BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Michelle Malkin, author of "Invasion," you say in your book that the Immigration and Naturalization Service has a "core culture of corruption."
MICHELLE MALKIN (Author, "Invasion"): Absolutely. And in many cases, that isn`t even my words. There are many former and current INS officials who acknowledge that there is a culture of corruption. "A climate of abuse" is the phrase that Doris Meissner, who was INS chief under Clinton-Gore administration, has used. And she even pointed out, as several former high-level INS officials have, that this climate of abuse is unique among government agencies. And there`s a problem there that is not nearly as rampant as any other law enforcement agency. You have an agency that`s supposed to be enforcing immigration laws, but in so many instances, from top to bottom, rather than enforce those laws, people either ignore them or are breaking them for their own personal profit or gain.
LAMB: Give us an example.
MALKIN: Sure. I talk about a Clinton-Gore administration official, Bob Bratt, who was a long-time Justice Department veteran, who, ironically enough, was appointed by Janet Reno to clean up the Citizenship USA scandal under Clinton-Gore. And that has been well documented over the years. In 1996, before the November `96 election, there was a huge push to naturalize new American citizens. And many procedural safeguards were trampled over in the rush to do that. In fact, at least 6,300 criminal aliens, convicted of felonies, were granted this precious birthright of American citizenship in that rush to essentially beef up the Democrat voter rolls.
Well, after that scandal, after a huge internal investigation, the Justice Department and Reno appointed this guy, Bob Bratt, to clean up. But he was busy doing other things, and one of the things he was doing was traveling over to Moscow, as this high-level official, and hooking up with a Russian matchmaker, who found him two nice young women, one of whom he engaged in a sexual relationship, and then later tried to get visas to bring them over to this country.
LAMB: How do you know this?
MALKIN: This is all documented. There was an internal investigation of this, as well, by the inspector general`s office under the Justice Department. "The Washington Post" did extensive reporting on it, as well, and one of the brave whistleblowers, Martin Anderson, who helped expose this, you know, pretty much well documented a lot of the facts of the case. The inspector general`s report is available on the Internet, and I have the Internet address in the footnotes of my book, so anybody can look it up, look at the narrative and look at what they concluded.
And what they concluded was that by engaging in this relationship with these women and trying to fake visa applications to bring the women over, Bob Bratt and an underling who helped him try to, you know, engage in this scheme, essentially undermined our national security because they were meeting the women in hotels. He was essentially divulging sensitive information, putting himself at risk for blackmail in Moscow.
And then the punch line, of course, is nothing ever happened to Bob Bratt, who, again, had been appointed to clean up corruption but then engaged in this scheme that, again, the inspector general concluded undermined national security. He was allowed to retire. So was his underling. And we are paying their taxpayer-subsidized government pensions today.
This is an extraordinary case, but it is all too typical of that culture of corruption at INS.
LAMB: Why did you write your book?
MALKIN: Why did I write my book? Well, September 11 was obviously a galvanizing event for me, seeing the lapses in our immigration system that allowed the September 11 hijackers to come in, exploit our weak enforcement, work underground and live here comfortably. And that is a theme that I`ve been talking a lot about over my career in journalism, for more than a decade. I started out in Los Angeles, and it`s hard to ignore the negative consequences of lax immigration enforcement when you`re in the middle of it in Los Angeles. So over the years, you know, I`ve written a number of stories about so many aspects of the immigration system from top to bottom -- the front door, the back door, the side door.
And then there`s a personal aspect of it, too. I often talk about how I myself am the child of legal immigrants who came here from the Philippines. And one of the themes that I`ve always talked about is something that they`ve reminded me of almost every day since I was old enough to understand it, which is that entry into this country and residence in this country, and ultimately, citizenship in this country is an absolute privilege, and it ought not to be treated as some sort of natural right or entitlement. But over the years, our immigration system has abandoned that principle. And that`s how we find ourselves with so many problems that we`re dealing today.
That`s how al Qaeda operatives over the past decade, nearly 50 of them -- and I document it in my book -- have been able to, you know, entrench themselves in the American mainstream, come here as temporary tourists and then overstay without consequences, come across the borders, not get caught, and even if they do get caught, oftentimes are let free, despite the INS and the State Department knowing that there are suspected or known terrorists living among us and doing God knows what kind of business!
LAMB: A couple of weeks ago, when Washington was going through the sniper incident, you pointed out something early in the discussion, before they were caught, that nobody else did -- and I saw your name constantly in all the columns -- about this young Malvo kid, 17-year-old who was the accomplice in this thing, or at least accused to be. When did you first get an instinct that this may not be a white male that was doing all this?
