That we live in a perilous era is hardly a headline — this is a well established fact.  America and Americans face an existential threat posed by terrorist organizations.  Additionally, huge quantities of heroin and cocaine have flooded across our borders, smuggled by pernicious drug trafficking organizations that have set up shop in communities across the United States.  There is a strong nexus between narcotics trafficking and narcotics use and crime, especially violent crime.

The tens of billions of dollars, the annual proceeds from the drug trade, flow into the coffers of transnational drug trafficking organizations and international terrorist organizations.

Finally, our nation’s economy continues to falter and struggle as do tens of millions of American workers and their families find that their incomes shrink as their expenses rise as more foreign workers enter the United States each month than the number of new jobs that are being created.

All of the above-noted issues have a clear nexus to failures of our nation to secure its borders and enforce the immigration laws effectively.  In point of fact our immigration laws were enacted with two primary goals, protect American lives and the jobs of American workers.

In point of fact, our borders and our immigration laws are supposed to shield America and Americans.  Given all of the threats and challenges confronting America and Americans those shields should never be more important.  However, you would never know it to listen to the President and, frankly, to all too many of our nation’s politicians from both sides of the political aisle in Washington and on the state and local levels.

Obama Roosevelt RoomOn November 20, 2014 President Obama went before the cameras at the White House and laid out his plans to unilaterally “fix” the broken immigration system.  That there are millions of illegal aliens present in the United States indicates that our immigration system is failing.  That terrorists have been able to enter the United States and embed themselves in the United States provides further evidence of failures of the immigration system.  Consider, if you will, that the Tsarnaev brothers were able to gain lawful entry into the United States and apparently game the political asylum program. This provides a graphic example of a failure of that component of the immigration system.

“The Social Contract” published my article in its Summer 2013 edition, on how fraud in the political asylum program currently enables our enemies to see in America’s compassion, weakness. The title of my article was “Political Asylum: Where Compassion and National Security Intersect.”

What has never been explained, by President Obama or others who claim that the immigration system is broken, is how their proposals will greatly reduce the number of illegal aliens present in the United States.  What has never been explained is how the proposed “fixes” will create integrity to the processes by which aliens are granted visas or immigration benefits such as gaining lawful immigrant status or United States citizenship.  These are critical issues that were identified by the 9/11 Commission.

Traditionally when laws are violated our leaders call for enhanced enforcement efforts to combat and deter the crimes.  Because of concerns about those who have trespassed on New York City landmarks, Senator Chuck Schumer has proposed that a law be enacted that would subject those trespassers to a period of imprisonment of five years rather than the maximum of one year currently on the books.  He stated in part:

“While individuals like this (trespassers) may have meant no harm, their acts put commuters and first responders at risk,” Schumer said. “They also inspire copycats who may have much more evil plans in mind.”

Critical infrastructure is defined by the Patriot Act as systems and assets so vital to the U.S., that the incapacity or destruction to them would have a debilitating effect.

“That would be a bridge, a power plant, the air vents to one of our tunnels,” Miller said.

Miller and Schumer said the new legislation will help serve as a deterrent.

“When stunts like this occur, the New York City trespassing law has a maximum of one year and it’s often three months,” Schumer said. “That’s not enough punishment to deter this behavior. It’s time to change that.”

Schumer said this legislation is based on another federal law protecting railroads.

His statements were reported upon in an October 14, 2014 CBS News report, “Mayor De Blasio Heads To D.C. For Meetings On NYC Security And Counter-Terrorism.”

However, Senator Chuck Schumer has been the staunchest advocate for providing a pathway to United States citizenship to illegal aliens who have trespassed on America by running our nation’s borders and evading the crucial screening process conducted by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors at ports of entry.  This serves to encourage, not deter, aliens to run our nation’s borders.

Where our broken immigration system is concerned, the obvious questions not being asked or answered is, “Where is the deterrent?”  “How is the lack of integrity in the immigration adjudications program being addressed?”

