President Trump’s logical decision to declare a national emergency to fund the border wall must be highly commended, just as it should reinforce the equally important need for effective enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.
When I testified before the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus in November 2001, just weeks after the terror attacks of 9/11, my testimony included the concept of what I came to refer to as the “Immigration Enforcement Tripod.”
Under that concept, the Border Patrol enforces the immigration laws between ports of entry, primarily engaging in interdiction of aliens attempting to enter the United States without inspection, the Immigration Inspectors (now known as CBP - Customs and Border Protection Inspectors) enforce and administer the immigration laws at ports of entry and finally, the INS agents, now known as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States, comprising the third leg of the Immigration Enforcement Tripod.
Traditionally the interior enforcement mission has been all but neglected even though, in many ways, it is the most important element of immigration law enforcement program.
Indeed, the official report, 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel, included this paragraph:
Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.
Nevertheless, this lack of interior enforcement persists. I have come to refer to this as Immigration failures by design, turning America into a de facto “Sanctuary Country.”
Today, nationally, there are merely about 6,000 ICE agents as compared with more than 45,000 TSA employees.
Most Americans are unaware as to just how critical the interior enforcement of the immigration laws is because scant attention has been paid to the work that ICE agents do.
Today I will provide you with my insider’s view of that vital mission that is impeded and obstructed by treacherous Sanctuary Cities and the abject lack of resources dedicated by the federal government to this mission.
To begin with, in creating the Department of Homeland Security after the attacks of 9/11 President George W. Bush created an unwieldy bureaucratic leviathan that blatantly ignored the lessons of 9/11, creating what Republican Congressman John Hostettler referred to as, “Immigration incoherence.”
Hostettler, the then Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims made that point in his prepared remarks during a May 5, 2005 hearing on the topic, New ''Dual Missions'' Of The Immigration Enforcement Agencies.
I testified at that hearing.
Here are two excerpts from Chairman Hostettler’s prepared remarks:
At no time during the reorganization planning was it anticipated by the Committee that an immigration enforcement agency would share its role with other enforcement functions, such as enforcement of our customs laws. This simply results in the creation of dual or multiple missions that the act sought to avoid in the first place.
Failure to adhere to the statutory framework established by HSA (Homeland Security Act) has produced immigration enforcement incoherence that undermines the immigration enforcement mission central to DHS, and undermines the security of our Nation's borders and citizens.
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The 9/11 terrorists all came to the United States without weapons or contraband—Added customs enforcement would not have stopped 9/11 from happening. What might have foiled al Qaeda's plan was additional immigration focus, vetting and enforcement. And so what is needed is recognition that, one, immigration is a very important national security issue that cannot take a back seat to customs or agriculture. Two, immigration is a very complex issue, and immigration enforcement agencies need experts in immigration enforcement. And three, the leadership of our immigration agencies should be shielded from political pressures to act in a way which could compromise the Nation's security.
The enforcement of our immigration laws involves much more than merely arresting illegal aliens who are illegally present in the United States.
ICE agents, who are not sidelined by investigating non-immigration crimes such as violations of customs laws, financial crimes, narcotics, kiddie porn, intellectual property law violations or assisting Secret Service, also conduct employer sanctions investigations into employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens. In addition to fining unscrupulous employers aliens who work illegally may be deported for their violations of law to deter such violations and to liberate these jobs for Americans and lawful immigrants.
ICE agents conduct background investigations and investigate immigration fraud.
This includes marriage fraud, labor certification fraud and other fraud schemes and fraud conspiracies that may involve crooked immigration lawyers and others who conspire to enable aliens to acquire lawful status by lying on applications for visas and Green Cards.
Immigration Fraud investigations also targets identity crimes and the production of altered or counterfeit identity documents such as passports and Green Cards (Alien Registration Receipt Cards) and other documents relevant to the filing for immigration benefits and visas.
The 9/11 Commission identified immigration fraud as the key method of entry and embedding for intentional terrorists such as the 9/11 hijackers.
ICE agents also conduct human trafficking and alien smuggling investigations and also participate in various multi-agency task forces such as the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Violent Gang Task Force (VGTF) and the task force to which I was assigned for the final ten years of my career, the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). In point of fact, it was OCDETF that successfully investigated Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
While making note of multi-agency investigations, it is important to note that contrary to the bogus assertions made by mayors of Sanctuary Cities, when ICE agents cooperate with police departments, illegal alien victims of crimes are not inhibited from coming forward. The opposite is true. Visas can be provided to such alien crime victims that enable illegal aliens to remain in the United States if they cooperate with law enforcement agencies including local and state police. Other visas are available for illegal aliens who assist law enforcement in identifying and arresting criminals and terrorists helping to cultivate informants and cooperating witnesses.
Finally, years ago INS agents worked closely, and highly effectively, with local police to raid houses of prostitution, illegal gambling operations and other criminal enterprises. Illegal aliens who frequented those illegal operations were arrested and deported, deterring illegal aliens from patronizing those criminal enterprises. With the loss of illegal aliens clientele, frequently these criminal operations were no longer profitable. Many were permanently shut down.
Not unlike other crimes, the solution to immigration law violations is effective law enforcement.
The abject lack of ICE agents and resources severely hobbles the interior enforcement mission. Violations of law go undetected, un-investigated and unpunished when there is a lack of resources.
For decades the leaders of both parties have refused to adequately fund the interior enforcement mission. Rather than providing the solutions they became a part of the problem, eager to satisfy the globalists while conning Americans and undermining national security.
This betrayal must end.