DOUBLE STANDARD IN GOV'T. BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND RANK AND FILE
June 30, 2008
appeared in The Washington Times written by Jerry Seper, a journalist
who has been effectively covering the immigration beat for many years.
A couple of years ago he received the Eugene Katz Award for Journalism
from the Center for Immigration Studies, the Washington-based "think
tank" with which I have been proudly affiliated for more than 5
This article deals with the involvement of Congressman Silvestre Reyes in the kidnapping of a family member in Mexico. As the article notes, Rep. Reyes is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and is a retired Border Patrol sector chief.
As you read the article, you will note that Jerry Seper provided me with an opportunity to weigh in on this unusual case. What I find particularly disturbing is that there is such an obvious dichotomy over how elected government officials are often able to do things without concern that would get our law enforcement officials disciplined, fired or even prosecuted.
While this news report does not deal with campaign finance, I feel compelled to make a point about how political campaigns are financed. Law enforcement officers are not supposed to accept any sort of gratuity or gift in conjunction with their official duties. A cop directing traffic on a bitterly cold winter's day would feel the "heat" if he (she) accepted a cup of hot coffee or cocoa from a concerned shopkeeper. The heat would not only emanate from the piping hot beverage but from his bosses or from internal affairs. I have heard the reasoning behind this is the concern that a cop who received such a cup of coffee might provide preferential treatment to the considerate shopkeeper.
Iit has been said that every man has his price, for a cop, the superiors believe the cup of coffee could compromise the integrity of a sworn law enforcement officer.
As you consider the high standard of conduct we expect of our law enforcement officers who form the "thin blue line" to protect us and our loved ones from criminals and otherwise go in harm's way on our behalf, please consider the hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions that our politicians solicit so that they can win elected office. Of course these paradigms of integrity who represent us on all levels of government are not compromised when they receive thousands of dollars of campaign contributions! (I may have been born on a Wednesday, but not last Wednesday!)
A cop on the beat is not allowed to accept a cup of hot coffee on a cold winter's day, or a container of lemonade on a sweltering hot summer's day to keep them from being compromised. Meanwhile elected politicians who we all hold in high esteem openly boast about how much money they can raise through various creative tactics. Could you imagine what would happen to a police officer who would walk into his police precinct and, not unlike a politician, boast to his colleagues and especially his superiors, "I am the best fund raiser in this police department!"
Now let's return to the instant news report of Representative Reyes.
As I told Jerry Seper during my interview yesterday, as an INS special agent the orders were not ambiguous. We were absolutely not supposed to use our badges or credentials for accomplishing personal goals. For example, if we were off duty and pulled over for a traffic violation and we attempted to get out of a traffic ticket by displaying our badges, we would face severe punishment. As an interesting aside, most law enforcement officers have come to refer to their badges as "tins." This is because we quickly find out that the badge does not bestow as much authority as it does accountability.
Would that our elected representatives understood that concept the way that our law enforcement officers are made to tow that line!
I find it rather amazing that a member of the United States Congress was able to wield so much influence with our government as well as with the Mexican government that his wife's relative was promptly returned to the United States while so many other victims of the violence perpetrated by the drug cartels of Mexico simply vanish, never to be seen alive again! Additionally, it is noteworthy when our government can get the Mexican government to cooperate in turning over their citizens to our law enforcement authorities when they commit violent crimes in the United States and then flee across the border to Mexico.
Consider the outrageous situation concerning the case of Jesus Navarro Montes, the murder suspect in the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar who was released from a Mexican prison and about whom I wrote a commentary just two days ago.
I wonder if Rep. Reyes will interject himself into that case or other cases that did not involve his family.
While I wonder about Representative Reyes' involvement in Mexican / American affairs involving the violence of the drug cartels, I feel compelled to attach an Op-Ed piece below that also appears in today's edition of The Washington Times.
