, to come to the U.S. to work for so-called American corporations to the game of “Musical Chairs,” and said that to import more foreign workers at a time when Americans are out of work, losing their homes to foreclosure, and unable to support themselves and their families, makes as much sense as having lots of additional kids enter a room where the game of Musical Chairs is being played. Suddenly, instead of finding that there is one child more than the number of chairs, they were all competing for; there would be a surplus of dozens of kids without chairs to sit on!
Except here we are not talking about a popular childhood game but about the livelihood and the lives of millions of our citizens!
Having considered how corporations seek to benefit from a massive influx of foreign workers across the economic spectrum, I think we should next consider how universities want to bring in more foreign students to acquire the tuitions that these students pay.
In March 2002 I attended a breakfast for Parents’ Association presidents in Brooklyn, New York. I was, at the time, the PA president of my daughter’s public school. One of the speakers at that event was the member of Congress who, at that time, supposedly represented me in the House of Representatives, Congressman Anthony Weiner (yes, that Anthony Weiner!)
When he wrapped up his remarks, unlike most of the other politicians who spoke that morning and joined us for breakfast, he made a bee-line for the door. I decided to try to intercept him before he could leave and talk to him about immigration and the terrorist attacks that had taken place just about six months earlier. He certainly knew who I am; in fact my oldest son, who was then in college, had worked for him as an intern.
I asked him if he could spare five minutes and he became indignant and told me that he had appointments and that he knew what I wanted to talk about — immigration! He told me that while we need to enforce the laws, we should not interfere with students who wanted to come to the U.S. because universities and other schools depended greatly on their tuition fees!
I told him that some of those who attacked us had student visas and so the system clearly did not work to protect our nation. I told him that those failures were responsible for the attacks of 9/11 and that more such attacks might follow if corrective actions were not taken — and the sooner the better!
What was unbelievable was that we had this brief and unpleasant exchange in Brooklyn, New York, where, on September 11, 2001, the ashes from the conflagration from what came to be forever known as “Ground Zero” fluttered around the very building in which we stood! The stench of the smoldering fires at Ground Zero still permeated the air on that day in March of 2002, and here I was confronting a Congressman who purportedly represented the people of this district, including some of those who perished either by jumping to their deaths or by being obliterated in the fires or when the buildings collapsed. This is the Congressman who purportedly represented members of the families of those victims, telling me in no uncertain terms that, while my focus was on the issue of immigration law enforcement to prevent future terrorist attacks, he was extremely concerned about the impact that immigration law enforcement might have on preventing foreign students from entering the U.S. and the potential loss of tuition that was being paid by foreign students?!
I was absolutely thunderstruck that, when I expected to have a polite and reasonable discussion on that day nearly siz months after that terrorist attack, as soon as I approached Weiner, his ability to “connect the dots” apparently went like this: Mike Cutler is an INS agent — Mike Cutler wants to talk about immigration and national security — enforcing immigration laws will cause schools to lose the tuition of foreign students!
Weiner became really agitated and told me that he had to leave, and after a really unpleasant exchange, he headed for the door and disappeared into the street.
We are often told about how students come to the U.S. to avail themselves of educational opportunities to take up studies that are unique to the U.S. Here is a question that must be considered — just how unique are these schools that are qualified to accept foreign students?
While there are some truly first rate schools that accept foreign students, I believe that you would be astounded to find that there are literally many hundreds of schools that depend on foreign students for a significant proportion of their earnings. There is a bulletin that ICE publishes and updates regularly1 that provides a list of all of the schools that are eligible to enroll foreign students. The current bulletin contains more than 180 pages, and each page contains a long list of these approved schools!
There is a somewhat interesting and ironic postscript to that story. I drove home after that encounter with Weiner, still furious at his attitude about immigration and foreign students, when, as I was pulling into my driveway, my cell-phone rang. Upon answering my phone I was greeted by an unfamiliar voice with an unfamiliar name. I was more than a little surprised to find out that the caller was Leon Buck, who was, at that time, the chief counsel to the Minority (Democrats) at the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. He told me that information had just been received that two of the terrorists who had participated in the attacks of September 11, 2001, Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, had just been granted authorization to change immigration status so that they could attend flight school — six months to the day after those horrific attacks!
