Any 'Immigration Reform' Must Put Americans First - Political compromise must not jeopardize national security, public safety, or the well-being of Americans

By Michael W. Cutler, Senior Special Agent, INS (Ret.)
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 27, Number 3 (Spring 2017)
Issue theme: "A new era for immigration enforcement"

“New and Improved” is a label often slapped on products to swindle consumers out of money.

Several years ago my local grocery store hung up banners declaring that they had permanently lowered the price of bags of sugar. I was impressed. I grabbed a couple of bags of sugar thinking I would save some money. Then I checked a bag and discovered that they no longer contained five pounds of sugar, but four pounds. Instead of saving money, the new bags cost more per pound.

Politicians employ similar tactics. They have elevated the use of Orwellian Newspeak to a true art form. Consider the con game known as “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

The issue of immigration reform reemerged after President Trump’s first speech before a joint session of Congress:

I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.

If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens, then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.

President Trump’s statement and his views on true immigration reform — putting Americans first — contrasts significantly from “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” — a program that would put the interests of illegal aliens before the national interest, which politicians have attempted to foist on Americans for decades.

Politicians know that American citizens are adamantly opposed to any “amnesty.” They make the bogus claim that if illegal aliens pay back taxes and learn English, then it is not an amnesty program. Legalizing illegal aliens forgives them for violating the law and provides them with the authority to work legally.

Scamming politicians (forgive the redundancy) from both political parties, accompanied by pollsters, pundits, leaders of industries, and special interest groups, continually claim that our “immigration system is broken,” citing the presence of millions of illegal aliens in the United States, and the need for “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

Essentially their “fix” would legalize nearly all of the illegal aliens and, in the short term, the U.S. would no longer have millions of illegal aliens. This isn’t a new approach to “fixing” the “broken immigration system.”

A massive amnesty program to provide unknown millions of illegal aliens with lawful status was tried by the Reagan Administration in 1986 when the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was enacted, with disastrous results. It incentivized the subsequent illegal entry of millions of illegal aliens.

The Reagan Administration estimated that roughly one million illegal aliens would come out of the “shadows.” This supposedly one-time measure provided more than 3.5 million illegal aliens with lawful status, including terrorists and criminals.

Massive numbers of aspiring illegal aliens were obviously encouraged by the Reagan amnesty. It would likely be repeated in the future. Since IRCA was enacted three decades ago, the number of illegal aliens went from nearly zero to the current officially estimated 11 million.

However, in 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the U.S. had 12 million illegal aliens.

It is entirely likely, as we saw with the Reagan amnesty, that at least three times as many illegal aliens would participate in Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This could mean that 30 to 40 millions illegal aliens might well participate in any legalization program that would be an integral component of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Notwithstanding the failures of IRCA, politicians, pundits, pollsters, and leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, not to mention a wide array of special interest groups, have insisted that “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” would purportedly fix the “broken immigration system.” Deriding any claim that securing our borders and effectively enforcing our immigration laws would deter illegal immigration, these critics argue that, inasmuch as we cannot deport all illegal aliens, we should accept that they are here and provide them with pathways to legalization.

Officials who wield political power actually seek to encourage such law violations, flooding America with cheap foreign labor. This not only applies to illegal aliens, who take economic bottom-rung jobs, but also to holders of the ever-expanding numbers of non-immigrant work visas and investor visas that have flooded America’s middle class high-tech professions as well.

In fact, one provision of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” would greatly increase the number of H-1B visas for high-tech foreign workers. Alan Green-span, in testimony before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee in 2009, urged Congress to enact “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” He supported a provision that would no longer shield American workers from foreign competition. Greenspan outrageously referred to high-skilled American workers as the “privileged elite” — those who were earning a “wage premium.”

In virtually any other area of law enforcement, when large numbers of individuals commit violations of significant laws, the usual (rational) reaction is to ramp up enforcement efforts to identify law violators, increase penalties for those caught breaking the law, and flood media with public service announcements warning that law violators will be identified and punished severely.

This approach not only punishes the violators, but deters others from violating the law. I refer to this as “deterrence through enforcement.”

This enforcement-based deterrence has targeted impaired drivers, who operate their motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol. The combined use of administrative sanctions, such as longer suspensions and costly fines, and harsh legal penalties has reduced alcohol-related crashes and fatalities over the past three decades. Does anyone seriously believe that such progress would have been possible if alcohol-impaired drivers received little if any punishment?

Where massive violations of immigration laws are concerned, a very different approach has been tried repeatedly, and, not surprisingly, the number of illegal alien law violators has increased exponentially. Most people would consequently say that this strategy is a failure.

For the globalist immigration anarchists in both political parties, and for globalists in a wide array of industries and special interest groups, however, this failure is actually a huge success; they are getting precisely what they want — a virtually limitless supply of cheap labor, foreign tourists, and foreign students.

Universities have been able to enroll ever-increasing numbers of foreign students, who are also likely to be granted temporary employment opportunities, which displaces highly skilled American workers and creates wages suppression for those who keep their jobs.