He is quick to talk about his experience as a Border Patrol sector chief in discussing the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. As you read his editorial piece, you need to consider that what he had to say flies in the face of the experiences of those of us field personnel who were the ones who conducted the investigations and made the arrests. Think about this sentence:
Furthermore, states and localities across the country have been forced to address the issues related to undocumented immigration as a result of the federal government's failures. At the same time, American workers have rightfully expressed concern over wages being affected by an underground economy. These complexities made it clear that we needed to address the status of the millions of immigrants already here.
For him to describe illegal aliens as being "immigrants" belies his having turned his back on the law enforcement officers of ICE and CBP who know that the difference between an illegal alien and an immigrant is the equivalent of the difference between a burglar and a houseguest!
Consider this sentence:
If the senator supports comprehensive reform, he should say so. I, for one, would welcome it, and I'm sure many of the good people who worked on the comprehensive bills over the past several years would too. If the opposite is true, and Mr. McCain will pursue an enforcement-first strategy that deals only with border security, he should say so too. I would disagree with him, and to quote Mr. McCain, would make it clear he is "sadly mistaken" if he thinks a piecemeal approach will deliver "any real results." But at least we'll know where he stands.
The point is that Mr. Reyes has to know that there is absolutely no way for our government to know the identities of millions of undocumented aliens whose true names, nationalities, criminal histories, potential affiliations with criminal or terrorist organizations are unknown and unknowable! This is because they are UNDOCUMENTED! This is why when I wrote a commentary about Comprehensive Immigration Reform last year for The Washington Times, I referred to that extremely dangerous legislation as being the "Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act of 2007!"
am disgusted with the politicians who look down their noses at hard
working blue collar Americans and dismissively say that the illegal
aliens do the work Americans won't do. In point of fact, the majority
of Americans who refuse to do the heavy lifting are not blue collar
workers but rather are the candy ass politicians who would not know
an hard day's work if it jumped up and bit them!
Every day there are Americans who toil on construction sites (as did my dad), coal mines, steel foundries, etc., doing the other dangerous, back breaking filthy jobs. The issue is not the laziness of the American worker but the wages that they should be receiving and the working conditions under which they labor. Illegal aliens are vulnerable and easy to exploit. That is why unscrupulous employers hire illegal aliens.
Additionally, Border Patrol agents are charged with interdicting illegal aliens attempting to run our nation's borders. They generally do not conduct fraud investigations or terrorism investigations. To draw an analogy between the Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and a police department, the Border Patrol is comparable to the beat cop while the ICE special agents are comparable to the detective division of a police department. They are supposed to work cooperatively but their missions are separate and discrete.
I have been involved in the investigation and apprehension of terrorists. I can tell you from first hand knowledge that the goal of a terrorist is to enter our country and then embed himself in our country and wait for the message telling him (her) to carry out an attack. That is why I often make the point that a day or two before a terrorist carries out a terrorist attack he can most likely be found at his job where he has been hiding in plain sight for months or even years.
To read Mr. Reyes' commentary is nothing less than infuriating to me because it makes it clear that he is happy to play politics with our nation's security while interjecting himself into a crime committed in Mexico that endangered a member of his family!
He should know that the solution to illegal immigration is not to reward illegal aliens whose identities are unknown and unknowable but to provide a massive infusion of resources to ICE to go after the employers of illegal aliens as well as the illegal aliens themselves. Additionally, it is important to go after those who game the immigration system and attain lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship by committing immigration fraud.
Without a secure border there is no way of keeping an endless flow of illegal aliens, including criminals and terrorists, from strolling across our nation's borders along with a huge quantity of narcotics. The violence in Mexico has been crossing our nation's borders victimizing all too many people in our country, often within the immigrant community. Silvestre Reyes should know this but, I guess when you can make a phone call or two and get the sort of cooperation he appears to be easily able to get, I suppose he is not particularly concerned about the violence being perpetrated by criminal aliens in our country!