Mr. Buck went on to tell me that they were familiar with me because of my previous appearance before a hearing conducted by the House Immigration Subcommittee on May 20, 1997. The hearing was predicated on the terrorist attacks of 1993, which explored the issue of visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud. He went on to tell me that the ranking member of the subcommittee, Sheila Jackson Lee, wanted me to be her witness at the impending hearing into how two dead terrorists could be provided with authorization to change status and attend flight schools six months to the day after the attacks of September 11, 2001!
My rage at the madness articulated by Weiner quickly faded, and I was elated to suddenly find that I would have an incredible opportunity to provide my input at an important Congressional hearing about a component of the very same issue, that just one hour earlier, I had tried to discuss with my supposed Congressional representative!
As I prepared my testimony for that hearing,2 I could not get over the fact that the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) could be so incompetent as to approve applications that had been filed more than a half year earlier by two terrorists who had been dead for six months after participating in the terrorist attacks! This was a level of incompetence that was nothing short of staggering!
While Weiner was only one of 435 members of the House of Representatives, I suspect that he is not alone in his concerns about tuition fees paid by foreign students for their education in the U.S. Clearly foreign students provide a source of revenue for colleges, trade schools, and all sorts of other training outfits that are eligible to file for foreign students. Believe it or not, generally it is up to the foreign student advisors of these schools to notify ICE if students fail to attend school or flunk out. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse!
In just about every sort of sporting event, an official or officials preside over the competition to make certain that everyone plays by the rules. The referee in the boxing match, the umpires at the baseball game are examples of such officials who attempt to provide a “level playing field.”
Where American citizens and the opportunities for success are concerned, their should be a tilt to that playing field, and it is supposed to tilt in favor of the citizens of our country. This is what virtually every country does for its citizens. The point to being a citizen of a country is to be treated differently from those who are not citizens. In a fire or other emergency, it is expected that parents would first attempt to save their own children before seeking to save the children of other families.
When an airliner crashes in a foreign country, it is to be expected that if any of the passengers are citizens of the U.S., our government will send investigators to the crash scene.
Our military is supposed to exist primarily to protect our nation and our citizens.
Before the Second World War, the enforcement and administration of the immigration laws of the U.S. were the responsibility of the Department of Labor. It was understood that when large numbers of foreign workers entered a country, the influx of workers would likely drive down wages and create unfair competition for American workers. This is fundamental commonsense!
Today we not only don’t have a level playing field where American workers and American students are concerned, but the playing field is severely tilted against American and resident alien workers in favor of foreign workers in just about every industry! If you are fortunate enough to have a job and work for an employer, you would do well to keep an eye on your rearview mirror.As that famous baseball player, Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige, famously remarked, “Don’t look now, but something may be gaining on you!” That something (someone) may well be a foreign worker who is willing to do your job for less money!
In nature there is an illness that exemplifies mindless greed. That illness is cancer. Cancer cells have an insatiable appetite that causes them to secrete hormones that result in the growth of more blood vessels to feed their uncontrolled hunger, ultimately starving out the healthy cells of that body. As it advances, cancer begins to kill its host victim. In the end the victim dies, and so does the malignant tumor!
If you wonder at my analogy, please consider that so many individuals, corporations, and advocacy groups are motivated by a level of greed that is impossible to fathom. It certainly makes sense for a person or a corporation to seek to maximize profits. However, when the issue of profit eclipses all other considerations, catastrophe may well result! When goals for increasing profits in the short term become all consuming and no thought is given to long-range implications, then those who score huge short-term profits may find, to their horror, that in the long term, they too are likely to fall victim to this incredibly one-dimensional and myopic perspective on what constitutes success!
Two well known expressions come to mind in contemplating this lack of foresight: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” and “Don’t kill the goose that lays golden eggs!”
In considering examples of such wrong-headed thinking, note that the Chamber of Commerce has joined with executives of numerous industries to create the Discover America Partnership. Their website lists the following organizations as participating and providing leadership:
Travel Association, Chair
American Hotel & Lodging Assn.
National Restaurant Assn.
National Retail Federation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Best Western International
Choice Hotels Int, Inc.
Greater Miami Convention
& Visitors Bureau
International Franchise Assn. InterContinental Hotels Grp
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
What is unfathomable is that this consortium of diverse corporations and interest groups is applying tremendous pressure on the administration and on politicians to open our nation’s borders to increase commerce and trade at the expense of national security!
