Talk Border

Amnesty- Not the Solution

Michael Cutler
Michael Cutler
Michael Cutler, retired 30 Year INS Officer, standing tall against illegal immigration. Cutler was also INS representative to the Unified Intelligence Division (UID) of the DEA. Michael now hosts TalkBorder.com | Photo: Aaron Stipkovich | Michael Cutler, Immigration, Border, Illegal, Ins, Federal Agent, Talk Border,

America has been there, done that in 1986 and it failed!

In the wake of the recent elections, a number of conservative politicians and pundits have decided that the way to woo the mythical "Hispanic vote" is to compete with the Democratic Party's offer of amnesty for unknown millions of illegal aliens. It is more than ironic and hypocritical that those who are quick to speak about "The Latino Vote" are also quick to loudly criticize law enforcement when they stand accused of profiling! Is it not an insidious form of "profiling" to predict how people will vote simply by looking at the color of their skin, their religion or their ethnic background?

What no one is willing to discuss is that it is likely that other philosophies of the Democratic Party- especially the issue of "big government" and all that this entails may be what is attractive to the ethnic voters who voted for the Democratic Parties candidates including President Obama. While many bemoan the fact that there is not enough difference between the two parties, there are differences.

In point of fact, it might well be that those who voted for Obama did so in spite of his promises to provide amnesty and pathways to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens and not because of those promises!

Furthermore, it is apparent that in formulating this strategy of providing massive numbers of illegal aliens with legal status and "pathways to citizenship" to attract more Latino and other ethnic minority voters, the politicians and pundits are ignoring a few central points and, in so doing, are making their failures to engage in critical thinking abundantly clear for a host of additional reasons.

Consider this fundamental fact- only United States citizens can vote in federal elections! Many of those citizens are currently unemployed or underemployed. It has been estimated that one in six Americans now live below the poverty line and mortgage foreclosures and homelessness plague America in record numbers. Providing lawful status and "pathways to United States citizenship" to what will likely be tens of millions of heretofore illegal aliens would simply create millions of competitors for jobs American and lawful immigrant workers desperately want and need. Not only would flooding the labor pool with millions of newly authorized workers create unfair competition for struggling American and lawful immigrant workers but it would undoubtedly cause wages to plummet. Labor, just like any other commodity is subject to the economic laws of "supply & demand." A sudden, massive increase in supply would drive the value of labor lower- likely much lower!

Considering this, why on earth would any American citizen want to see millions of additional authorized workers join them in the already overcrowded labor pool? (It must be noted that the unemployment and poverty rates in the Latino and Black communities are significantly higher than those rates are in the non-minority communities.)

Lawful immigrants and especially naturalized citizens would also be made to feel foolish if many millions of illegal aliens were able to achieve lawful status even though they entered the United States in violation of law or violated the immigration and other laws soon after entering the United States. This would certainly make a mockery of the "legal" immigration system that, each year, provides more than 1.1 million aliens with Green Cards signifying that they had been lawfully admitted as permanent resident aliens and placed on the pathway to United States citizenship on the day that they are admitted into the United States or are granted lawful immigrant status.

(The argument posed by Senator Schumer and his like minded colleagues in Congress about requiring that aliens who are granted amnesty be made to wait on the "end of the line" is an insult to anyone capable of thinking! The line Mr. Schumer's speaks of is located inside the United States! This means that the aliens who would be placed on the end of that line would be permitted to remain in the United States, be granted official identity documents- thereby creating a huge and insurmountable national security vulnerability- bad guys including terrorists, could easily game this program as they have in the past, and be granted employment authorization. Under the law, they would pass the E-Verify program and be as entitled to work in the United States as any American worker!)