President Obama’s tone has been defiant, claiming that if members of Congress wanted to stop him from taking his actions that they should pass an immigration bill that he agreed with.  It was a stunning statement especially considering that Obama was a constitutional law instructor.  On numerous previous public appearances he made it clear that he did not have the authority to act alone to take the actions that he is now taking to deal with immigration.  Yet, for reasons never articulated, he has now made it clear that he will now do what he had previous claimed he lacked the legal authority to do.

He has also never explained how his actions would curtail future illegal immigration or address the recommendations and findings of the 9/11 Commission.  But then, these are critical questions that virtually no journalists have ever asked or members of the Republican Party have ever addressed, either.

Obama is attempting to extort immigration legislation by using the sort of “strong arm” technique of Tony Soprano rather than the conciliatory and constitutionally mandated technique befitting the President of the United States, who leads the most powerful democratic republic on the planet.

While the media has fixated on the procedural issues of whether or not what Obama is promising (threatening?) to do is within the bounds of his legal authority as the President of the United States, what has never been discussed to any great degree is the other procedural question — how would USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) implement this massive amnesty program involving millions of illegal aliens with even a sliver of integrity?

On November 30, 2013 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) posted my commentary, “Political Asylum Fraud: Where America’s Compassion Becomes Vulnerability”that was predicated on a hard-hitting report posted by ABC News on November 20, 2013, “Exclusive: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees.”

The number one priority of the government of the United States is national security and, with it, public safety.  How on earth could the administration successfully administer that program in a manner that would not undermine national security and public safety?  Let us remember that America’s borders and immigration laws are its shields, its first line of defense and last line of defense against international terrorists, transnational criminals and other foreign nationals whose presence in the United States would undermine national security, public safety, public health or otherwise compromise the well-being of America and Americans.

On September 10, 2014 the New York Post published a disturbing report, “Homeland Security: We can’t stop ISIS from coming into US.”

Here is an important quote from this report:

‘Terrorists could be just one visa-free flight away from arriving in the United States.’

-Rep. Candice Miller

Members of Congress cited estimates that 12,000 foreigners have traveled to Syria to engage in the civil war, including more than 1,000 Europeans and more than 100 Americans, with a dozen Americans believed to be fighting alongside ISIS.

“ISIS is a threat to the United States and to the people of the United States,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).

“We may be reminded on 9/11 the count was approximately 19 who created the most heinous terrorist attack, killing more than 3,000.”

One Frenchman who trained with ISIS went to Brussels to murder four people at a Jewish museum in May, authorities say.

State Department and Homeland Security leaders said they’ve been working diligently with the tools at their disposal, including constantly upgrading border security procedures, reviewing the terror watch list and vetting visas.

“Though we currently have no credible information to indicate that ISIL is planning to attack the homeland, we remain concerned in the long term that their access to Westerners … will allow them to plan and coordinate attacks in the US,” Lasley said.

On November 10, 2014 Newsweek published a report about how the CIA is unable to effectively vet just 5,000 Syrians who claim to be moderates who want to help fight ISIS.  Realize that these are people who are in their country of citizenship and the CIA is able to conduct in-person interviews and are able to conduct investigations in the towns and villages where these people live, yet the vetting process is a disaster.  If it is virtually impossible to effectively screen 5,000 Syrians within their own country, how on earth could USCIS properly vet 5 million or, likely, many more aliens in the United States without an interview or field investigation?

The Newsweek article, “Inside the CIA’s Syrian Rebels Vetting Machine,” begins with this passage:

Nothing has come in for more mockery during the Obama administration’s halting steps into the Syrian civil war than its employment of “moderate” to describe the kind of rebels it is willing to back. In one of the more widely cited japes, The New Yorker’s resident humorist, Andy Borowitz, presented a “Moderate Syrian Application Form,” in which applicants were asked to describe themselves as either “A) Moderate, B) Very moderate, C) Crazy moderate or D) Other.”

