Exclusive: Congress Shadow Boxing with Illegal Immigration Crisis
Michael Cutler
Author: Michael Cutler
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: March 29, 2007

There are millions of illegal aliens in the United States. Fraud runs rampant through the immigration benefits program. We have no idea whether nonimmigrant aliens depart the United States as they should. FSM Contributing Editor Michael Cutler argues for the necessity of a tamper proof national ID card and stronger enforcement legislation. With every American at risk, will sufficient congressional members heed his advice?

Congress Shadow Boxing with Illegal Immigration Crisis

By Michael Cutler

I find last week’s article in the Washington Times - Immigration Bill Moves to Tighter Enforcement -to be interesting for several reasons. Apparently the politicians who are attempting to draft immigration legislation understand that the majority of the citizens of this country want to see our nation's immigration laws enforced. So, for these politicians the challenge is to attempt to provide the illusion that they are getting tough about enforcement without really changing the status quo. I know that you must think I am being unfair, however, let us dissect the article and see if what is being proposed will really achieve the goal of securing our borders and creating an immigration system that has real integrity.

First, the idea of providing United States citizenship for millions of illegal aliens who have entered our country by violating our laws makes it clear that the leaders of the United States don't really think that running our nation's borders is a big deal! This proposed legislation would reward millions of illegal aliens who either ran our borders or otherwise violated our immigration laws after they were admitted into the United States.

Next, the article states that the laws being proposed would require that aliens who want to become United States citizens would first have to leave the United States in order to apply for United States citizenship. I am sorry to pour ice water on this idea, but I do not believe that most of these aliens want to be United States citizens, they simply want to be able to work in the United States, travel freely to their home countries and send money back home.

The legislation would allow aliens who were physically present in the United States since June 1, 2006 to participate in a program that would allow them to work in the United States and receive official identity documents in conjunction with the Guest Worker Amnesty program. I have a very simple question. How would a relative handful of bureaucrats at USCIS, the agency that would administer this program, determine when these millions of illegal aliens - many of whom ran our borders and therefore have no documentary evidence of their entry into the United States - be able to determine when they really entered the United States?

How many millions of illegal aliens would be able to run our borders in the months to come and then falsely claim to have been here for the requisite period of time? Similarly, since we are dealing with millions of undocumented aliens who frequently change names and identities as frequently as a chameleon changes coloration, how would our bureaucrats know what name to put on the identity documents that they would issue to these aliens? I urge you to think about the Real ID Act which is designed to tighten up on the issuance of official identity documents such as driver's licenses. United States citizens will, under the Real ID Act, have to provide a number of identity documents to verify their true names and other identifiers.

Under the Guest Worker Amnesty Program millions of illegal aliens would be issued "secure" identity documents under any name that they claim that they could then use to obtain driver's licenses, Social Security cards, credit cards, library cards, etc. While the cards may be difficult to counterfeit or alter, the process by which millions of illegal and undocumented aliens would apply for these cards would be fatally flawed.

The whole point to the Real ID Act is to learn the lessons from the attacks of September 11, 2001 as memorialized in the 911 Commission Report. Congress must close many of the loopholes in the system that aided and abetted the terrorists who killed three thousand innocent victims, injured many more and reduced the iconic World Trade Center to rubble. All of that carnage, plus the damage inflicted upon the Pentagon, has forever changed our lives. The ability of the terrorists to game the various bureaucracies, especially the immigration bureaucracy, enables them to assume numerous identities. Providing official identity documents to millions of illegal and undocumented aliens would represent a huge national security risk. Period.

The idea of requiring millions of illegal aliens to go home for one day to then provide the illusion of getting tough should make it clear that the whole point to this exercise is to provide an illusion of getting tough! I have said this many times before. I think that it is appropriate to repeat it here and now.

The President has said on so many occasions that I have given up counting. Mr. Bush claims that where immigration is concerned,” we have tried enforcement and enforcement does not work." In point of fact, for decades our nation has only attempted to provide an illusion of enforcement and the illusion does not work! There are millions of illegal aliens in the United States. Fraud runs rampantly through the immigration benefits program. We have a Visa Waiver Program for nonimmigrant aliens from 27 countries. We have no idea whether nonimmigrant aliens depart the United States before their authorized period of admission expires.

Clearly, we have a rapidly growing crisis where aliens involved in violent gangs and criminal organizations are concerned. There are fewer than 4,000 special agents at ICE dedicated to enforcing the immigration laws for the entire United States. Meanwhile, New York City has been declared to be the safest big city in the United States, even while crime rates in many other cities around the country climb significantly. New York City covers and area of about 400 square miles and has slightly more than 8 million residents.

Yet New York City is so safe because there are about 37,000 police officers patrolling New York City's streets. Do the math and you quickly see what is really going on. The NYPD has about 10 times more police officers than ICE has special agents. Yet, there are probably 2 or 3 times as many illegal aliens scattered across the United States as there are residents living in the City of New York. So far, the federal government has provided us with the mere illusion of enforcement!

As for the economic impact of illegal immigration, I would urge you to read a report for the Center for Immigration Studies by no less an authority than George J. Borjas, a noted economist and the Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. You can find this report at:


To sum up some of Prof. Borjas' findings:

• By increasing the supply of labor between 1980 and 2000, immigration reduced the average annual earnings of native-born men by an estimated $1,700 or roughly 4 percent.

• Among natives without a high school education, who roughly correspond to the poorest tenth of the workforce, the estimated impact was even larger, reducing their wages by 7.4 percent.

• The 10 million native-born workers without a high school degree face the most competition from immigrants, as do the eight million younger natives with only a high school education and 12 million younger college graduates.

• The negative effect on native-born black and Hispanic workers is significantly larger than on whites because a much larger share of minorities are in direct competition with immigrants.

• The reduction in earnings occurs regardless of whether the immigrants are legal or illegal, permanent

or temporary. It is the presence of additional workers that reduces wages, not their legal status.

His report was prepared in 2004. Obviously, the rapid increase in the number of illegal aliens in the United States can only have exacerbated the impact on wages since then.

What I find particularly interesting is that in the news article, the AFL-CIO complains that the proposed legislation would permit 400,000 additional alien workers to enter the United States resulting in depressed wages for the labor market. Even the unions which are supposed to look out for the welfare of their members are playing the game of blue smoke and mirrors! Indeed the influx of those aliens would depress wages and impact other areas of concern. However the presence of illegal aliens in the United States right now is forcing wages down also. Nonetheless, the unions are happy to have the current crop of illegal aliens remain in the United States just as long as they pay dues and swell the ranks of their members to provide the AFL-CIO with money as well as political leverage.

How much more evidence do we need that the politicians and those with an agenda based on greed on perceived self-interests are willing to sacrifice the security of our nation and the safety of our citizens so that they can gain money and political power? It is time that our nation secure its borders and create an immigration system that possesses real integrity. Illusions are fine for magicians who amuse and entertain their audiences, but not where the issue of national security is concerned. Illusionists belong in the circus, not in positions of leadership!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Michael Cutler is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a well-respected authority on immigration and border security issues.

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