An Immigration Reality Check for Former Telemundo Chief Nely Galan

Illegal aliens who evade inspection are "more American" than anyone?

On Tuesday, May 31, 2016 Fox & Friends conducted an interview with the former president of Telemundo, Nely Galan, and posted a video of that segment with the title, “What can Donald Trump do to win back Hispanic voters? Former president of Telemundo Nely Galan weighs in on the race for the White House, talks new book 'Self Made'.”

I have decided to address Nely Galan's five-minute segment on Fox & Friends and the statements she made because, although she is not a particularly significant person, the themes of the claims she made have also been made by far too many other people and have been broadcast frequently on news programs for years without being properly challenged.

Furthermore, while it took Donald Trump to move immigration to center stage for this presidential election, immigration has been the most significant issue confronting our nation and our citizens for decades because of how it impacts virtually every challenge and threat we face, from national security, public safety and public health to the economy, unemployment, healthcare, education and the environment.

Today we will examine the position that Ms. Galan took on the issue of immigration and how this issue, she claims, adversely impacts the candidacy of Donald Trump.

To begin with, let's consider what transpired during the segment.

Galan said that immigrants make up half of all entrepreneurs in the United States and dismissed the statement by Brian Kilmeade that Donald Trump's problem is illegal immigrants not legal immigrants.  She responded by saying that this is like saying, “I like this minority but not that minority.”

Pete Hegseth, one of the co-hosts of the program, then asked if it was not a fair and important distinction to differentiate between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.  Galan said it was not fair and adamantly rejected the use of the term "illegal immigrant," saying, “We don't like that word, 'illegal immigrant.'” She never defined who “we” referred to and insisted that aliens who enter the United States without being lawfully admitted are simply “undocumented.”  

To Ms. Galan, illegal immigration is obviously an insignificant issue and anyone who makes such a distinction between aliens who are legally present from those who are illegally present are apparently bigots.

If she truly believes that there should be no distinction between aliens who enter the United States legally with those who enter illegally, then why should our country spend nearly 14 billion dollars annually on Customs and Border Protection?  I addressed this question in my recent article,  “Immigration Law Enforcement: Why Bother?

When she was pressed to articulate how she came to her conclusions, Galan dismissed any questions by saying that she is not a political pundit.  This raises what should be an obvious question: having conceded that she lacks the knowledge to discuss this issue, why did she take a strong position on immigration, an issue that has a profound impact on America, Americans and the political campaigns of the candidates for the presidency of the United States?

While on the topic of contradictory statements made by Nely Galan, let's also remember that she also said it was not right to talk about people “en mass” ignoring her own all-encompassing statements. 

At the beginning of her segment, she made the wacky assertion that “immigrants are more American than anybody.”  How in the world can an illegal alien be “American” let alone “more American” than anybody?  

Galan also made additional unsupported claims about people (en mass) claiming that immigrants comprise half of all entrepreneurs in America, that Latinos are very conservative people and that Latina Women “are the number one emerging market in the world – in the U.S.”

No one on the set at Fox & Friends called her out for her absurd, hypocritical assertions.

Let's begin by considering the term “alien.”  It is not a pejorative and certainly not the equivalent of the “N word.”  The term alien is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act as simply being “[a]ny person, not a citizen or national of the United States.”  There is absolutely no insult in that definition, only clarity.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the all-encompassing body of laws that governs the entry of aliens into the United States and states the conditions under which they may remain in the United States, the activities that they may or may not engage in and under what circumstances they may be granted immigrant status or even United States citizenship.  The laws also prescribe under what circumstances aliens may be ordered to be removed (deported) from the United States.     

It is an absurdity to claim that an alien who enters the United States by evading the inspections process at one of America's 328 ports of entry is “undocumented.”   Such an alien is, at the very least, a trespasser and under the jargon of immigration enforcement personnel, has entered the United States without inspection.  In fact, when I was an INS agent, we described such individuals as EWI (Entrants Without Inspection).

The inspections process conducted at ports of entry are mandated by law and are conducted to attempt to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence in the United States would be problematic.  When aliens evade the inspections process and then remain in the United States, they pose a threat to national security and public safety.  At a minimum, they also pose a problem for tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans and lawful immigrants who are displaced by these illegal workers or face wage suppression as a consequence of the flood of foreign workers, as a function of the fundamental principle of “supply and demand.”

This impact is most profoundly felt in America's minority and ethnic immigrant communities.

From a criminal standpoint, aliens who evade the inspections process at ports of entry know that they belong to one or more categories of excludible aliens. These grounds for exclusion can be found in Title 8 U.S. Code § 1182 – Inadmissible aliens, and includes aliens with dangerous communicable diseases, who suffer extreme mental illness and are prone to violence or are sex offenders, criminals, fugitives from justice, are gang members, spies, or terrorists.  Additionally, aliens who would likely become a public charge or are likely to seek unlawful employment are also excludible.

Consider this excerpt from Chapter 12 of the 9/11 Commission Report:

Before 9/11, no agency of the U.S. government systematically analyzed terrorists’ travel strategies. Had they done so, they could have discovered the ways in which the terrorist predecessors to al Qaeda had been systematically but detectably exploiting weaknesses in our border security since the early 1990s.

We also found that had the immigration system set a higher bar for determining whether individuals are who or what they claim to be-and ensuring routine consequences for violations-it could potentially have excluded, removed, or come into further contact with several hijackers who did not appear to meet the terms for admitting short-term visitors.33

Our investigation showed that two systemic weaknesses came together in our border system’s inability to contribute to an effective defense against the 9/11 attacks: a lack of well-developed counterterrorism measures as a part of border security and an immigration system not able to deliver on its basic commitments, much less support counterterrorism. 

Aliens are illegally present if they enter without inspection or conceal a material ground for exclusion when they enter the United States through the inspections process.  As is noted in the laws, an alien who would be excludible at entry is deportable (subject to removal) any time thereafter.  An alien commits fraud by using a false name at entry or lies about his/her criminal history or connection to criminal or terrorist organizations.  Think about the Nazi war criminals who managed to hide in the United States for decades until they were finally discovered.

Aliens may also become subject to removal (deportation) if they violate the terms of their temporary (nonimmigrant) admissions into the United States, for example, by remaining in the United States beyond their authorized period of admission, failing to attend a school for which they were admitted to attend, accepting illegal employment or failing to work on the job for which they were granted a specific work visa.

Lawful immigrants may be subject to removal (deportation) when they commit certain serious crimes.  (This issue of committing serious crimes also applies to the removal of nonimmigrant aliens as well.)

While on the topic of aliens who commit crimes, my recent article, “President Obama: Accessory to the Crimes Committed By Illegal Aliens?” was predicated on the April 19, 2016 hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on the topic, “The Real Victims of a Reckless and Lawless Immigration Policy: Families and Survivors Speak Out on the Real Cost of This Administration’s Policies.”

Our immigration laws and our borders constitute our first and last line of defense against those who would enter our country to commit crimes and/or carry out terror attacks.  

Here is the question I would love to ask Nely Galan and those who share her views: “How 'American' is anyone who would strip away our defenses in this particularly perilous era?”

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