MALKIN: That was -- it was October 11 that I came out with a column disputing the "angry white male" theory which had been propounded at length and ad nauseam in the media. And if you just look at -- even at the past couple of weeks, when that first broke, there were a number of stories that suggested that perhaps it was a non-white and that perhaps it was a Muslim extremist because there were many stories about black Muslim extremist converts in this country who were engaged in target practice and gathering weapons and also Lebanese nationals.
One guy, Statiyeh -- if I`m pronouncing that correctly -- in Oregon, who was connected to a suspected al Qaeda cell, also guilty of some immigration violations there, by the way, which is, you know, more along the lines of the book -- but you know, I just put it out there as a counter-theory, and you know, people kind of looked at -- I mean, I got so many e-mails calling me a racist, when all I was saying was we ought to be open to the possibility -- and of course, that possibility was seen to be correct, so...
LAMB: But also, the fact that he was from Jamaica you wrote about early.
MALKIN: Yes. That`s right. And it turns out -- and I broke a little story about it recently -- that Lee Malvo was an illegal alien from Jamaica. And according to INS documents that I obtained, he came here from Jamaica through Haiti and then on to some sort of cargo ship with his mother, who was also an illegal alien, and off-loaded in Miami somewhere, some authorized port. This underscores a great theme of the book, which is our continued vulnerability at our borders. I mean, we have thousands of miles of unguarded coastline, let alone land borders, where nobody has any control over who`s coming into this country.
At a time, in a post-September 11 environment, when more than ever, we need to know and screen who`s coming into this country, Lee Malvo and his mother were able to jump off a ship. The first thing that we did, embrace them with warm welcome arms. The mother got a job at a local restaurant in Fort Myers, Florida, and Lee Malvo was able to enroll in the local public school system.
LAMB: Let me read you a sentence you wrote. "For intransigent university pimps, homeland defense remains a nuisance, not a duty." "For intransigent" -- can`t even say that -- "university pimps" -- who are you talking about?
MALKIN: I`m talking about the higher education lobby, which for decades has been at the forefront of undermining a comprehensive tracking data base for foreign student visa holders. And our government has known for many, many years that this is a huge problem, that we allow hundreds of thousands of foreign students to come into this country, and we have absolutely no way of tracking, first of all, whether or not they`re actually enrolling in the schools they say they`re enrolling in, that they`re studying what they are supposed to be studying, and that they`re leaving when they`re supposed to leave.
And the alarm bells about this go back to 1979, during the Iranian hostage crisis. Some bright bureaucrat in government said, Oh, gosh, you know, we`ve got this huge situation in Iran. Maybe we should find out what all the foreign students we`ve admitted from Iran are doing in our country now. And during the entire 444-day crisis that year, we couldn`t find them. And to this day, we cannot do that!
Nineteen ninety-three comes along, the World Trade Center -- the first World Trade Center conspiracy, and we find out -- we discover that Eyad Ismoil, one of the conspirators, was a foreign student visa holder who simply dropped out of the school that, you know, sponsored him to come into this country. And Congress says, We really ought to get a handle on this problem. So by 1996, there had been a law passed to get the system in place.
And there`s a bunch of acronyms, and I have them all in the book if people are interested in knowing what they stand for. But the system at the time was called CIPRIS. Again, it was just, like, a basic tracking mechanism. And it was passed into law. So we were supposed to have this in place, you know, within a matter of a couple of years. But those university pimps that I talk about, the higher education lobby, worked very hard with some willing members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, to sabotage that system. They complained about the administrative burden. They brought all of these foreign students to talk about what an invasion of privacy it was to put this simple information about, you know, where they are and how many years they were here and when they graduated. So it was iced.
September 11, 2001, comes along, and we find out that Hani Hanjour is a student visa holder who should have enrolled in an English language school in Oakland.
LAMB: Who was he?
MALKIN: Hani Hanjour is one of the September -- key September 11 hijackers, got his visa in Saudi Arabia. But again, like Eyad Ismoil, like so many unknown possible terrorists who are out there who came in here on student visas, we had no idea he who he was until he, you know, flew that plane into a building on September 11, 2001. So again, there`s this resurgence in congressman. Oh, we really, really should get that tracking system in place. This time, those university pimps go along with it, say they understand that this is a -- we live in a different time. They set a deadline of January, 2003, to have the system in place. Well, just a few months ago, we hear from the INS and the inspector general`s office of the Justice Department that that deadline will still not be met.
MALKIN: Again, all of these same reasons that -- we`ve got huge lobbies that put profits over national security, despite the death toll of people who have died as a -- what I think is a direct result of lax immigration enforcement on the part of our federal government. And there`s just a huge paralysis to get these things moving. It`s not a matter of a lack of technology, certainly. You know, we live in the most technologically advanced country in the world, and I point out, for example, that our federal government is able to efficiently run a huge data base on American citizens, in terms of gun registration.
