Federal officials “have given citizenship to terrorists” and are “giving the keys of the kingdom to aliens” without implementing the vetting process required to protect U.S. interests. Those were the comments of former Immigration and Naturalization (INS) agent Michael Cutler on Thursday night during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“But here’s what’s being left out of interior enforcement — it’s not just making arrests. It’s going after immigration fraud,” said Cutler (pictured above left). “We are processing applications for citizenship, giving the keys of the kingdom to aliens without doing the investigations that are necessary to properly vet them. That’s a problem.”
With the national debate raging over the effectiveness of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), President Donald Trump and many Republicans have come to the agency’s defense, while calling for Congress to enact immigration-enforcement fixes and give the agencies the resources they need.
Some Democrats, however, are calling for ICE to be abolished in the wake of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which formerly required separating illegal-immigrant children from their parents at the border.
Cutler, who served for a decade on an interagency drug task force, warned that while necessary, ICE is not as effective at immigration enforcement as it could and should be.
“Goodness, we’ve given citizenship to terrorists — not only [visa] overstays. The Tsarnaev family got political asylum claiming credible fear — ‘We can’t go home.’ They went home as soon as they got asylum. One of the brothers was a naturalized citizen,” Cutler said, referring to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Cutler also noted that the Times-Square car bomber, Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad, was a naturalized citizen.
Former ICE Special Agent Claude Arnold (pictured above, center) said ICE “is essential,” though “not used to their full effectiveness.”
“Both on the left and the right, there has been an ignorance of interior enforcement,” he said.
Arnold, who ran the Homeland Security Investigations field office in Los Angeles, was interviewed by Fox News host Pete Hegseth, who filled in for Laura Ingraham.
“ICE was born out of 9/11, and one of its primary responsibilities is counterterrorism and national security. They have the second-largest presence on the federal joint-terrorism task force of any other federal agency,” Arnold noted.
“They not only investigate immigration crimes related to national-security threats, but they also investigate customs violations related to the same thing … And then, of course, the immigration-enforcement stuff, disrupting and dismantling the organizations that smuggle people, goods into the U.S. and threaten our national security,” Arnold continued. “As long as the border is not secure, the magnet for people to come here is employment.”
But immigration attorney Allen Orr, founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, argued that ICE doesn’t have “a clear mission” and requires intense reorganization amid heightened speculation and liberal outrage.
“Before there was ICE, there was INS. And INS doesn’t exist anymore, and now ICE does exist. And we still protect our borders,” said Orr (pictured above, right). “So this conversation about ‘abolish ICE’ really is a little bit of a political fringe on both ends of the parties.”
Orr said that even libertarians “are also saying, ‘What is ICE’s purpose? What is the purpose of ICE?'”
“So this conversation about ICE really isn’t so much about ICE, but [is] really about this humanitarian problem we have at our border and this blown-out consideration of saying, ‘Oh, ICE isn’t doing enough,'” Orr continued.
Hegseth argued that the answer to the nation’s immigration problems isn’t to abolish ICE, but rather should be to “refine down to the core mission” of ICE “and the fact that we don’t have our arms around who is coming into our country.”
“The president made the point about merit-based immigration. We don’t have that right now,” Hegseth said. “So until we do, wouldn’t we want ICE out there aggressively enforcing our laws?”
During a rally Thursday night in Great Falls, Montana, Trump told his enthusiastic crowd of supporters that “the new platform of the Democratic Party is to abolish ICE.”
“In other words, they want to abolish immigration enforcement entirely. That’s what they want to do. They want everybody coming in,” Trump said. “We will not stand for these vile Democrat smears against our law enforcement.”
As ICE and its agents continue to face intense vilification from the “abolish ICE” crowd, Arnold said that “as the political winds shift, we just adjust. We’re very resilient.”
“Immigration enforcement is a politically charged topic, and they know depending on who’s in the White House, who’s in the Congress, the political winds will change.”