Border Security Is Not An Option

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By Michael W. Cutler

Mike is a Senior Fellow with CAPS and retired INS Senior Special Agent. During his 30-year career with the INS he rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. He was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA and for 10 years was assigned, as an INS Senior Special Agent, to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force. He has testified at numerous hearings conducted by committees and subcommittees of the House and Senate and provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

He hosts "The Michael Cutler Hour" on USA Talk Radio Fridays at 7 p.m. (EST) and is frequently interviewed by broadcast media on various aspects of immigration issues, especially the nexus to national security.

The writer's views are his own.

May 22, 2014

For decades the federal government has failed to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws.  These failures ignore commonsense and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Our borders and our immigration laws are America's first line of defense and last line of defense against transnational criminals and international terrorists.

When the “Gang of Eight” drew up “Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation the issue of border security was used as a bargaining chip.  The debate that purportedly raged was whether or not the borders should have to be secured before unknown millions of illegal aliens were to be provided with lawful status and identity documents, even though DHS lacks the resources to conduct in-person interviews or conduct field investigations to combat fraud in that program.  It is incomprehensible that border security was not considered a mandate for national security and public safety.

The administration has claimed that the borders have never been more secure, bolstering that absurd claim by providing arrest statistics that have as much connection to reality as do the unemployment rates that ignore tens of millions of American workers who have left the workforce.

Awhile back when I was a guest on Neil Cavuto's program on Fox News Neil asked me if I agreed with the administrations claim that inasmuch as the number of illegal alien arrested by the Border Patrol had declined that there are now fewer illegal aliens present in the United States.  I responded by telling Neil that trying to figure out how many illegal aliens were present in the United States based on arrest stats is as meaningful as attempting to take attendance by asking people not present to raise their hands.

Arrest statistics do not provide a clear metric about the number of illegal aliens present in the United States or whether or not our borders are truly secure. 

The most reliable metric for determining how secure our borders are can be found in analyzing the availability and the prices of heroin and cocaine.  Those narcotics are solely produced outside the United States and every gram of those substances, that are present in the United States, were smuggled into the United States. 

Most crime is directly or indirectly attributable to the drug trade.  The proceeds from the drug trade enrich the cartels and terrorist organizations.

On September 3, 2013 I joined Congressman Lou Barletta on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to participate in a town hall meeting on immigration.

The C-SPAN coverage of our discussion was given the title:

"Immigration Policy & Homeland Security"

During our discussion I made the point that the best metric for determining border security was the price and availability of cocaine and heroin.

On May 20, 2014 the New York City Council conducted a hearing into how the quantity of heroin pouring into New York and, indeed, the United States from Mexico has skyrocketed.

CBS News reported on that hearing:

"Special Narcotics Prosecutor Addresses Heroin Epidemic At City Council Hearing"

Here is how the CBS report began:

That’s the warning from the city’s special narcotics prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, who told a City Council hearing Tuesday that the amount of heroin sold by New York City-based drug traffickers is skyrocketing.

“So far we’ve seized 288 pounds (in 2014), and that’s in four and a half months — compared to last year, when during the entire year we seized about 177 pounds,” Brennan said. ” … Obviously, we’re going to surpass last year.”

This year’s heroin seizures have already exceeded those in every year dating back to 1991, WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reported.

The report went on to note:

Roughly 35 percent of heroin seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration nationwide since October was confiscated in New York state, according to the Times.

Mexican cartels apparently smuggle the drug up north in tractor-trailers. At rest stops near New York City, the heroin is off-loaded to cars and taken to mills in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, where it is processed and packaged, the Times reported.

On October 12, 2012, the New York Times published an extensive article about Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, a community in New York City where narcotics trafficking and illegal immigration are inextricably linked along with prostitution, identity theft and the creation of fraud identity documents. The title of that article was:

"Roosevelt Avenue, a Corridor of Vice"

For the second half of my career with the former INS I was assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  I spent an inordinate amount of time conducting investigations and making arrests in that neighborhood.  Bad as things were back then, today's situation eclipses what I personally encountered when I was an INS Senior Special Agent.

Periodically law enforcement authorities carry out drug raids and raids on houses of prostitution and  arrest vendors of false identity documents. These law enforcement investigations and arrests are often heralded by politicians who are eager for that all important "photo op” where they commend the police officers and/or federal agents who have struck a blow against pernicious criminals.  Meanwhile many of these same politicians proclaim their cities to be sanctuaries for illegal aliens and provide illegal aliens with identity documents and driver's licenses, thereby providing camouflage for criminals and terrorists.

It has been said that failure is not an option, neither is securing our nation's borders.

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