One of the issues that the Discover America Partnership has addressed is the Visa Waiver Program, demanding that an ever-increasing number of countries be permitted to participate in this wrong-headed program. At present some 36 countries participate, meaning that their citizens do not need to apply for and receive visas before boarding airliners and seeking to enter the U.S. This is particularly disturbing at a time when our nation remains engaged in a “War on Terror.” The proper administration of a visa program can provide a number of important protections for our nation by, in effect, pushing our nation’s borders out to the US embassies and consulates where visas are issued. In my judgement, this insatiable desire for ever more aliens to enter the U.S. to generate ever more immediate profits come, with serious risks to national security and to the well-being of our nation and to all those who depend on travel, trade, and commerce for their livelihoods.
On March 18, 2004, I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims at the behest of Sheila Jackson Lee, the then ranking member of that subcommittee.3
Check out the links I have provided to you below and excerpts from the material to be found on the webpage posted by the organization that posted the material. According to this website, the NRF (National Retail Federation) has joined the Discover America Partnership!4 These industries have absolutely no expertise in national security or in issues where border security are concerned. Yet they have staked out a position because they are motivated by nothing more than greed! The more people who will travel to the U.S., the more people who are likely to stay in hotels, eat in the restaurants, attend Broadway shows and buy the souvenirs and other trinkets peddled in cities around the U.S.
It is certainly understandable that all businesses are motivated by the profit motive. The idea is to provide a necessary product or service to as many people as possible and, in the process, earn money.
It is therefore understandable that the business executives want to have more customers, but while they have signed on to a program referred to as “Discover America,” it is apparent that they have forgotten that al-Qaeda has already discovered America!
They are also very short-sighted. In the days, weeks, and even months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, airliners flew with many empty seats. Hotels, restaurants, and tourist-related businesses were nearly devoid of patrons. It was seen as an act of patriotism, and, in fact, heroic, for people to board airliners and fly anywhere in the U.S., but especially to major cities.
If, God forbid, there is another terrorist attack, it is entirely possible that many airlines and hotels will go bankrupt, along with restaurants and other businesses that depend on tourism.
I am not, however, surprised that these corporate executives do not seem to give a damn about the safety of our nation — not when it may cause them to lose revenue in the short term. What is infuriating is that our “leaders” in Washington are actually doing what these idiots tell them to do, when they call for an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program!
What qualifies these corporate executives to essentially create a program that endangers our nation’s security? How credible is their advice?
These business executives have no knowledge and no experience in anything other than how to separate people from the contents of their wallets, and yet when they demand that our nation compromise its security and endanger the lives of its citizens, our government gladly does what these executives want!
By the way, did you notice how the language calling for an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program sounds remarkably like the language calling for Comprehensive Immigration Reform? One of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission was to implement US-VISIT, which would track the arrival and departure of aliens who enter the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas. Our nation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this program, which was deemed to be essential by the 9/11 Commission, and, after many years, the departure of aliens from the U.S. is still not accurately tracked. So much for national security!
I have a theory — I believe the reason that the departure of nonimmigrant aliens has never been accurately determined is because, under the Visa Waiver Program, if it was determined that the overstay rate of aliens from a particular country exceeded the 3 percent figure, that country would have to be eliminated from the program. Being the cynic I am, I am of the opinion that this is simply a matter of “don’t ask, don’t tell!”
Except in this case — ignorance is anything but bliss!
On May 26, 2011, I was interviewed by Dave Boyer of the Washington Times about a proposal that Poland be added to the list of Visa Waiver countries.5
The State Department’s website contains information about this wrong-headed and, indeed, treacherous Visa Waiver Program.6
The following is a list of the six benefits that the visa requirement provides to national security and that the Visa Waiver Program denies our nation:
1. The visa requirement for aliens who seek to enter the U.S. can help to screen potential airliner passengers who are seeking to travel to the U.S. Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber,” was able to board an airliner to come to the U.S., although he had no intentions of entering the U.S., his apparent goal being to blow up the airliner, and its many passengers, somewhere over the depths of the Atlantic Ocean by detonating explosives he had concealed in his shoes. Because he is a subject of Great Britain, a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, Reid did not have to obtain a visa before he boarded that airliner.