After Senator John McCain allegedly posed with Syrians “on our side” who turned out to be kidnappers—a report later called into question—Jon Stewart cracked, “Not everyone is going to be wearing their ‘HELLO I’M A TERRORIST’ name badge.”

Behind the jokes, however, is the deadly serious responsibility of the CIA and Defense Department to vet Syrians before they receive covert American training, aid and arms. But according to U.S. counterterrorism veterans, a system that worked pretty well during four decades of the Cold War has been no match for the linguistic, cultural, tribal and political complexities of the Middle East, especially now in Syria. “We’re completely out of our league,” one former CIA vetting expert declared on condition of anonymity, reflecting the consensus of intelligence professionals with firsthand knowledge of the Syrian situation. “To be really honest, very few people know how to vet well. It’s a very specialized skill. It’s extremely difficult to do well” in the best of circumstances, the former operative said. And in Syria it has proved impossible.

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel was prepared by the staff that assisted the 9/11 Commission.  The preface of that document began with this 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.”

That report also detailed numerous examples of instances where terrorists not only made use of visa and immigration benefit fraud to enter the United States, but to also embed themselves in the United States. Page 47 of this report noted:

“Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.”

It is significant to note that the Seasonal Agricultural Program, also known as the Special Agricultural Program (SAW), were major components of the 1986 amnesty and that New York’s then-Congressman Chuck Schumer was one of that program’s major architects even though there were absolutely no farms in his congressional district when he concocted it.

This paragraph is found on page 98 of the report, under the title “Immigration Benefits”:

Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.

The program that the administration is about to create violates the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission yet, incredibly, this issue is never raised in the mainstream media or members of either political party in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.

While Obama and others have stated that the program being by the administration would involve five million illegal aliens, there is no assurance that humongous as that number is might not quickly swell to double or triple that number.  In 1986 the Reagan administration predicted that roughly one million illegal aliens would participate in the amnesty program that was a part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. By the time that the bureaucratic dust had settled between 3.5 and 4 million aliens had gained lawful status.

While the majority of these illegal aliens are not likely to have serious criminal histories or affiliations with terrorist organizations, the sheer magnitude of this program would create a monstrous haystack in which some truly deadly needles will easily be able to conceal themselves.  Because of the huge number of applications that will likely be filed, there would be no capacity to conduct routine face-to-face interviews with the applicants.  There would be no capacity to conduct routine field investigations to seek to verify information contained in the applications.

Furthermore, because of the huge number of applications and relatively sparse numbers of USCIS adjudications officers, applications will need to be processed quickly.  This raises yet another area of concern.  It takes just minutes for an adjudications officer to approve an application but may take hours, days or even weeks for those adjudicators to deny an application.  Adjudications Officers will be required to process a minimum number of applications per day or week to satisfy the standards established in their evaluations which are prepared periodically.  This will force these dedicated employees to be pressured to approve the great majority of the applications that they are given to adjudicate.

On November 1, 2013 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization posted my commentary: “Speed Kills at USCIS”

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is the woebegone division of the DHS that would be tasked with administering this program. As it is, this beleaguered and inept agency cannot keep up with its workload without “rubber-stamping” approvals on many applications where this slipshod approach enables fraud to often go undetected.  It only takes minutes for an Adjudications Officer to approve an application for a benefit such as lawful status or citizenship, but it may require hours or days to deny an application.

The adjudications officers will be pressured to “get to yes” as was reported by the media about instructions given to these USCIS officials.  Furthermore, their evaluations contain productivity requirements (quotas).  A diligent adjudicator will find his/her career imperiled for not meeting quotas that all but preclude denying more than a very few applications.

I wrote an article about the plight of these officials in my article for CAPS, “The Immigration Bon Bon Factory.”  In my piece I noted that a hilarious episode of “I Love Lucy” found the hapless Lucy and her comedic side-kick Ethel working in a candy factory and were assigned to wrap morsels of bon bons. They were unable to keep up with the pace of candy hurtling at them on a conveyor belt that started slowly but quickly accelerated to warp speed.  They were warned that if they failed to keep pace with the candy they would be fired.  To keep from losing their jobs they began stuffing the candy down their clothing and eating them, but to no avail.