Additionally, there is another issue that could be filed under "Unintended Consequences." Employers who are currently intentionally employing illegal aliens are doing so to pay their employees substandard wages and coerce them into working for substandard conditions. If these workers were suddenly granted employment authorization they would no longer be vulnerable to coercive employment practices. Suddenly their employers would have to pay them higher wages- likely much higher wages, and also pay them "on the books" and address safety and other labor standards issues that they currently ignoring. The likely result of this is that these unscrupulous employers will do whatever they have to do to find illegal aliens who they can exploit to replace their newly legalized employees that they are likely to fire.

This is not simply conjecture on my part- this is precisely what I observed when I was an INS special agent when the Amnesty of 1986 was implemented under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Back then the office phones at the INS rang off the hook as newly legalized aliens called to complain about being fired when they approached their bosses about the wages that they wanted to be paid and the deficiencies in the working conditions that needed to be rectified. They told us that they had been replaced by illegal aliens! This is how, in part, the Amnesty of 1986 led to the greatest influx of illegal aliens in the history of the United States.

Consider that many of these legalized aliens had difficulties in finding employment and wound up on unemployment lines and were able to apply for all sorts of costly programs to help them support their families. Back then the number of legalized aliens was far smaller than the number of aliens who would likely participate in such a massive amnesty program today. Back then America's economy was not suffering from a record deficit as it is today. The bottom line- who will pick up the check for these expenses today?

Another issue today that was not given adequate thought- the national security disaster that such a massive amnesty program would create. Millions of illegal aliens from countries around the world would be eligible to receive official identity documents even though there would be no way to determine if the names that they claim are their true names are truly their names. Fraud would permeate this program, as it did back in 1986. It is likely that terrorists and assorted transnational criminal would avail themselves the opportunity to create brand new "clean" identities for themselves, creating their own personal "witness protection programs."

The time has finally come for a demonstration of true leadership by reminding Americans that the purpose for our immigration laws is to protect innocent lives and the jobs of all American workers of every race, religion and ethnicity. Amnesty programs circumvent these laws and remove the protections they were enacted to provide.

Finally, it must be remembered that the Amnesty of 1986 was touted as a "one time" program to finally restore integrity to the immigration system. Back then it was estimated that some 1 million to 1.5 million illegal aliens would emerge from the "shadows." When the bureaucratic dust settled, more than 3.5 million aliens were granted lawful status- fraud permeated that system and some who benefited went on to attack the World Trade Center in 1993.

The 19 terrorists who savagely attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 all committed visa fraud and/or immigration benefits fraud as did other terrorists whose attacks, thankfully, were never carried out. Clearly there is a nexus between the immigration system and national security.

Rather than prove to be the solution it was supposed to be, the amnesty program of 1986 encouraged the greatest influx of illegal aliens in the history of the United States!

Today it is officially estimated that there are 12 million illegal aliens. It is likely that there two or three times that number of illegal aliens who are currently present in the United States. If our politicians foist an amnesty program on the United States and the same sort of miscalculation turns out to plague this program- the numbers would be staggering as would the ramifications!

The first obligation for the government of the United States is to provide for national security and community safety for communities and their residents from coast to coast and border to border. America's borders are its first line of defense as well as its last line of defense to keep those foreign nationals (aliens) who are engaged in terrorism or crime, from entering the United States and embedding themselves in the United States.

Additionally, America's middle class is rapidly shrinking. It was the middle class that gave rise to the "American Dream," a dream that is proving to be ever more unattainable by greater numbers of Americans of every race, religion and ethnicity.

Effective enforcement and administration of the immigration laws can successfully address all of these challenges and other, provided that the resources be made available and those who are charged with enforcing and administering these critical laws be given the leadership and support of the administration.

We are often told that the immigration system is broken. In point of fact the majority of the immigration laws are just fine- all this is lacking is the political will to get the job done! The immigration system and laws are no more broken than is a Ferrari with an empty gas tank! Fill that car's gas tank, turn the key and take it for a spin!

Similarly DHS can accomplish its missions- all it needs are the resources, leadership and political backing.

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Updated Apr 22, 2017 9:05 AM EDT | More details

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