2. The CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors are supposed to make a decision in one minute or less as to the admissibility of an alien seeking to enter the U.S. The visa requirement helps these beleaguered inspectors to do a more effective job. Theirs is a tough job I can certainly relate to, I began my career at the former INS as an immigration inspector at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and worked there for four years before I became a special agent.
3. The application for a nonimmigrant visa contains roughly 40 questions, which can provide invaluable information to law enforcement officials should that alien become the target of a criminal or terrorist investigation. The information could provide intelligence as well as investigative leads.7
4. If an alien applicant lies about a material fact on the application for a visa, that lie is called “visa fraud.” The maximum penalty for visa fraud starts out at 10 years in jail for those who commit this crime simply in order to come to the U.S., ostensibly to seek unlawful employment or other such purpose. The penalty increases to 15 years in jail for those aliens who obtain a visa to commit a felony. For aliens who engage in visa fraud to traffic in narcotics or commit another narcotics-related crime, the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed rises to 20 years. Finally, when an alien can be proven to have engaged in visa fraud in furtherance of terrorism, the maximum penalty climbs to 25 years in prison. It is important to note that while it may be difficult to prove that an individual is a terrorist, it is usually relatively simple to prove that an alien has committed visa fraud when there is fraud involved in the visa application. Indeed, terror suspects are often charged with visa fraud.
5. The charge of visa fraud can also be extremely helpful to law enforcement authorities who want to take a bad guy off the street without tipping their hand to the other members of a criminal conspiracy or terrorism conspiracy if the individual was being arrested for his involvement in terrorism or a criminal organization. An alien who is involved in a major criminal or terrorist organization who commits visa fraud can be initially charged and arrested for that violation of law and not for other charges that might make it clear that the investigation under way is targeting a criminal or terrorist organization. (Those additional charges can be brought to bear at the appropriate time.)
6. Even when an alien applies for a visa and his application is denied, the application he filed remains available for law enforcement and intelligence personnel to review to glean intelligence from that application.
An alien who enters the U.S. under the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program does not fill out an application for a visa, and, as a consequence, not a single one of these half dozen extremely important benefits to law enforcement and national security applies!
On January 20, 2012, ABC News reported on statements made by President Obama when he traveled to Florida for an appearance at Disney World to call for adding Brazil to the list of Visa Waiver countries and expedite the processing of visas for citizens of Brazil and the People’s Republic of China.
That report stated, in part:
Tourism is a key component to the economy in Florida, which has been battered by 10 percent unemployment and rampant home foreclosures.
The White House said more than 1 million U.S. jobs could be created over the next decade, according to industry projections, if the U.S. increases its share of the international travel market.
The tourism initiative is part of an executive order Obama signed. Its goal is to boost non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40 percent this year; expand a Visa Waiver Program that allows participating nationals to travel to the U.S. for stays of 90 days or less without a visa; appoint a new group of chief executives to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board; and direct an interagency task force to develop recommendations for a National Travel and Tourism Strategy, including promoting national parks and other sites.
The White House says the travel and tourism industry represented 2.7 percent of gross domestic product and 7.5 million jobs in 2010. But the U.S. share of spending by international travelers fell from 17 percent to 11 percent between 2000 and 2010, due to increased competition and changes in global development, as well as security measures imposed after Sept. 11, 2001, according to the White House.8
This approach was welcomed by Brazilian tourists Lilian Lara and Lindbergh Souza, who shopped along the resort’s streets hours before the president’s speech. Souza said the visa process was expensive, at $500, and time-consuming for Brazilians who don’t live close to consuls in Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo. “The whole process took me six months,” Souza said.
Certainly tourism is desirable; it can generate business and create jobs. Tourism can also help to foster better understanding among people around the world. It would be wrong to argue against tourism, but it is also wrong to remove a serious layer of security that can help protect our nation and our citizens to promote tourism.
While it may be a nuisance to have to get to airports an hour or more before flight time to undergo increasingly invasive searches by the TSA, we do it if we need to travel by air.
While it may be a nuisance for foreign travelers to have to visit the U.S. embassies and consulates to apply for visas to be able to travel to the U.S., it is also time consuming to have to go the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain and renew our driver’s licenses. Yet we periodically have to spend the better part of a day at the DMV in order to tend to our driver’s licenses, and we do it!
