Questions must be answered by the advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. Despite Senate approval of the bill last week, these questions have not yet been asked — let alone answered.
How will U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicate the millions of applications, indeed, tens of millions of applications for lawful status with even a shred of integrity? The agency won’t be able to conduct in-person interviews or field investigations to make certain the information contained in the applications is truthful and accurate. As it is, the adjudications officers are already under tremendous pressure to approve most of the more than 6 million applications they are already handling each year. It takes just minutes to approve an application, but may take hours, if not days, to deny an application. The 9/11 Commission identified immigration fraud as the embedding tactic of choice for terrorists.
Who are the aliens who would emerge from the “shadows?” While we have been told that comprehensive immigration reform would take these undocumented illegal aliens out of the shadows, how will we verify their true names or even their true countries of citizenship? “Undocumented” means that they have no official identity documents to attest to their true identities. An alien who has an extensive arrest record in other countries, but who has never been fingerprinted in the United States, or a handful of other countries that are our allies and take law enforcement seriously, may be fingerprinted in conjunction with legalization and not have his prior records show up. Such an alien, including transnational criminals and terrorists, could easily game the legalization process by using a false name.
What was the real purpose for an illegal alien to enter the United States in the first place? While the prospect of employment may have been the motivation for the great majority of illegal aliens to run our borders, a significant percentage of the illegal-alien population includes those who know they could not be lawfully admitted via the inspections process that is designed to prevent the entry of aliens who have dangerous communicable diseases, severe mental illness, serious criminal histories, are fugitives from justice in other countries or have committed war crimes or human rights violations, or are spies or terrorists.
Where did an illegal alien who applies for legalization really come from? Today, many illegal aliens who run the U.S.-Mexican border are not citizens of Mexico. Often aliens, especially those from Latin American countries, falsely claim to be Mexican so they will not be deported to their home countries. They calculate they will be simply pushed back into Mexico where they can easily make another attempt to run the border just hours after the Border Patrol releases them. Additionally, we know that there is a growing population of Iranian shock troops arriving in Venezuela each week, and there are also increasing members of Hezbollah present in Latin America.
When did an alien who applies for participation in comprehensive immigration reform actually enter the United States? An alien who sneaks across the border creates no record of his entry. It may sound like a terrific idea for Congress to include a provision in amnesty legislation requiring that the applicant for amnesty be present in the United States for a certain number of years. However, how could the Department of Homeland Security determine the alien’s actual date of entry? There will be no resources for conducting field investigations, only to run a name and fingerprints in a computerized series of databases with no means of verifying entry data.
Why would politicians elected to represent American workers and their families ignore the national security issues and the impact of adding millions of authorized workers to a labor pool that cannot find work now?
How will the federal government deal with aliens who apply for lawful status but are rejected because it is determined that they are ineligible? Will they be arrested, and will deportation proceedings be initiated, or will they simply not be rewarded for their illegal entry into the United States and violations of other laws including, perhaps, lying on their applications for legalization?
How will the Department of Homeland Security deal with those aliens who don’t seek legalization because they know that they have serious criminal histories? How many agents will be assigned to tracking down a population of illegal aliens whose numbers would likely exceed 1 million? These aliens pose a serious threat and one that would persist if the department continues to ignore them.
Michael W. Cutler is a retired senior special agent for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.