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On the Border: What Is To Be Done By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 11, 2008


The following symposium took place at the David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat in Santa Barbara, which was held at the Four Seasons Resort May 30-June 1. – The Editors.

 

Chris Burgard: I made the movie Borderthree years ago, I was just a guy working the film business, working at my ranch, and my wife motivated me to get off the couch and see what was going on.

 

Chris was in the news with the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and their operations down in Arizona, and I had worked in enough restaurants and enough ranches with people that were in the country illegally that I'd heard their side of the story. So, I wanted to see what was going on. The first week I went out there, we saw things that were so contrary to what was going on in the mainstream media that I called my wife and said, "We need to document this for our kids. We need to make a movie about it."

 

In the course of filming this film, things that we've seen – American ranchers living in fear from armed men, often soldiers, paramilitary guys coming across the border on a regular basis; environmental devastation – ranchers losing their ranches not only to vandalism and the environmental damage but just finding dead bodies on a regular basis on their ranches; the institutionalized rape of Mexican women as a form of control in our deserts, the rape trees; the renting of children to drug cartels in hopes that they can get a lesser sentence if apprehended, it doesn't matter your skin color, it doesn't matter your politics; these things are wrong.

 

These are things that should not be happening, and they should not be happening in America, and yet, two years after filming this, we find they are going on, and hopefully, what we're doing here today will help further the cause to end that.

 

 

Rep. Tom Tancredo: I am pleased to see that there still are enough folks who care about this issue to attend this function this morning and not take a longer break than would have been provided by the schedule because I am worried about the degree to which the government of the United States is concerned about it, I'm worried about the degree to which the president is focused on it, and certainly worried about the degree to which the presidential candidates are focused on the issue. I know the people of this country are still concerned about it; I am positive.

 

I was going to talk about the fact that we have a situation now developing on our Southern border that is even more perilous than we have had in the past several years because Mexico is as close to a failed state right now as we have ever seen it.

 

At least six states have been taken over to one extent or another by the Gulf cartel, Sinaloa, almost entirely.

 

Since President Calderon has taken office, more than 4,200 people have been killed in the drug battles that are going on down there. That's, of course, more than we have lost in Iraq.

 

The State Department has issued a traveler's warning for Americans traveling to some of the border communities. There are kidnappings, almost on a daily basis, of people from the United States – people being kidnapped on our side of the line, taken to Mexico and held for ransom, sometimes $20,000, $10,000. You don't hear about it, but we are at war on our Southern border. It is a dangerous place to be.

 

There is a group called the Zadas. These are thugs that were originally hired by the Gulf cartel to be their enforcers. They've begun actually moving into the position of becoming their own cartel. They advertise on bridges. There are big signs placed on bridges down there saying, "Join this" – "Join us. We pay better than anything else." Who are these people, by the way? These were highly trained forces in the Mexican army, trained, many of them, by the way, at Fort Benning, Georgia by your tax dollars and mine. They went back and, of course, turned and are now part of the enforcement arm of the cartels, the Zedas, incredibly bloody organization, very, very dangerous and control a significant portion of the country itself.

 

There's a city about 90 miles south of El Paso that is presently under siege. It's about 600,000 people; 170 police officers simply fled when the cartels arrived to start doing battle. The military is there now trying to take the city back. This is happening just 90 miles south of our border. There's a camp near Matamoras, Mexico at which these people, the Zedas, are training people for a variety of things. We don't know. I mean it's supposedly to just bring drugs in and how best to smuggle drugs into the United States.

 

By the way, 300 tons of cocaine last year. We have no idea the number of tons actually of marijuana and other drugs. Ninety percent of all methamphetamine comes into the United States from Mexico, 90%.

 

Okay, so I was really just trying to focus on this and explain what was going to happen and why.

 

Of course, one of the first things any rational government would do under a circumstance like this is at least secure the border! We're talking about the Merida Initiative. That’s the way we're going to handle this. That's 1 billion 500 million dollars that we are going to appropriate – one part of it has already been – to send to the Calderon government to help fight the cartels.

 

Now, this is going to be in the form of training and supplies. And I have to tell you, we've gone this route before. We've sent money before. We've done training before. And what happened, we trained the Zedas because the government is so corrupt because there is no way to actually make sure that the use of the money or the equipment will be in the right hands.

 

So, first, you've got to secure your border, but we haven't.

 

We have a bigger enemy, that enemy being Radical Islam.

 

I don't know how many years to explain that, in fact, that's exactly why I am worried about this issue. We are at war with Radical Islam, absolutely true. I believe it with all my heart. I believe it's not just the United States at war with Radical Islam; it is Western Civilization at war with Radical Islam. I believe that is what is at stake.

