MATAMOROS, MEXICO – FEBRUARY 07: A Salvadorian girl sits near a Biden-Harris campaign poster inside a camp for asylum seekers on February 07, 2021 in Matamoros, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
During his presidential campaign Joe Biden promised to undo the Trump administration’s immigration policies, which aimed to restore integrity to the immigration system and protect public safety, national security, public health, and the jobs and wages of Americans. Successful measures had been implemented to deter illegal immigration and identify and deport criminal aliens—including members of highly violent transnational gangs such as the notorious MS-13.
As soon as he took office, President Biden stopped the construction of the border wall and ended the “Remain in Mexico” agreement that Trump negotiated, which required aliens who applied for political asylum to remain in Mexico until their applications could be adjudicated. Biden also issued an executive order that requires that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents receive specific authorization to arrest illegal aliens who are not aggravated felons, thereby stripping the agents of their discretionary authority to arrest aliens who are illegally present in the United States.
Biden has also promised to implement a massive amnesty program for an estimated population of 11 million illegal aliens living in the country, which would also permit them to bring their families to the United States. The proposed amnesty bill would place the newly legalized aliens on a pathway to United States citizenship in eight years.
As I have noted before, the actual number of illegal aliens who would participate in such an amnesty program would likely be a multiple of the 11 million figure, so that if, for the sake of argument, 25 million illegal aliens filed for amnesty, and if on average each legalized alien has (or claims to have) just four children, the Biden amnesty could permit 100 million immigrant minors to flood into America. Imagine the devastating impact that this would have on Americans’ jobs and wages, as well as education and healthcare systems, infrastructure, and the environment.
Rather than deter illegal immigration as the Trump policies did, Biden’s policies have incentivized massive illegal immigration. In considering all of the above, you could say that Biden and his administration have fired the starter’s pistol for aspiring illegal aliens from around the world, and for these desperate people—and the fugitives, criminals, and terrorists embedded among them—the borders of the United States are the finish line.
Our immigration laws make absolutely no distinction about the superficial factors of race, religion or ethnicity. A section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S. Code § 1182, enumerates the categories of aliens who are inadmissible. Relevant factors involve threats to public health, public safety, national security, and the jobs and wages of American workers. Concerns about public health have taken on particular significance during the COVID-19 pandemic and, we must remember that Ellis Island was a quarantine station run by public health officials along with immigration authorities.
The official report “9/11 and Terrorist Travel: Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” was prepared by the federal agents and federal attorneys who were assigned to the 9/11 Commission The preface of that report begins with this unambiguous paragraph:
It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.
To make clear the nexus between national security and immigration law enforcement, consider that the common shared mission of all of the branches of our armed forces is to keep America’s enemies as far from our shores as possible. Up close, however, that fundamental and vital mission is passed to elements of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), specifically Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which includes the U.S. Border Patrol and CBP Inspectors at ports of entry, as well as ICE.
It is therefore more than a bit disconcerting that the Biden administration’s Secretary of DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas, has been quoted in recent news articles downplaying the crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico. On March 1, 2021, the Washington Post reported, Mayorkas said there is a “challenge,” not a crisis at Mexico border.
I wish I was surprised by Mayorkas’s comments, but I have known about him for some time, and as they say, his reputation preceded him. During the Obama administration Mayorkas headed up United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the DHS agency that adjudicates applications for all immigration benefits including petitions for political asylum, work visas, lawful permanent residence, and United States citizenship. I think of USCIS as America’s locksmith, providing the keys to the kingdom to aliens.
Mayorkas had been investigated by the Office of Inspector General because of allegations that he had ordered petitions for EB-5 visas to be approved because of political considerations leading back to Hillary Clinton and former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. Mayorkas had also been accused of demanding that the adjudicators approve nearly every petition, demanding that they, “Get to yes!” This certainly undermined the integrity of the adjudications process and hobbled efforts to detect fraud. As ABC reported:
Officials overseeing a federal program that offers an immigration short-cut to wealthy foreign investors have ignored pointed warnings from federal agents and approved visas for some immigrants suspected of having committed fraud, money laundering, and even one applicant with alleged ties to a child porn website, an ABC News investigation has found. The shortcomings prompted concerns within the Department of Homeland Security that the boutique immigration program would be exploited by terrorists, according to internal documents obtained by ABC News.
I provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission and I have testified before numerous hearings conducted by a variety of committees and subcommittees in the House of Representatives and before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nexus between immigration and national security and related issues. I wish Congress had “listenings” instead of hearings.
As I have written before, the 9/11 Commission identified immigration fraud and visa fraud as the key methods of entry and embedding for the majority of terrorists, not just the 19 hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
The Trump “Remain in Mexico” policy was designed to help make certain that terrorists would not be able to enter the U.S. by making bogus applications for political asylum and then melt into the population. Mayorkas should be aware of this danger and should continue the Trump policy to keep America and Americans safe. That should be his primary consideration and that of the entire Biden administration.
How can America live up to President Lincoln’s aspirational view of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” if the best interests of Americans are not at the forefront of the decisions made by our government? Whenever the media reports on immigration, they do so from the vantage point of the aliens and of those who profit from massive immigration. The time has come for the media to focus on the impact massive immigration has on America and Americans.
Michael W. Cutler was a senior special agent for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.