DON'T VOTE FOR ANYONE PUSHING COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
January 16, 2010
A couple of days ago I wrote a commentary in which I commended Senator Grassley of Iowa for his efforts to get the State Department to finally implement a program that would require special agents of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to be assigned to all of the visa issuing posts. At present, according to the news report I have attached below, only 14 such posts of more than 220 have such agents of the DHS assigned to provide assistance in discerning aliens who, out of national security concerns, should not receive visas.
A news report "Many U.S. embassies lack additional layer of visa security" was posted by a news organization that provides insight to government executives and others who are involved with our federal government. Two sentences quoted from the article is worth considering:
Ambassadors must consider whether additional staff is necessary to perform the job, the availability of office space and personnel safety.
"It is extremely troubling that an ambassador can inhibit the ability of DHS in carrying out its mission," Grassley wrote in his letter.
Certainly the ambassador should have the ability to make decisions about how business is conducted at the Embassy or Consulate they preside over, however, it is in my judgement, nuts to think that an ambassador should be given so much discretionary authority that he (she) can ignore a mandate that has incredibly important national security implications for our nation. This is especially worrisome when you consider that many ambassadors are given their positions as a result of political considerations and that an ambassador may not have an extensive background in national security or a lengthy history as a State Department employee.
In conjunction with this, it is also worth noting that a number of ambassadors have gone on to lobby on behalf of those very same countries in which they had previously served as ambassador, after they stepped down from that position. You really have to wonder at the potential for conflict of interests in these instances.
The issuance of a visa to a foreign national is not a mere formality but should be seen as a means of helping to prevent aliens whose presence in our country would represent a violation of law and and, in some instances, potentially a threat to our national security from even boarding an airliner or other conveyance that would bring them here. That is the purpose for the visa process.
What also concerns me is the training of the special agents of ICE who are posted to embassies and consulates. I have been informed by some of my former colleagues that many of the management positions within ICE are currently held by managers who have scant immigration background but rather had come from Legacy Customs. As I have noted on many occasions, there was literally a world of difference between the work that was performed at the U.S. Customs Service vs the work that was performed at the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) before the Department of Homeland Security was created.
While both agencies were intimately involved in border issues, the employees of Customs were concerned with the movement of goods, products, contraband and money across international borders and the collection of tariffs and duties, the old INS was concerned about the movement of people across international borders and the that bureaucracy that was engaged in the enforcement and administration of the laws that pertain to the presence of aliens who are in our country and seek to become resident aliens and United States citizens. Additionally, the immigration bureaucracy also focused on those aliens whose presence in our country may have constituted a violation of laws and, in so doing, became deportable.
The fact that the employees of Legacy Customs, the term given to Customs before the creation of DHS, worked for a division of the United States Department of the Treasury while the employees of Legacy INS, the term given to the INS before the creation of DHS had worked for the Department of Justice, is not a minor distinction but goes to the myriad differences in the goals and philosophies of these two agencies that were melded together to create DHS.
Also worth considering is the fact that the enforcement and administration of immigration laws has been divided into several distinct agencies. ICE contains the special agents who are responsible for enforcing the customs and immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. Secret Service is also a component of DHS meaning that when that agency needs additional agents to carry out its missions, they tap ICE special agents to help out. Additionally, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) includes the inspectors at ports of entry who enforce laws concerning immigration , customs, agriculture and public health issues.
With all of these missions being lumped together on the one hand and bifurcated on the other, often dilutes the focus on the effective enforcement of the immigration laws.
Given all of these issues, I am concerned as to just how great a priority is given to the enforcement of the immigration laws under the DHS. In fact, I have testified at a number of Congressional hearings on precisely this issue.
This lack of clear focus on the effective enforcement of the immigration laws may also create problems within the ranks of the ICE special agents who are assigned to the critically important mission of working at visa issuing posts to try to prevent those foreign nationals seeking visas who may pose a threat to our nation, from receiving visas.
If you think this is an unreasonable concern, let us consider that back in the early 1970's when I was an Immigration Inspector, the length of time a visitor of pleasure (tourist) could be admitted was left to the discretion of the inspector. The inspector had the authority to give the alien seeking entry into the United States up to 6 months to remain lawfully in the United States, unless the State Department, out of a concern about the bona fides of such an individual noted in the passport that the alien should not be admitted for more than ten days, or some other restricted period of time.
As an inspector I had the authority to admit an alien for several weeks, often a period of time that coincided with his travel arrangements. Of course when aliens failed to depart, the likelihood that someone would actually seek to look for that individual was minimal, but if an alien was encountered during a routine investigation and that alien had overstayed the period of time for which he had been admitted, then the agents of the INS would take that person into custody and might set up a deportation hearing for him.
(This is yet another reason why the term "undocumented worker" is so bizarre. An alien who had been admitted through the inspections process and then violated the terms of his admission would certainly be an illegal alien and was certainly not undocumented!)
Today the inspectors who work for CBP are instructed to admit foreign nationals who have tourist visas for virtually an automatic six month period. Do you know of anyone who is not abandoning their jobs who could take of six months from work and not lose their jobs? It is clear that the goal of the government, in this era, is to remove as much discretionary authority from the employees of DHS while giving an incredible amount of discretionary authority to ambassadors and other political appointees!
Once again I am compelled to make the point that our nation is in the cross hairs of a number of terrorist and criminal organizations whose goals involve the destruction of our nation and the slaughter of our citizens. If this cannot get our "leaders" to wake up than I submit that someone needs to check them for a pulse and brain activity!
At a Congressional hearing a number of years ago I said that most sensible people live their lives by the principle that could be summed up by two words, "Safety first!"
When will our leaders understand just what this means?
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
Any politician who refuses to work to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity is either corrupt or too dumb to keep his (her) job. Any politician, irrespective of party affiliation who favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the outrageous betrayal that this would represent given the national security implications that this program would have, should be shown the door at the next election!
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.
Later this year, each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Later this year more than one third of the members of the United States Senate will have to face their constituents. They need to be reminded that they work for us, We the People!
However, the practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there. The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.I implore you to get involved!
Any American who has lost his job certainly has enough time on his (her) hands to get involved!
Any American who fears the loss of his job must make effective use of his spare time to make certain he keeps his job! (Remember, the job save may be your own!)
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional "Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
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You need to politely but pointedly, demand to know what they are doing to protect our nation. You need to ask them how they are protecting you and your families. You can also forward this commentary to them and ask them to watch the 60 Minutes report that served as the basis for my commentary.
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!