 

You need two things to win any kind of battle, two things.

 

One, you have to know who you are fighting, what it is that motivates them, who are these people, what drives them.

 

And the other thing you must know is who you are. And I'm telling you, we are losing on at least that front. I don't know anymore if we know who we are, what the word American really means because massive immigration into this country, when it combines with the cult of multiculturalism that permeates our society, creates a cultural, political, and linguistic Tower of Babble, and we lose sight of who we are, and it becomes difficult for us to marshal the forces necessary to defend Western Civilization.

 

Look at the difficulty that our friends and allies in Europe are having today. So immigration alone is no big deal. Immigration with radical multiculturalism, a very, very big deal and very scary thing. It goes to the heart of whether we're going to be able to control this.

 

Last time I was here I was doing a little talk out in the hall, people had gathered, and somebody was there with a microphone from a radio station, and I mentioned that we were 60 miles away from a city that was really a third-world country. Whoa, did I get in a lot of trouble! I mean Jeb Bush sent me a nasty letter. There was a was a poll taken shortly thereafter. The Miami Herald published it, and most people agreed with me. Most people in Miami agreed with me.

 

And the point I wanted to make is that the danger we face with this phenomena I have described of massive immigration and this cult of multiculturalism creates this – a statement encapsulates the whole thing.

 

A guy in Miami considered himself to be, and they identified him in the Time magazine article as the head of the Cuban [Immigrais] in that area. That's the way they identified him. He's a professor at the University of Miami. And he said something that has got to be taken seriously. He said the thing he loved about Miami is that it was a city in which there was no pressure to become an American. That's what I am talking about. That's what I am worried about because when America is at war – when the military is at war but the rest of America is at the mall, you know, it's a bad thing. When the military is at war and the rest of America is at the Mercado, it becomes an even more dangerous thing.

 

We are losing sight of who we are. We are losing sight of what connects us as Americans. What does this term citizenship really mean? Does it have significance? Are we losing it?

 

When I was in Brownsville, Texas a couple of weeks ago we had a hearing down there on the border fence. People in Brownsville were absolutely against it. The mayor's against it. The town's against it. Everybody was up in arms. And they kept saying, "We don't want this fence." I said, "Why?" They said, "Because it will divide our community." I said, "Your community? No, no. You see, it divides two countries, the United States and Mexico, not your community. Your community is in this country."

 

But that didn't satisfy them, and they were very upset. And so I finally said, "Look, I'll cut a deal with you. You're so worried about this fence dividing your community. Why don’t we do this? Why don't we just build the darn fence around the northern part of your city?" It's okay with me, and you know what? A lot of them applauded, too, because, frankly, they're not connected to America. They're not. Emotionally, intellectually, politically, they are still connected to another country, and linguistically, certainly, it's also true.

 

This is not something that will help us in this clash of civilization as we face. Thank you very much.

 

Chris Burgard: You grow up in America, and we have the strongest military in the world and people who lay down their lives in a heartbeat to keep us and our families safe. And I know, Chris, for you and I and many members of the border patrol, when you lay on the border and you see foreign soldiers bringing platoon-sized groups across the border at will and there's no one to stop them, it messes with your whole idea of what America is and what Tom said, who we are, that these things shouldn't happen.

 

T.J. Bonner said last week that – president of the Border Patrol Council – that, yeah, maybe 80 – 92% of the people they catch in the deserts coming up are people looking for work, but there's a huge plan on the syndicates around the country that those 8% they send in are the hardcore criminals, the operations that the Zedas are running, that MS13 is running, felons that had been deported more than once before, they're coming through. And, Chris, how many places have we been in, ranches, where we've seen debris left behind, Sudanese dinars, clothes from Iraqis. I mean that's going on now.

 

Chris Simcox: More than enough evidence that people are coming.

 

You could feel Tom Tancredo’s passion, and that pretty much sums up the passion of the 12,000-plus volunteers of our organization who understand what the duty of their citizenship means, citizens who said enough is enough, that our federal government is not listening to us, and they're stuck in this defensive position.

 

And I want to go back and tag on some of the things that were discussed in some of the previous panels and yesterday about our approach to the war and our approach to terrorism and being stuck in this defensive position.

 

You can't find a more frightening defensive position that we're in when you go to our borders and you watch, as Chris said, as I've seen, personally over 15,000 people that I've encountered over the past six years who are entering this country unabated, with no one there to really stop them other than the brave men and women of border patrol who are put out there with, as I've said many times, they have three wheels on their vehicles and one round in the magazine of their weapon, and they're forbidden to use it.