The point is that our country would be a very different country if our elected representatives were mandated to abide by the same code of ethics and restrictions as do our law enforcement officers!
My dad, of whom I speak and write often, died when I was in college. His family circumstances prevented him from attending high school, but I believe he was one of the brightest and most insightful men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. As a teenager he told me, "Mike, you will teach people how they should treat you by making it clear as to what you will and will not accept when you deal with the people you encounter in your life."
We the People would do well to contemplate those very sage words! We the People have been derelict in our duties as citizens of this country in terms of making our demands known to our elected representatives. As I have stated on so many occasions, we passively sit back and often not only don't vote but don't even contact our elected officials to express approval or disapproval at what those who are supposed to represent us do.
We have gotten lazy and complacent. This has convinced our elected representatives that no one is watching what they do! It has been said, "When the cat is away, the mice will play!" In this dynamic, We the People are the cat that has failed to show up! As a result many of those mice have become fat enough to be called rats!
The time has come for every American to take his (her) responsibilities as citizens seriously. This is not a Conservative responsibility nor is this a Liberal responsibility. This is an AMERICAN responsibility!
Earlier the reporter who wrote this news report contacted me for my perspectives on this shameful case. While I was not quoted in this news report, I find it interesting that those who were quoted as taking issue with the official position that the actions taken constituted "standard procedure" made statements that closely paralleled what I told the reporter. There is nothing standard or even appropriate for our government to interject itself into a crime committed in a foreign country, against a person who is not a citizen of our country by criminals who are not citizens of the United States. This begs the obvious question, what in blazes were we doing getting involved in this adventure in Mexico?
Consider the following paragraphs contained in the news report:
On Friday, a government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said it sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking for an investigation. ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"Nowhere in any mission statement or other description of the authority of DHS, or any component of DHS, including ICE, is it suggested that DHS has the authority to get involved in the investigation of a foreign citizen, abducted on foreign soil, by foreign nationals," wrote CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "ICE's actions here raise troubling jurisdictional and foreign policy questions."
Despite the assertions of ICE and Mr. Reyes, some former law enforcement officers remained dubious.
"I personally don't think that's standard operating procedure to get involved in a case where it is a Mexican citizen and not a U.S. citizen in a kidnapping like that," said Sandalio "Sandy" Gonzalez, a retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration senior executive service supervisor who headed all of DEA's operations in West Texas and New Mexico.
is a question that I believe needs to be answered. Consider the following
After her release, Ms. Posselt was taken quickly to Texas and interviewed at the ICE field office in El Paso by ICE agents and Mexican prosecutors, the memo said.
The question is, where is Ms. Posselt now? Was she returned to Mexico where presumably she runs the risk of being kidnapped again? Has she been given some sort of authority to remain in the United States permanently? Would this mean that any Mexican who claims a fear of crime would be similarly be permitted to enter our country and remain here indefinitely because of a fear of violence?
If that is the situation, most of Mexico's population could well qualify to enter the United States because violence has become to commonplace and pervasive. Consider that since Mexican President Calderon took office it is estimated that more than 4,000 Mexican citizens have been killed! Drug cartels have even assassinated high-ranking law enforcement officials prompting other such officials to seek asylum in the United States.
Perhaps Congressman Reyes, who has called for legalizing millions of illegal aliens in the United States has decided to take this approach to enable all of Mexico to enter our country so that his wife's relative could not be seen as getting preferential treatment! Of course I have said this sarcastically but in dealing with the immigration issue and a politician who would conduct himself in the way Mr. Reyes has in this case, I would just love to know what is in his mind and what is in the minds of our leadership in the administration who have the chutzpah to declare that this case constitutes "standard procedure!"
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what point will our government officials be made accountable?
Making our government accountable is the job all Americans must do, regardless of party affiliation! This is not about partisan politics- it is about creating secure borders and an immigration system that possesses meaningful integrity.
© 2008 - Michael Cutler - All Rights Reserved