Whenever the issue of immigration is raised, almost invariably the discussion focuses on the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico. Of course, the issue of the southern border of the United States is a serious matter. It has been said that this border is the only place on our planet where the Third World collides with the First World. The violence related to the drug trade, playing out across Mexico, has claimed nearly 50,000 lives since Felipe Calder?n, the current President of Mexico took office.
However, the issue of immigration is not just about the southern border, it is estimated that some 40% of the illegal aliens in our country did not run the US/Mexican border but rather entered the United States through ports of entry. It is officially estimated that there are more than 5 million illegal aliens in the United States who violated the terms of their admission into our country by overstaying their authorized period of admission, seeking unlawful employment, or failing to work on a temporary job or to attend a school for which they were admitted. Some of these aliens may have committed visa fraud in order to enter the United States or may have committed and subsequently been convicted of committing felonies in the United States.
In fact, the 19 terrorists who wrought such wanton destruction on our nation on September 11, 2001, all entered the United States through ports of entry. This is why I have repeatedly stated that any state that has an international airport or a seaport must be considered a "Border State."
Beyond the issue of how illegal aliens enter the United States or come to become illegally present is certainly a major issue, but the failures of the immigration system do not end there. Fraud permeates the system by which USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) provides immigration benefits upon aliens such as conferring lawful immigrant status or United States citizenship upon aliens via the naturalization process.
However, for the purpose of this commentary, let us just focus on just how secure our supposedly secure US/Mexican border is and the issue of spillover violence.
Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security has proclaimed the US/Mexican border to be secure. She has repeatedly denied that spillover violence from Mexico is a problem for the United States.
On February 23, 2012 I wrote an Op-Ed for Fox News Latino that was entitled: "Michael W. Cutler: Border Spillover Violence is a National Reality"
Even as the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues press releases and proclamations about how secure our borders are and how violence is limited to Mexico, she also issues statements as to how many hundreds of American cities are now infested by the extremely violent Mexican drug cartels that are known to be utilizing a level of violence that parallels the tactics employed by Middle Eastern terrorists including the use of IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices) and beheading anyone who gets in their way.
Furthermore it is well-known that there are transnational gangs playing their "trades" throughout our country. Some of these gangs are linked to Latin America while other gangs have their origins in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Members of some of these gangs have entered the United States by running our nation's borders, while others arrive at ports of entry and are admitted into the United States via the inspections process. A recent FBI report claimed that there are approximately 1.4 million gang members in the United States. While many of these gang members are United States citizens, many are not. The FBI report was entitled: 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment'Emerging Trends
. Here is an excerpt from that report:
Gangs are expanding, evolving and posing an increasing threat to US communities nationwide. Many gangs are sophisticated criminal networks with members who are violent, distribute wholesale quantities of drugs, and develop and maintain close working relationships with members and associates of transnational criminal/drug trafficking organizations. Gangs are becoming more violent while engaging in less typical and lower-risk crime, such as prostitution and white-collar crime. Gangs are more adaptable, organized, sophisticated, and opportunistic, exploiting new and advanced technology as a means to recruit, communicate discretely, target their rivals, and perpetuate their criminal activity. Based on state, local, and federal law enforcement reporting, the NGIC concludes that:
- There are approximately 1.4 million active street, prison, and OMG [outlaw motorcycle gang] gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs in the United States. Gang membership increased most significantly in the Northeast and Southeast regions, although the West and Great Lakes regions boast the highest number of gang members. Neighborhood-based gangs, hybrid gang members, and national-level gangs such as the Sure?os are rapidly expanding in many jurisdictions. Many communities are also experiencing an increase in ethnic-based gangs such as African, Asian, Caribbean, and Eurasian gangs.
- Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90 percent in several others, according to NGIC analysis. Major cities and suburban areas experience the most gang-related violence. Local neighborhood-based gangs and drug crews continue to pose the most significant criminal threat in most communities. Aggressive recruitment of juveniles and immigrants, alliances and conflict between gangs, the release of incarcerated gang members from prison, advancements in technology and communication, and Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization (MDTO) involvement in drug distribution have resulted in gang expansion and violence in a number of jurisdictions.
- Gangs are increasingly engaging in non-traditional gang-related crime, such as alien smuggling, human trafficking, and prostitution. Gangs are also engaging in white-collar crime such as counterfeiting, identity theft, and mortgage fraud, primarily due to the high profitability and much lower visibility and risk of detection and punishment than drug and weapons trafficking.
- US-based gangs have established strong working relationships with Central American and MDTOs to perpetrate illicit cross-border activity, as well as with some organized crime groups in some regions of the United States. US-based gangs and MDTOs are establishing wide-reaching drug networks; assisting in the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and illegal immigrants along the Southwest Border; and serving as enforcers for MDTO interests on the US side of the border.