 

We put the National Guard on the border, where their orders are not to engage the enemy, to retreat and to report. I mean what kind of message does that send to we, the American people? But what we need to think about is what kind of message does that send to the rest of the world and the people who do intend to cause us serious harm?

 

I'm a former elementary school teacher. I spent most of my career teaching kindergarten, first, and second grade, and when I discovered what was happening on the border, as I said many times, it doesn't take a kindergarten teacher to add two plus two or a kindergartner to add two plus two to understand that if poor migrant workers, uneducated, have the resources and the wherewithal to run circles around our Homeland Security and we have the drug cartels who can do the same – they can smuggle anything or anyone at any time at will across our borders – it's only a matter of time where the terrorists are going to figure out that that is the easiest path into this country.

 

I've seen it up close and personal. I've had over a dozen encounters with the Mexican military running scouting missions for the cartels. It's unreal that we have this, and we're taking this defensive position.

 

And now we have this virulent anti-American sentiment throughout Latin America. I don't know if many of you know, but South America is basically creating a South American union now, and of course, that's being led by Hugo Chavez, - they've already exploited the cartels and the routes for bringing people in. I believe someone yesterday referred to them as the "rat lines" of how to smuggle people and goods and drugs into this country.

 

By the way, a $400 billion industry, according to The New York Times recently. I don't know how credible they are but necessarily, but it is a multi-billion-dollar criminal syndicate and criminal industry that controls our borders, north and south, so we have a serious problem.

 

But, look, I had five points.

 

Border security must come first. What kind of message would it send to the rest of the world if we immediately deployed 20 to 30,000 of our National Guard and military personnel to our borders and send the world a message that we take border security and our sovereignty serious? What kind of message would that send to Iran or Al-Qaeda or anyone else that we take border security seriously? We take our citizenship seriously, and we take our national security seriously.

 

Border security is a national security issue. I personally have encountered people from Pakistan, people speaking Farsi, people from Haiti in the middle of the Arizona desert, Haitians. I mean so, again, it's a clear and present danger when it comes to national security.

 

We talk about public safety. All you have to do is read your newspapers and do a LexisNexis search or a Google search every day across this country about the American citizens that are victims of the crime that – of the criminals coming across our borders. That is unacceptable, and that's where we should say enough is enough.

 

We have the proliferation of gangs all over this nation that are made up exclusively of foreign nationals in this country illegally, and they're not coming here to do the jobs Americans won't do, according to President Bush; they're coming here to do the crimes that we allow them to do because of sanctuary laws and because of not enforcing our laws and not allowing law enforcement to do their job, especially here in California, which is a sanctuary state.

 

We have the public safety issue more than anything, also, and I've spent enough time in the desert to see it. I can fully understand and have great compassion for the hardworking peasants and people that are coming across that border who are victims of their own governments for not being provided economic opportunity, and it is a shame that that's happening. Our unsecured borders are leading to the exploitation and the violation of human rights in ways that are morally repugnant to me as an American citizen.

 

Securing our borders is pro-immigrant. We put up a gauntlet, a wall, and we say, "You are more than welcome to come to the United States, but you will knock on the door, you will receive permission to enter, and we'll provide you safe passage, and you enter this country being respected and with dignity." That's who we should be, and that's our message we should send to immigrants across the world.

 

It is outrageous that we have a sex slave industry that is exploded into this country. We have women being sold into prostitution and good people that are forced into indentured servitude in this country, and we need to bring an end to that, and I think as American citizens, as the character of Americans, we need to say border security is pro-immigrant. We want to protect the immigrants.

 

Taxpayers have had enough. I mean this is also a taxpayer issue. Taxpayers are fed up paying for anchor babies and educating, medicating, and incarcerating foreign nationals in our country at the cost of here in California alone, last year $10.5 billion was spent on education, medication, the healthcare, and incarcerating expenses for dealing with the crime, and that's in one state alone.

 

In Arizona, I think we spent 5 billion last year on the same issue. So the taxpayers have had enough, and I work a lot on college campuses, where we talked about the bias and the fascism on college campuses and the radical groups. We aren't just dealing with radical Muslim groups on campuses; we're dealing with radical immigrant groups on campuses who are here. They're the children, they're the anchor babies, the children of the illegals that have come in, who have a virulent anti-American sentiment and will tell anyone that you're not welcome here. This is their land and they're going to take it back politically without ever firing a shot, through repopulation.

 

I've never faced more hate and more hate for me as a white male, as well as an American citizen, in talking about assimilation. I mean you're a racist if you talk about assimilation on college campuses. That is offensive. And they've co-opted the civil rights movement in an attempt to again put us in a defensive position as Americans being afraid to talk about the issue.