A massive amnesty program would greatly increase the labor force by providing unknown millions of foreign workers with an equal standing in America’s overflowing labor pool.

The immigration system’s lack of integrity mirrors our political system’s lack of integrity.

As the saying goes, “Follow the money.”

Even the fact that the 9/11 Commission identified multiple endemic failures of the immigration system as being the underlying root cause that repeatedly enabled terrorists (and not only those who participated in the attacks of 9/11) to enter the U.S. and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations has not persuaded immigration anarchists to abandon their duplicitous position on immigration.

Democrats generally seek pathways to citizenship for illegal aliens, while Republicans, who claim to be “tough” on immigration, say we should “only” provide lawful status and permission to work.

This “all or nothing” approach to law enforcement is unique to immigration. Most laws are only enforced a fraction of a percent. Yet no one ever suggests that laws which cannot be enforced 100 percent of the time not be enforced. Immigration is the odd exception.

For the most part, the only thing that Comprehensive Immigration Reform would accomplish is to make it easier for huge numbers of aliens to enter the U.S. and acquire lawful authority to work.

All that this has done is to encourage millions of aspiring illegal aliens from around the world to head for the U.S., enter unlawfully, and take advantage of our economic and political system. They have become convinced that, once here, nothing will be done to identify them, whether they run our borders or violate the terms of their lawful admissions.

Furthermore, all of the calls for a massive legalization from leaders of both political parties add another powerful incentive to these foreign nationals, convincing them that sooner or later all illegal aliens will be granted lawful status.

However, Donald Trump has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the plans of the globalists by declaring that he would not only build a wall to secure our southern border, but triple the number of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to effectively enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S.

President Trump has, through his executive orders, addressed virtually all of the vulnerabilities I identified when I testified before numerous Congressional hearings in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

President Obama declared wide categories of illegal aliens were “off limits” to ICE agents. This served to intimidate those beleaguered agents into not making arrests. Back when I was an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) special agent, we had an expression worth considering, “Big cases, big problems; little cases, little problems; no cases, no problems!”

One of the issues addressed by President Trump’s executive orders is the fact that while the emphasis of ICE will be to locate and arrest aliens who have criminal histories, no illegal alien is off limits. This is extremely important because it helps restore integrity to the immigration system and also inserts “randomness” into the immigration law enforcement program. Terrorists in hiding can no longer be confident that they won’t be arrested.

This also deters many illegal aliens from coming to the U.S. because they can no longer expect that their immigration law violations will likely be ignored. This is likely why, in March 2017, the Border Patrol reported that illegal entries were down by 40 percent.

President Trump has called for truly reforming the immigration system by focusing not on family reunification, but on a merit-based system. He has also made it clear that he wants American workers to do the jobs in America.

While it goes without saying that truly exceptional immigrants should be encouraged to enter the country legally, hundreds of thousands of ordinary foreign workers are hardly exceptional.

No massive legalization system should ever be implemented for unknown millions of illegal aliens.

There would be no way to interview the likely tens of millions of illegal aliens and certainly not to conduct field investigations into their applications. Therefore there would be no way to determine who they are, their true backgrounds, and any affiliations with criminal or terrorist organizations.

The entry of aliens who run our borders is known as Entry Without Inspection (EWI). Since there is no record of the entry, it is impossible to verify if they entered the U.S. seven years ago or seven days ago.

Think of how often politicians, pollsters, and pundits support granting lawful status to illegal aliens, who are not violent felons. No one ever raises the question about how their true entry data could be verified.

This would create an open invitation for fraud.

Flooding the labor pool with millions of authorized foreign workers would displace American and lawful immigrant workers and drive down wages.

Finally, an issue that has never been reported by the media is that, if an amnesty was enacted, all heretofore illegal aliens would have the absolute right to petition the government to allow their spouses and minor children to enter under “family reunification.” Given the propensity of Third World families to have many children, it is possible that more children would be subsequently admitted into the United States than the number of illegal aliens who would be legalized.

This would impose a huge challenge on America’s already struggling education system. Indeed, in a report issued in 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that it costs 20 to 40 percent more to educate children who are not literate in the English language.

How on earth would the already beleaguered American education system cope with the influx of unknown millions of foreign students of whom many would likely lack English language proficiency?

How carefully could all of those alien minors be vetted to make certain that they are truly the children of the newly legalized aliens? How carefully could they be vetted to determine if they have affiliations with gangs or terrorist groups in their home countries?

There is nothing “compassionate” about exploiting foreign workers, displacing American workers, and driving down wages.

There is nothing “compassionate” about depriving American children of their American Dreams.

There is nothing “compassionate” about leaving America and Americans vulnerable to international terrorists and transnational criminals.

Our immigration laws were originally enacted to save American lives and the jobs of American workers — it is time to go back to the future.

For once and for all, the well-being of Americans must be the government’s top priority.

About the author

Michael W. Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent with the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).  He appears regularly on numerous radio and television programs, including Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. He hosts his own Internet radio program, “The Michael Cutler Hour.” Mr. Cutler has testified as an expert witness at more than a dozen Congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission, and provides expert witness testimony at trials where immigration is at issue. Visit his website at:

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