Clearly violence is most certainly spilling across our borders, and this information is to be readily found in an unquestionably authoritative FBI report, not some supermarket tabloid.
Further evidence of spillover violence can often be found in news releases that are posted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). It is worth considering that ICE is a component agency of the DHS, an agency I have come to refer to as the Department of Homeland Surrender.
Below are two recent examples of such news releases:
HSI rescues 4 from violent Phoenix human smuggling drop house
PHOENIX ' Four Mexican nationals, including three suspected torture victims, were rescued from a human smuggling drop house Wednesday by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assigned to the Phoenix Border Enforcement Security Task Force Drop House Response Group, with support from the Phoenix Police Department.
Following their rescue Wednesday, three of the hostages told HSI investigators their captors had beaten, sexually assaulted and attacked them with a stun gun. One man had been stabbed.
The four were freed after HSI special agents developed information that suspected human smugglers were operating out of a residence located near 83rd Avenue and Osborn. Based upon that information, investigators initiated surveillance of the house and subsequently observed a vehicle enter its garage only to leave a short time later. Special agents stopped the vehicle, discovered $7,200 in the vehicle, and apprehended two suspected smugglers and two recently smuggled Mexican nationals. Shortly after the vehicle stop, agents observed three other men leave the residence on bicycle and on foot. All three were identified as suspected smugglers and apprehended.
When HSI special agents and Phoenix Police Department officers entered the residence, they discovered four male Mexican nationals in a bedroom. Two of the men were bound with rope around their ankles and a third man had been stabbed recently on his upper back. All three had other visible injuries consistent with being physically abused. The fourth man appeared physically unharmed.
The stabbing victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and later released to authorities. The other three men were evaluated and treated as needed by the Phoenix Fire Department at the scene. All four of the men are now in ICE custody and receiving victim services.
"Tragically, this case shows yet again the brutality of the human smuggling trade," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of HSI Arizona. "To the smugglers, these human beings are nothing more than a business commodity. They have no qualms about using ruthless violence in an effort to collect their smuggling fees. HSI is fully committed to disrupting this violent activity and dismantling the criminal organizations involved."
The five suspected smugglers, all of whom are Mexican nationals, were arrested by the Phoenix Police Department and booked into the Maricopa County Jail Thursday on kidnapping, aggravated assault, sexual assault and extortion charges. They are expected to make their initial court appearance late Thursday. The five may also face future federal charges.
The investigation is ongoing.
TOP STORY: HSI targets bandit crews that exploit the Arizona border
You'll find them in Arizona's most remote areas, brandishing firearms and bullet-proof vests. They are on the hunt for weapons traffickers or drug smugglers. But they're not law enforcement officers. They are bandit crews'criminals'who will do anything to make a profit, which often means murdering and stealing from other criminals in the desert.
"Mexican drug smuggling organizations sometimes use bandit crews to police their desert smuggling routes and rob from competitors," said Kevin Kelly, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Nogales, Ariz.
The prevalence in bandit crews has resulted in a surge of violence throughout the Southwest corridor. Two men were murdered in the desert near Eloy, Ariz., and three individuals were allegedly robbed and held against their will while their families were extorted for money. In an effort to curb this trend, HSI and the U.S. Border Patrol have partnered to investigate bandit crews and disable their operations. Law enforcement authorities are currently investigating the murders, and a criminal complaint has been filed in Arizona federal court against an alleged bandit.
As a direct result of the HSI and U.S. Border Patrol partnership, two individuals were recently sentenced to five years in federal prison. Border Patrol agents arrested them in the mountains of southern Arizona in June after they were spotted carrying a loaded AK-47 assault rifle and bulletproof vest. The men admitted that they intended to rob groups of drug smugglers carrying backpacks of marijuana through the Arizona desert.
"Thanks to great teamwork with our Border Patrol partners and federal prosecutors, we were able to take these two bandits out of the desert and put them in prison," said Kelly.
Clearly the impact of increasing numbers of transnational gangs and their members throughout our country and the failures of our government to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws effectively can be felt in every one of our fifty states and in communities from coast to coast and border to border.
Simply stated, the presence of these pernicious criminals causes America to bleed red (blood) and green (money).
Furthermore, the first step in problem-solving is to acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place. It is more than a bit disconcerting when the highest ranking official of the DHS declares that our borders are secure and that spillover violence is not occurring'especially when so many reports and news releases that are prepared by various government agencies provide clear evidence that undoubtedly contradicts the position that Ms. Napolitano has taken on these two highly important issues that have a clear nexus to national security.
People tend to not attempt to solve problems that don't exist and it would certainly seem that in Ms. Napolitano's world these serious problems are no problems at all. Perception becomes reality. As the saying goes, "None is as blind as he (or she) who would not see!"