 

Then we come to the issue about workers and how do we provide labor in certain areas. Look, I'm tired of having – and here in California again, you've got a welfare system that you can live off of forever. We need to get Americans off welfare, get them off social services, get them off the nanny state, put Americans back to work.

 

Once we've done that, we've secured the borders, we empty our prisons, we put Americans back to work, then we can talk about how and where we're going to find workers, but more importantly, and we'll discuss this more, a system for bringing in workers.

 

We've had much discussion about a national ID. We don't need a national ID. Our driver's license should be our national ID and our proof of citizenship. That's why we cannot give driver's licenses to anyone that's not a citizen in this country. What we need is a national ID for visitors to this country, a biometric, tamperproof ID card that also, in the case of guest workers, doubles as an ATM card. There are no cash transactions for any visitors in this country.

 

I just spent time in the San Joaquin Valley in Upstate California talking with some of the folks who run the agriculture businesses who say they admit that even when they bring people in legally through visas because there's no way to track them, they disappear within two or three weeks because they're going to go work in some other business, and the way that they can disappear is through the cash transactions. And we'll get into that more as we go on.

 

Chris Burgard: Mike, as we go into your opening statements, I want to throw something at you, too, that really bugs me is every time people talk about enforcing the laws on the books, what they throw up at me is, "Well, that means sending people out of the country. That means deportations. That's going to take us back to the time of the Nazis and keeping the trains running." You've lost family in the Holocaust. Would you care to comment on what you would say to these critics?

 

Michael Cutler: Sure. I'll make a couple of points about that.

 

First of all, let me just start out saying something. I'm a New Yorker. I'm also a Democrat. This isn't a conservative or a liberal issue. When we hear the open borders crowd talk about the right wing of the Republican Party, that's utter nonsense. This is an American issue. And as I've said when I've been before Congress or on Lou Dobbs or O'Reilly or whatever, a country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls. And that's something to really remember.

 

And as far as this business about trying to deploy 20 million illegal aliens, one of the first times I was on Lou Dobbs, I came up with an expression that a lot of people have copied. I've said that nobody would break into an amusement park if they couldn't get to go on the rides. I've also said that at the end of the day when they shut off the lights and turn down the rides, people head for the exits.

 

If we make it impossible for illegal aliens to get a job, to own property, to get a driver's license, to conduct business as usual, there will be no point to being here. There will be no point to coming here.

 

I'm kind of the odd man out, though, because we're hearing a lot of talk about the border, but I want to make people understand something, and I did a congressional hearing about this. Somewhere between 30 and 40% of the illegal aliens in our country today did not run our nation's borders but came through ports of entry and then one way or another were able to hide in plain sight because in this game of hide and seek, they hide, we don't seek because there's a lack of resources.

 

And when we keep hearing this nonsense, "Well, we're doing the job, these big raids, hundreds of people arrested," New York is the safest big city in America because with a population of about 8.5 million people, we've got about 38,000 police officers. Right now, we've got fewer than 4,000 ICE agents for the whole country enforcing the immigration laws.

 

I testified before a Congressional hearing, the Immigration Subcommittee, about the fact that while Congress had appropriated enough money in '05 to hire 800 new special agents for ICE, the president cut that number to 143. They gave him enough money to hire 2,000 border patrol agents; he cut that number to 210.

 

And rather than secure the border, they wanted to put up a virtual fence. And I was on Neil Cavuto not long ago. Neil said to me, "Mike, what do you think about a virtual fence?" I said, "Neil, a virtual fence will stop virtually nobody."

 

You see, I don't know why David Copperfield isn't running for president because these folks are illusionists. It's about trying to convince the American people that the job is being done that they want done while at the same time making damn sure that nothing changes because traditionally, where illegal aliens were concerned, the Republicans wanted cheap labor for their constituent base, and the Democrats were hoping for new voters, and we do have illegal aliens voting, by the way.

 

Now, here's something to consider. It's not only how people get here; it's how they acquire official status in our country. I saw the amnesty of 1986, and just to give you a 30-second thumbnail sketch, I started as an inspector at Kennedy Airport, did that for four years.

 

For one of the four years, I became an adjudicator, where we interviewed people to see if aliens are to get residency based on being married to United States citizens.

 

1975, I became what used to be called a criminal investigator. That job is now a special agent.

 

1976, I stumbled upon a PLO plot to blow up an Israeli oil refinery. We had an Israeli kid coming in. He was a Palestinian. I found in his possession a map of the oil refinery of Haifa. He was here to get the money to buy the explosives. We prevented the attack, and it was my early introduction to terrorism.

 

I rotated through all the investigations division.

 

1988, I was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division at DEA in New York. I was there for about three-and-a-half years. I did an analysis for arrest statistics and found that in New York, 60% of the people being arrested by DEA for drug trafficking and related crimes were foreign born, 30% nationwide.