While the situation Lucy and Ethel found themselves in were designed to entertain their audience, there is nothing amusing about the plight of the employees of USCIS or what it means for national security.

This is not just speculation on my part but is, in fact, based on the current reality in terms of how the hundreds of thousands of applications for DREAMERS are being adjudicated now.  Indeed, the approval rate for the DREAMERS under the DACA (Deferred Action- Childhood Arrivals) Program now exceeds 95%.

Because of this illegal aliens, who, for reasons only known to them, evaded the inspections process that is supposed to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence would be problematic for America and Americans, will see an opportunity to secure lawful status and official identity documents by committing fraud that is most likely to go undetected.  Aliens will be able to succeed in lying about their identities, including potentially their true countries of citizenship.  They will also likely be able to successfully make false claims concerning their dates and methods of entry into the United States.

That these aliens evaded the inspections process is all but ignored in the media and in the statements made by our supposed political leaders.  Aliens who run our borders entered the United States by evading the inspections process conducted at ports of entry by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors that is supposed to prevent the entry of aliens into the United States whose presence would be dangerous to the safety and well-being of America and Americans.

Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182 enumerates the categories of aliens who are to be excluded. Among these classes are aliens who suffer from dangerous communicable diseases or extreme mental illness. Additionally convicted felons, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists and spies are to be excluded, as well as aliens who would seek unlawful employment thus displacing American workers or driving down the wages of American workers who are similarly employed and aliens who would become public charges.

It should be obvious that aliens who evade that inspections process do so because they know that they belong to one or more categories of aliens who are to be prevented from entering the United States.  What is not obvious about these aliens is any information as to what would prevent them from being lawfully admitted.  There is no way to readily determine their true identities or backgrounds.  This means that they may successfully lie about their countries of citizenship as well as their names and dates of birth.  Their is no way to even know when or how they actually entered the United States.

The National Review Online posted an article that coincided with the New York Post Post article,  “ISIS Fighters Getting Caught Coming Across the U.S.-Mexican Border?”

Here is the text of this relatively short and disconcerting report:

From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Say What? ‘At Least Ten ISIS Fighters Have Been Caught Coming Across the Border’

Rep. Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, does not seem like a nut job or prone to wild exaggerations. But last night he said something that should make jaws drop:

Van Susteren: Hold on. Stop for one second.

Hunter: They are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.

Van Susteren: Let me ask a question. You say that they are coming in the southern border, which changes all the dynamics Do you have any information that they are coming in through the southern border now?

Hunter: Yes.

Van Susteren: Tell me what you know.

Hunter: At least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas.

Van Susteren: How do you know that?

Hunter: Because I’ve asked the border patrol, Greta.

Van Susteren: And the border patrol just let’s ISIS members come across the border?

Hunter: No. They caught them at the border. Therefore, we know that ISIS is coming across the border. If they catch five or ten of them, you know that there are going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the border patrol. That’s how you know. That’s where we are at risk here, is from ISIS and radical Islamists coming across the border. Once again, they don’t have a navy, air force, nuclear weapons. The only way that Americans are going to be harmed by radical Islam — Chairman Dempsey said the same thing. He said that’s where the major threat is here, that’s how these guys are going to infiltrate through America and harm Americans.

Providing millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents would not provide a deterrence to millions of aspiring illegal aliens from around the world and with the abject lack of integrity to the process, could potentially wind up with the additional consequences of providing terrorists with official identity documents in false names.

Mr. Obama’s plans could be the ultimate bad news.

Given the foregoing, Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk would likely command, “Shields up!”

Incomprehensibly, Mr. Obama is ordering just the opposite and the focus of attention of the media and politicians from both parties is solely on whether or not the President’s executive orders are constitutional, certainly a major issue.  However, what is being ignored is the impact this will have on our nation and our citizens in this particularly perilous era.

Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is

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