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Expert Michael Cutler speaks on comprehensive immigration reform (Part 1 of 2)

Armstrong Williams | 12/19/2013, 2:34 p.m.
Armstrong Williams

The debate about comprehensive immigration reform keeps coming up, and while several efforts to pass this sweeping legislation have failed, it is likely to be an issue for the next session of Congress.

One of the national experts on immigration is Michael Cutler, a retired senior special agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). His career spanned some 30 years and he provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission and has been called to testify before well over a dozen congressional hearings in both the House of Representatives as well as the Senate to provide his perspective and concerns borne of his extensive careers with the INS. He most recently testified before the Senate on March 20, 2013 on the topic of “Building an Immigration System Worthy of American Values.” On March 19, 2002, he testified before a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims at a hearing on the topic “INS’s March 2002 Notification of Approval of Change of Status for Pilot Training for Terrorist Hijackers Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi.”

That hearing not only captured the attention of the American news media, but news organizations from around the world. A C-SPAN video of that hearing provides a compelling image of incompetence at the former INS that was impossible to ignore.

Cutler agreed to participate in an exclusive interview on his perspectives and concerns about comprehensive immigration reform and explains why he has been consistently opposed to this legislation.

Armstrong Williams: How important is the immigration issue?

Michael Cutler: It is arguably the most serious issue confronting the United States today—bar none.

America’s borders and immigration laws exist for two primary purposes: to protect innocent lives and protect the jobs of American workers.

Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts virtually every challenge and threat confronting America and Americans today. National security and public safety are undermined by failures to secure America’s borders, enforce the immigration laws along its borders and from within the interior of the United States and create true integrity to the processes by which aliens are provided with visas and lawful status in the United States, including those who are permitted to attend school, work on jobs for which they have been granted appropriate visas, be granted permission to remain permanently in the United States as refugees who are given political asylum, lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship.

These failures also negatively impact America’s economy, driving down wages, increasing unemployment and underemployment. Other issues to be considered are the impact on education, health care, public health and the environment.

By the way, before we continue with our conversation, we need to do a bit of semantic house keeping. Ever since the administration of President Jimmy Carter, the term “alien” has been under attack. Under his administration, INS employees were told to stop referring to illegal aliens as being illegal aliens. I am a big fan of being politically correct if the goal is not to embarrass or demean another person. However, the term “alien” is not a pejorative.