 

And then I became a senior special agent with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force but always as an INS agent.

 

We are being hammered by criminals coming to our country from other countries because they come from a society where the police are feared, the police are corrupt, the violence is incredible. It's kind of like taking a hardened criminal and putting him into a reform school when they come to the United States.

 

And I'm going to say something that Chris said, and he's right. Basically, immigration laws serve as that first impression that the whole world has of the United States. We've got the world convinced right now that if you come to America and violate our laws, not only can you get away with it, we want to reward you for it.

 

And part of the game that's been played by the open borders crowd – this goes back to that phenomenal president who never should've been elected by the name of Jimmy Carter – and I say this as a lifelong Democrat, the man's a disgrace – he ordered that INS agents stop calling illegal aliens illegal aliens but call them undocumented workers.

 

Let me tell you, the term alien is not a pejorative. Legally, the term alien, under the immigration laws, the definition is very simple – any person not a citizen or national of the United States. Does anybody hear a pejorative or an insult in that definition?

 

When we as Americans travel to other countries, we become aliens, and no other country will have a problem telling you that. When the president said that he wanted to legalize the immigrants, it's like me telling you I want to make this water wet. Immigrants are legal; he wanted to legalize illegal aliens, and he knew damn well that if he said it, people would go berserk.

 

The difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is the difference between a houseguest and a burglar. We all like to have people visit our homes but not when they crawl through the back window. And when someone does run the border, it's not the equivalent of somebody failing to pay a toll when they go across a toll bridge because what it really means is we don't know who they are. We don't know their names. We don't know their nationalities. We don't know their criminal histories. We don't know with whom they're affiliated. And we don't know what their intentions are.

 

Now, I was opposed to the amnesty of '86. We did it. It was a big screw-up. I was called upon to testify at a bunch of hearings about the amnesty of last year. I keep calling it the Freddie Krueger bill; no matter how many times you seem to kill it, it keeps coming back to life.

 

But I wrote a commentary that The Washington Times published last year, and I compared the debate over that piece of legislative nonsense with the preparations for the launch of the space shuttle Challenger because at that countdown, all the experts were weighing in as to go or no go, and there were experts who said if you launch, you're going to have a catastrophe. NASA didn't listen. They launched, the astronauts were killed, and the shuttle was lost.

 

And I said that the reason that I’m so opposed to the amnesty bill – there's many reasons, but I'll give you the two biggies.

 

First and foremost, this is a national security nightmare. If we don't know who you are, why in blazes would we give you an official identity document with a name on it? And when they say, "We're going to give you a background check," that's baloney. All that means is they fingerprint you. If your prints come up "no record," then you're good to go. You give a name. The name comes up "no record," they will issue you a card in that name. So if Osama bin Laden's fingerprints weren't on file and he walked into an immigration office and got a nose job and changed his appearance here and there and said his name was Donald Duck, we would issue him a card saying he's Donald Duck, that he could then use to get a social security card, driver's licenses, open bank accounts, and so forth.

 

The 19 terrorists who attacked our nation on 9/11 in the aggregate used 364 false names, and we gave them many of those documents, we, the various state and local governments.

 

There's a woman by the name of Nada Nadim Prouty. Prowdy, who was citizen of Lebanon, came to the United States with a student visa or overstayed the visa. Her brother-in-law, who owned a bunch of restaurants in Detroit, got her involved in a marriage fraud. She got residency based on that marriage fraud, went and got herself citizenship ultimately, took her citizenship, went to the FBI, became an FBI special agent, and then went and became a CIA agent.

 

This woman's brother-in-law is now a fugitive. He's wanted for sending millions of dollars to Hezbollah. They found she was accessing files at the FBI and CIA databases concerning informants and ongoing investigations into Hezbollah. She committed fraud when she got her green card. She committed fraud when she naturalized. She committed fraud when she got her top-secret clearance. The judge sentenced her to a fine of about $1,000 and no jail time.

 

Welcome to America, folks. We have another guy whose name I would love to give you but nobody really seems to know who he was. We naturalized him. He was from Middle East. He went to work for Titan Industries, a subsidiary of the ever-popular Halliburton. Got a job as a translator at a military base in Iraq. And, guess what, turns out that he was stealing our military documents, and when they checked his cell phone, he was making phone calls to Al-Qaeda. He got 10 years in jail.

 

When we give people citizenship, we're giving away the keys to the kingdom. Two years ago, the GAL, at the behest of Senators Collins and Grassley, did an investigation. It turned out the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services had lost 111,000 immigration files of aliens seeking benefits in our country. I couldn't lose that many jelly beans. And they naturalized 30,000 aliens without their files. Imagine a bank giving out mortgages that way. We have, yeah, you're right!

