Immigration is one of the most hotly debated issues in America today. However, most of the debates are not being held in the public media but among Americans. The media, for a number of reasons, is extremely reluctant to hold debates or even conduct an honest discussion about the ramifications of the ways our immigration laws are enforced or fail to be enforced.
Going back to the administration of President Jimmy Carter, efforts have been made to strike the term “Illegal Alien” from the vernacular. That term is a legal term that defines an alien as being any person not a citizen or national of the United States. That term doesn’t insult anyone- it provides clarity about immigration. The apparent goal was to obfuscate the true importance of the immigration laws. Simply stated, our immigration laws were enacted to accomplish two vital and fundamental goals, to protect American lives and protect the jobs of American workers.
When the immigration anarchists make light of the distinction between aliens who have been lawfully admitted into the United States and those aliens who have evaded the inspections process and ran our nation’s borders, it is obvious that they are failing to acknowledge the importance of the inspections process that aliens are supposed to undergo before they can be admitted into the United States.
Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182 enumerates the various categories of aliens who are to be excluded from the United States. A review of those categories makes the intention and importance of our immigration laws, our borders and the inspections process crystal clear. Among the classes of aliens who are supposed to be excluded from the United States are those who suffer from dangerous communicable diseases and aliens who suffer extreme mental illness and are prone to violence or are sex offenders (rapists and pedophiles). Additional categories of excludible aliens include convicted felons, drug traffickers, human traffickers, money launderers, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists and spies. Finally, aliens who would seek to work illegally or become public charges are also supposed to be kept out of the United States.
I began my career with the INS as an Immigration Inspector at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. I spent approximately four years in this position before I became an INS Criminal Investigator / Special Agent and am intimately familiar with the inspections process. While far from perfect, we could spend hours discussing how this vital process could be better conducted to improve national security and other areas of extreme importance to the United States, nevertheless, the inspections process is not inconsequential! Today the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is responsible for securing America’s borders and conducting those inspections.
Part of that process requires the inspector to review the passport and other documents of the alien seeking entry into the United States, reviewing databases to check for information concerning aliens who are to be excluded from the United States because they have criminal histories, were previously deported or pose a threat to national security.
Another part of the inspections process requires that the CBP Inspector to ask relevant questions of the arriving alien. (This is not unlike the homeowner asking a stranger who knocks on his door, “Who’s there, what do you want?”)
Aliens who run the borders are not inspected. No record of their entry is created. Their fingerprints are not taken. They are not asked any questions.
It is presumed that they entered the United States surreptitiously because they belong to one or more classes of aliens who, under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, should be kept from entering the United States.
I often engage in public speaking events where I discuss various aspects of the immigration crisis that confronts the United States today. During one such presentation I was confronted by a member of the audience who expressed hostility towards my position, asking why I was so opposed to foreign nationals entering the United States.
I explained that I did not want to prevent all foreign visitors from entering the United States only those who would run our borders or violate our laws. To make my point I told her that the United States spends billions of dollars each year to conduct the inspections program at ports of entry. The DHS maintains inspections facilities, staffs those facilities with personnel, maintains computers and does other things consistent with that important mission. I asked her if she would feel secure if, in order to save money, the federal government stopped conducting the inspections process at ports of entry so that airliners arriving from foreign countries would simply pull into gates next to flights arriving from domestic airports in the United States, permitting the passengers arriving from overseas to simply gather up their suitcases and other belongings and head for destinations unknown and for purposes known only to them without speaking to a single government official and without being asked a single question.
She looked irritated and said that she certainly would not be comfortable with that situation.
I pointed out the obvious disconnect in her thinking- how could someone on the one hand want passengers arriving on airliners from foreign countries be inspected while ignoring aliens entering the United States without being inspected or questioned?
She suddenly got the point! The question is, especially after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the growing presence of transnational gangs in cities across the United States, why have so many of our political leaders and fellow Americans not been able to see this issue for what it truly is?
What will it take?