While we are on the topic of driving, in the 1960’s the Volvo automobile company launched a series of televised commercials that promoted their cars based on their claims that Volvos are safer in crashes.
Most of the executives of other car manufacturers were bemused by the Volvo approach. They thought it was foolish to remind people that cars can and do crash and that people are injured and killed. To their surprise, the commercials were very effective and people began buying Volvos. Those commercials were so successful at promoting automotive safety and increasing car sales that today virtually every automobile manufacturer airs commercials that feature their cars containing “crash dummies” being slammed into walls and into other cars.
Considering the lessons to be learned from those automobile commercials, I believe that a similarly effective public relations campaign, explaining how an effectively administered visa program would help world-wide efforts at combatting terrorism and even serve as an additional screening mechanism to make airline travel safer, would ultimately increase the number of international travelers.
Adding more visa-issuing consulates, as well as creating the public relations campaign I suggested above, would be the intelligent way of seeking to increase tourism. If the administration wants to create new jobs, it should consider hiring more consular officers to adjudicate visa applications and hire many more enforcement personnel to create integrity in the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws where the issue of aliens who violate the terms of their admission to the U.S. is concerned. According to publicly available information, ICE assigns fewer than 300 Special Agents to locating and arresting these illegal aliens. Additionally, under the current policies by which the enforcement personnel of ICE operate, aliens who are present in the U.S. in violation of our laws will not be arrested and deported (removed) unless they have been convicted for committing felonies.
It is estimated that 40 percent of the illegal aliens in our country did not run our nation’s borders but were, in fact, admitted through the inspections process and then, in one way or another, violated their terms of admission into the U.S. This is why I have come to say that any state that has an international airport or a seaport must be considered a “Border State!”
In several media interviews and testimony in congressional hearings, I have addressed the topic of visa overstays and the terrorist threat that violators pose to our nation.9
At a time when there are periodic news reports about 85-year-old U.S. citizen airline passengers being all but strip searched out of “national security concerns,” I would love to see half as much scrutiny being given to aliens who seek to enter the U.S. or have lawful immigrant status or U.S. citizenship conferred upon them!
I have so far focused on those who profit by our nation’s long-standing failures to secure its borders and effectively enforce and administer the immigration laws that were promulgated to protect our nation and our citizens. I wanted to leave the best (worst?) for last!
Consider how many of the various organizations and industries are willing to provide massive campaign funds to candidates who will do their bidding!
Slumlords, fraud document vendors, and those who run houses of prostitution are not likely to make significant political campaign contributions (although some politicians may seek to avail themselves of certain services offered by those who ply the oldest profession), but most of the other individuals, businesses, and their associations are more than willing to “invest” in a “worthy” politician!
It is truly remarkable that civil servants are not permitted to accept gratuities, but politicians are permitted to accept campaign contributions! If a police officer accepts a free cup of coffee or hot cocoa when he (she) is standing on his post on a frigid winter day, and his boss sees this, that officer will likely be in trouble. The concern is that if a cop accepts that free cup of coffee, he will in the future, perhaps be less inclined to ticket a car that is double-parked in front of that restaurant. But of course no politician would even think about voting for a bill in Congress if it might be helpful to a person or company that made a sizable campaign contribution; right? (If you believe this, I have a fence to sell you!)
Could you imagine what would have happened if, when I was an INS special agent, I had gone to one of my bosses and said, “Walt, you should congratulate me, I am the best fundraiser in the office!”
I assure you I would have found myself in front of a grand jury so quickly I would have had no idea how I even got there!
Yet I want you to think about how many politicians eagerly stand before a forest of microphones on national television, making just such boastful statements, to the delight of their applauding supporters, and no one goes to jail!
Every time there is an election, we get the best government money can buy!
A debate that is nearly as long-standing as our species concerns whether the world will end by fire or ice. Astrophysicists predict that the sun will ultimately, in about 5 billion years, expand catastrophically, as it enters its death-throes and will incinerate the earth. The universe, however, is expected to expand forever until in the end, entropy will create an unimaginably cold universe.
I fear, however, that of far more immediate concern is how America may end. Where this demise is concerned, I believe that if we don’t change the trajectory of our nation, it will end because of the unbridled greed of those in positions of power in government and in the private sector, and we won’t have to wait billions of years for this tragedy to play out!