 

But that's part of the same problem because you've got people with multiple identities, and this is why identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in America.

 

And last year or two years ago, $45 billion was wired from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean. That's the visible money. Much of that money went to pay for the cartels and families overseas and so forth. That's money not earned by Americans.

 

You know, we could go on for hours about this, but what I want you to understand is I have arrested terrorists in my career. My last significant arrest was a Cuban wanted for murder in the first degree in Chicago.

 

What I have seen is that our country is not honoring lawful immigrants who come here, play by the rules. We make a mockery of that process ourselves. And then when they come here, they find that the same criminals who preyed upon them in their home countries are preying upon them still again here.

 

If we don't have the resolve, the spine, the decency to secure our borders, to protect our nation, then we're in trouble.

 

And my final thought is this. I can't tell you how much respect I have for Tom Tancredo even though he got me fired. When I testified before the Immigration Reform Caucus, that was the death knell of what was left of my career.

 

And then I testified before the House Judiciary Committee about how Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi could've been given letters of permission to change schools. The only problem was it was six months after 9/11, so everybody knew two things. They were terrorists and they were dead, but of course, the old INS couldn't be deterred.

 

But when they said that Tom was a single-issue candidate, I want you to realize something about immigration. Nobody in government could possibly want to run for president who's not concerned about national security, criminal justice, the economy, the environment, education, healthcare, and a rafter of other issues. And the one issue that runs through each and every one of those issues and hammers them into the ground is our nation's consistent failure to secure our borders and to create an immigration system that has integrity.

 

See, it's not just the borders, folks. Any state that has an international airport or a seaport is also a border state, and when people run the borders, guess what? They don’t hang around the border for long. They go everywhere. New York has over a million illegal aliens.

 

So the time has come for we, the people, to live up to our responsibilities as Americans to make damn sure that the politicians know what we want. When hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens could take the street corners around America chanting “Yes we can,” which interestingly, is Mr. Obama's war chant, and then you see three Americans with a flag on the opposite corner, what in blazes are we doing?

 

When we go to restaurants, we are very specific about how we want our food served and prepared. The time has come for we, the people, to make all politicians, regardless of party, to understand what we want, and what we better want is a secure border and an immigration system that has true integrity.

 

Chris Burgard: We're going to open it up to questions right now, but I'm going to get to ask the first question, a perk as a moderator, and it would be for Tom.

 

Tom, Senator McCain has said he's gotten religion, that he understands the American people want a secure border. But I've got friends, ranchers in Texas and in his home state of Arizona, that are struggling to keep afloat, and they're losing their ranches, and they're not getting help. Are they going to – they laugh when he says that. Under a McCain administration, can they expect anything better?

 

Tom Tancredo: I remember when I ran for the Republican nomination for president, I did so for a particular reason. I did so because I believed this issue had to be elevated to that level and that I recognized fully well that my chances of being president were slim to none. It was not that that motivated me. It was this issue.

 

The first debate we had was here out in California at the Reagan library, and it was an interesting debate. I was the only person that would take the issue on, and the rest would do a little dance, equivocate, and avoid it to the best they could.

 

By the time we reached Iowa in December, after about nine debates, all of the people on that stage had become stalwart supporters of securing our border, at least rhetorically.

 

Now, that was about the most that I could do, I thought, and so at that point in time, we pulled the plug on the campaign and said, you know, they are there. We've done everything -that I thought we could do in that process.

 

And Senator McCain had changed dramatically during that period of time to a point where he kept using the phrase, "I have gotten the message." That was his way of settling the issue. When people would bring up immigration, he would say all the time, "I've gotten the message." And if pressed, he said he thought it meant securing the borders first. Now, he's right. We definitely have to secure the borders, and I'm glad that he's there rhetorically. But even that, I have to tell you, has been used – that phrase has been used for a long time to describe what we're doing and have been doing as securing the borders. And, of course, it's anything but that.

 

So you have to press everybody, including Senator McCain, on exactly what he means by securing the borders. What does that mean? What will it look like? Will it be a fence? And, you're right; a virtual fence is great for protecting a virtual nation, but we need something else.

 

And it's interesting to note that the building, by the way, a little side note, Boeing got the contract to build a virtual fence, and the activity was going on in a particular building. They were having some difficulties, people breaking in, some vandalism. Guess what they had to do in order to protect the building? Put up a fence!

 

A real fence! That's exactly right. A real fence around the building that's designing the virtual fence.

