Michael Cutler, When Executive Orders handcuff agents – and set law violators free.
On February 18, 2021 the Washington Post reported, Biden memo for ICE officers points to fewer deportations and strict oversight.
Here is how that news report began:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will need preapproval from a senior manager before trying to deport anyone who is not a recent border crosser, a national security threat or a criminal offender with an aggravated-felony conviction, according to interim enforcement memo issued by the Biden administration Thursday.
The narrower priorities are expected to result in a steep drop in immigration arrests and deportations. Biden officials said the new guidelines — which will be in effect for the next 90 days — will allow the agency to make better use of its resources while prioritizing public safety threats.
Having spent 26 years as an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) special agent provides me with a unique perspective that I have provided at numerous congressional hearings and when I provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission.
As I read Biden’s Executive Orders and the various proposals for immigration law changes and massive amnesty programs, I am disheartened and frustrated. What was the point to the hearings and the 9/11 Commission when the President promulgates policies that not only ignore the 9/11 Commission but actually take America in precisely the opposite direction from where we should be going?
With the stroke of his pen, and without legislation, Biden has profoundly undermined immigration law enforcement.
The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) was created in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. The INS which had been under the Justice Department was replaced by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and moved into the DHS. ICE agents have the same lawful authority to enforce and administer the Immigration and Nationality Act as did agents of the INS and are important elements of what is referred to as the “Interior enforcement” of our immigration laws.
Under the law such agents are empowered to make warrantless arrests of aliens who are illegally present in the United States. This is important to back up the efforts by the Border Patrol to prevent the un-inspected entry of aliens into the United States and the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors at ports of entry who admit aliens under various categories of visas.
Any alien who runs the border or violates the terms of his/her entry into the United States should not ever feel confident that they will not be discovered and arrested. This is important to not only address alien law violators who are present in the United States but to deter foreign nationals who may seek to enter the United States illegally or otherwise violate our immigration laws.
This contributes to the integrity and credibility of our immigration laws and, indeed, all of our laws in general. It has been said that you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. Generally the first laws alien encounter are our immigration laws. How we enforce those important laws sets the tone for all that follows.
Aliens who illegally take jobs are subject to deportation. This is to protect the jobs and wages of American and lawful immigrant workers and is of particular importance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden’s Executive Order, stripping ICE agents of discretionary authority to arrest illegal aliens they encounter sends a dangerous message to aspiring illegal aliens from around the world- that in America violations of our laws will not only be tolerated, but rewarded!
Preventing ICE agents from arresting aliens who are not “recent border crossers” is absurd. No record of entry is created when aliens enter the United States without inspection. From a practical standpoint, any illegal alien can now avoid arrest by lying about when he/she ran the border.
ICE agents would find it virtually impossible to refute such false claims as to the date the alien entered the United States.
The interior enforcement of our immigration laws and immigration fraud were identified by the 9/11 Commission as key issues and, in point of fact, The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel addressed these issues.
Page 54 contained this excerpt under the title “3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot.”
Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.
In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.
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.
While I agree that law enforcement has to prioritize actions which get the “most bang for the buck” through the creation of a sort of triage system where violent criminals should be the focus, it is wrongheaded and dangerous to ignore aliens who are not “aggravated felons.”
It is also wrong and dangerous to require ICE agents to provide information to local law enforcement about impending arrests since this presents a potential security problem, especially in “Sanctuary” jurisdictions.
Sleeper agents are foreign terrorists who are careful to not attract anyone’s attention. It has been said that effective spies would not attract the attention of a waiter or waitress as a “greasy spoon diner.” International terrorists operate in the exact same manner, and, in point of fact spies and terrorists may well work as waiters or waitresses as they go about their deadly and nefarious goals.
Therefore there is no such thing as a “minor case.”
My very first fraud investigation, as a brand-new agent, caused me to trip over a terror plot in Israel. A young man from Israel arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the summer of 1976. He had apparently altered his visa by chaining the date of expiration and the fact that he had already used that visa to enter the U.S. the previous year. (The visa was valid for one entry and he had changed the number “one” to the number “two.”) I was instructed to take a statement from him, if he was willing to cooperate. This was supposed to be more of a training exercise for me. He was going to be sent back to Israel, no matter what he might have to say.
Because of his recalcitrance to answer certain questions, I called the Israeli consulate in New York and they sent over several security officials to interview him.
During the course of interviewing him I found that his shirt did not fit properly. I had him remove his shirt and was surprised to find that a pocket was sown into the inside of his shirt. The pocket contained a piece of paper with an ink-drawn schematic diagram and Arabic writing. I handed it over to the Israelis and we were all shocked that the diagram was of an oil refinery in Israel. He was, we later found out, here to get the money to buy explosives to be used in a terror attack.
My superiors notified the FBI and working with the Israeli National Police six would-be co-conspirators were arrested in Israel just days before the attack was to have been carried out.
Another memorable case involved an alien working in a glass factory in Brooklyn. He claimed to have been a naturalized citizen. His story, however, did not add up. He lied about his name and other facts. As it turned out, he had been convicted of a homicide years earlier, served time in jail and was then deported back to his native Belize. He was arrested when he reentered the United States without permission and was serving a prison sentence in a federal penitentiary for the crime of Reentry After Deportation (8 U.S. Code § 1326) when he escaped from the prison. He took a job in that factory where we found him. His boss, the factory’s owner, was shocked; he told me that he actually trusted him to lock up the factory the night when he had to leave early and had invited him to his home for dinner.
Rather than deterring violations of our nation’s immigration laws by aliens, which constitute our first and last line of defense, Biden has singled-handedly deterred the enforcement of those vital laws by dedicated ICE agents.
There is an expression used by agents that is worth considering: “Big cases- big problems, little cases- little problems, no cases- NO PROBLEMS!”
It would appear that a new version of the “Miranda Warning” should be given to ICE agents warning them that anything that they do may be used against them!