 

Well, anyway, so I would like to press him more on what he means by border security, but my problem is that I think I know what he means about what's going to happen after that, and I fear it because I believe it means amnesty, that we will "secure the borders," then we will give amnesty to everybody who's here illegally. And I think he's going to be speaking, if I'm not mistaken, next month to LaRasa at which he will articulate that point of view.

 

Chris Simcox: I want to correct you that there are people on the border that are helping those ranchers. It's not Senator McCain; it's the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps volunteers that are there helping those ranchers.

 

Chris Burgard: And what are the statistics that border patrols put out where you guys have done your operations? How much has drug traffic gone down?

 

Chris Simcox: According to the figures that we're seeing, they're touting the success of the border fence and the addition of border patrol agents that have been equaling to a whopping 10 to 12% decrease in the 1.3 million they caught last year. It's not satisfactory.

 

Chris Burgard: Well, I've talked to a lot of border patrol agents who said where Chris's people have been doing organizations, drug traffic has dropped 20 to 25%.

 

Unidentified Audience Participant: What are the politics of immigration? You take a strong stance. You go across the nation. How does it play?

 

Tom Tancredo: Well, if you look at what happened, the best way, I think, to address that – and the question is the politics of the issue, and I'm always confronted by people who say to me, "We really can't push this. We can't be out front on this, especially Republicans; we'll lose all the Hispanic vote."

 

Fascinating thing happened in Arizona, and we should really look at it very carefully. They passed the most significant, the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws on the books of any state in the nation.

 

A Democrat governor signs it, signs the bill. This is a state with a huge Hispanic population, right? Forty-seven percent (47%) of Hispanics voted for it.

 

We see a similar bill being passed in Oklahoma, and of course, local communities, hundreds of local communities have passed these bills, oftentimes with significant support from the local population.

 

I believe it's a winning issue. If you can pass something like that in Arizona, what makes us think we would do any worse in any other state if it's presented correctly? And, certainly, we'd have to fight for that – we have to make sure that the debate that surrounds the campaign is the correct debate, and we can't get trapped into any sort of debate about racist activities and all that. That's what they use to distract from the point – from the actual issue itself.

 

But I think we can win this. I believe it is a good issue to run on, but again, remember, like almost everything else, you have to follow the money trail if you want to find out why something that is very logical is not happening. And I'm telling you, when you have huge corporations, as well as tons and thousands and thousands of smaller businesses that thrive as a result of their ability to hire people who are here illegally and exploit them, those businesses have a very powerful influence in the Congress of the United States.

 

And the Democrats, on the other hand, know very well that the people coming into this country, both legally and illegally, will eventually end up in their ranks.

 

And so that's the politics of it there. You're fighting these two big problems in the Congressional level – Republicans who want the cheap labor, Democrats who want the votes -and most people in this country want something done.

 

Unidentified Speaker: My experience with Senator McCain on a federal level, one of his pollsters told me that they think the Hispanic vote is going to be the deciding vote in this presidential election, and what I see over and over at the federal level is they seem to think that border security means they're going to lose Latino votes. But yet what we've experienced, you live down on the border, it doesn't matter what color your skin color is – Latino people, Anglo people, they're all looking for help and they're missing it at the federal level, and they don't get that.

 

Chris Simcox: I just want to make one fast point. This isn't about Latinos. As an agent, a lot of the people I arrested were not Latino.

 

I spent years where I didn't arrest a single person from Latin America. I was the Marine Intelligence Officer. I was arresting predominantly people from Europe and Greece. So when people say this is about racism, no, it's about the law.

 

And one final point that I didn't make. I call that amnesty bill the "terrorist assistance and facilitation act." People tell me I need to be assertive about my speaking. It would've required 100,000 aliens per day to be given official identity documents, and if there's an amnesty, anything done on the local level will become meaningless because everybody will have a green card, and there we go again, off to the races. So it's really important.

 

Unidentified Audience Participant: I am an employer in Arizona, and I'm familiar with that law. It's very draconian towards employers, but I can tell you that it works. And my understanding is that there's a law in the house that basically says the same thing, that if you do not use the Social Security E-Verification System, which is very effective, that if you don't use that, you will not be able to deduct that employee from your taxes.

 

Tom Tancredo: Yeah, you're right. And there's another bill that is fascinating. When we talk about the politics, I should've thought about the Heath Shuler bill. This is a Democrat from North Carolina who has written a great piece of legislation. There are 178 co-sponsors. There are at least 150 people who have signed on to what's called a discharge petition to force it out of the committee and onto the floor, and many of them are Democrats, and it's a great piece of legislation.

 

The Save Act is what it's referred to as. Heath Shuler, football guy, and he was the author.

 

Chris Simcox: You can go to MinutemanHQ.com.

 

Tom Tancredo: Well, among other things, it replicates that Arizona bill, and it requires the use of the Social Security, the E-Verify system. It's great.

 

And my point is a Democrat introduces it. Democrats support it. But, of course, the leadership of the Democratic Party won't let it on the floor.

 

If we get this out on the floor, we'd have the votes to pass it.

 

Unidentified Speaker: Oklahoma and Arizona's passed that law. Since, in six months, our unemployment has gone down a full percent.

 

Tom Tancredo: We had a group come into my office two weeks ago. They're called the Karen. It's a tribe that is being resettled in the United States. They're from Burma or Myanmar. There are 400 that have been brought in to Denver, but they're put into an urban setting that they're not comfortable in. They're right here from the jungles of Burma. They have been given jobs up in the casinos, but they have two hours' driving, trying to get up and back, and they're very unhappy.

 

They read about the fact that there were potatoes going undug in Colorado. We couldn't get them out of the ground because there are so few illegal aliens now because Colorado has a law like this, right? They read about this in the paper. So they go down there to the San Luis Valley "We're here. This is a better situation. We'd rather be in an agricultural community and get out of the setting we're in, and you need help, and we're willing to dig potatoes."

 

And the community held a meeting and said, "Get out of here. We don't want you here." Two reasons, number one, they don't speak the language. Do you know what language they're talking about?

 

Spanish. And number two, the mayor said, "If you do this, if we allow these people to come in here and do this, then the politicians – paren Tom Tancredo – will say that the problem is solved. So we don't want you here.

 

Unidentified Audience Participant: I'm puzzled why organized labor is not an ally in dealing with the illegal immigration problem. Unless they suspend the laws of supply and demand, it seems to me that illegal immigration is going to hold down the wages of legals in this country.

 

Michael Cutler: Yes, I agree with you. In fact, the meat packing industry in Nebraska used to pay 19 bucks an hour 10 years ago. Now, it pays $9 an hour. And when I testified before the Maryland state legislature about the issue of driver's licenses for illegal aliens, there were lawyers there representing the illegal aliens. Guess who paid for the high-priced spread? AFL-CIO.

 

Look, my dad was a construction worker, and what this has done to the building trades.

 

And the one final thought that I want to say – as a New Yorker, I had a ringside seat to 9/11 – and this is something we need to remember. We had the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. The towers almost came down sideways.

 

I had friends working in the bomb crater, as they called it, the crater, the pit. And if the bomb had been a little bit bigger or they had planted or on the other side of the wall, they might well have taken one tower and collided it into the other, and the buildings in lower Manhattan would've fallen like dominoes. You would've had hundreds of thousands of dead bodies.

 

The Clinton administration response was zero. They went after him over the deal with Monica. What he did was terrible, but goodness gracious. Immigration has corrupted our government. If you look at ABSCAM, that was about immigration. If you look at Jack Abramoff, he got his start lobbying for more H1B visas for people in the computer industry.

 

If you look at the way that this all plays out, this is all about providing cheap, exploitable labor one way or the other at any cost, and generally, the cost is borne by the American citizens.

 

On 9/11, the ashes from that conflagration at Ground Zero landed on my home, and among those ashes were my neighbors, okay? And the morning after, I saw a terrible photograph that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a picture of St. Vincent's Hospital in Lower Manhattan, the ambulance bay, with all the doctors, all the nurses, the trauma teams in scrubs waiting for the victims that never showed up.

 

And what got me was my first wife had died of breast cancer at that hospital. That was when I told my wife – I'm remarried – I said, "I need to get my voice heard. I have arrested terrorists in my career. I think I have a message that needs to be out there."

 

Tom immediately had contacted me before I even made that decision and asked me to come down to Washington because in 1997, I did my first congressional hearing, so people knew who I was. I testified about, ironically enough, immigration benefit fraud and visa fraud in response to two things that had happened – the shoot-up of the CIA in February of '93 by Mir Aimal Kasi, who had gotten political asylum through fraud, and then the first attack on the World Trade Center.

 

Insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different outcome. We have no secure borders. We have an immigration system that rewards people for committing fraud. There's been GAO after GAO report talking about benefit fraud. It's not glamorous. I had a hard-sell with Lou Dobbs on this issue. I've been on Lou's show about 70 times. He talks about broken borders, and I kept saying, "Lou, it's the whole system."

 

Immigration is a rowboat with a bunch of holes in it. Just leave one hole open, and that boat is going to sink. We need to see immigration as a system. We need more agents for the border, more agents for the interior. We need integrity for the system.

 

And I've got to tell you, I am thrilled that you folks are here obviously showing great interest in this issue.

 

Chris Burgard: Thank you so much for having this us morning. God bless you.




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