So certainly, it`s not a technological problem. It is a political problem. And the bureaucracy inertia and these lobbies that are incredibly powerful have continued to endanger the American public. There is no reason why that tracking system shouldn`t be up and working and comprehensive and mandatory by the deadline that they set.
LAMB: You say -- a couple figures I want to ask you about. One, that there are 600,000 foreign students but a million foreign student visas that have been issued to people who are still here?
MALKIN: Yes. Correct.
LAMB: What`s the difference in that figure? What happened to the 400,000?
MALKIN: Oh, we don`t know where they are.
LAMB: We have no idea where they are.
MALKIN: No. And that is -- again, that just -- that shows you that -- the urgent need to get this thing -- this tracking system up in running and in place.
LAMB: You also point out that the university business gets $12 billion out of the foreign student -- do the foreign students pay their own way, or do they get scholarship money over here?
MALKIN: That`s possible. I didn`t really look into that specifically. But in a lot of cases, foreign governments kick in a little bit. But I mean, we are talking about a number -- or most of them are wealthy students who can pay their own way. And that is why it is such a huge cash cow.
The other part of it, of course, is that a lot of these foreign students offer cheap teaching labor for the universities, and they are reluctant to give that source of cheap labor up.
LAMB: How many illegal aliens do we have in the United States?
MALKIN: There`s always a number of estimates flying around, and I use the range of 9 million to 11 million, and I footnote it in the book to give sources of where those various estimates come from. But again, I mean, we really don`t know, and it`s possible that even the high figure that I quote is a low-ball figure.
LAMB: How many kinds of visas can someone get?
MALKIN: There is a Heinz 57 variety of visa programs that I talk about. And what`s important here is that a number of these visa and green card programs are incredibly vulnerable to exploitation by terrorists, al Qaeda terrorists. And one of the visa programs I talk about, which is very relevant these days, is the diversity visa lottery. This is administered by the State Department, and it is exactly what it sounds like, a random giveaway of green cards to people from around the world.
And the whole idea of this program, which was the brainchild of Teddy Kennedy, was to give people who were coming from countries that are low-immigration-rate countries a leg up, essentially an Affirmative Action program for low-immigrating nations. And his specific interest, Kennedy`s specific interest, was to help illegal Irish immigrants because illegal aliens, not just people who are applying legally, are eligible for the program.
So Kennedy pushed it through, and President Bush the first signed it into law. And over the years, first of all, Irish immigrants are often not eligible for it because they come out with this, you know, convoluted calculation every year about who`s eligible. But it`s morphed into this diversity program for many people who come from terrorist-sponsoring nations. And I talk about some of the people who have benefited from it, like Heshem Hadayet, who was the Los Angeles International Airport gunman who killed two people on July 4, 2002. Should have never been in this country. He had overstayed a temporary tourist visa.
Again, that`s that typical problem of overstaying a visa and having no consequences and no tracking system to alert immigration officials when people do. He had applied for asylum and had been rejected. And after the book came out, "The New York Times" later reported that his asylum application was actually considered, even though the INS knew of alleged terrorist ties that he had had in his homeland in Egypt. So there`s another huge loophole, the asylum loophole, which I talk about in my book.
But to get to the diversity visa lottery, his wife applied, you know, put in her application, and just like at the 7-Eleven, her number came up on the lotto! And so not only did she win a green card, but her husband got one and all of her kids got green cards. And he was actually on his way to American citizenship when the murders at LAX occurred.
LAMB: How does the visa work where you invest a certain amount of money in this country and you get a quick visa?
MALKIN: Right. These investor visa programs I think are just totally mind-boggling to me, that -- again, that we would put something so precious as entry into this country up for sale. And I talk about many investor visa programs -- "E" programs -- they fall under the "E" visa category -- that allow, for example, wealthy Middle Easterners, businessmen, to put up a down payment, you know, on a business in this country and then buy their way over here. And oftentimes, they can take their employees, their immediate relatives, bring the whole family and business over here.
And they`re incredibly fraud-ridden, and it`s a really under-scrutinized problem because, you know, there`s supposed to be some national interest in these programs. American businesses are supposed to benefit somehow, with seed money from these foreign investors. But a lot of cases that are huge scams because there are middlemen, many of them often former INS officials involved in skimming money from the schemes, lowering the amount that`s actually paid down to get into this country.
And I think that, again, this is a national security risk because, you know, we know of a lot of deep-pocketed Osama bin Laden-connected operatives who could take advantage of it. I mean, it`s a little convoluted in the application form, but again, you know, my argument of the book is, I mean, why make it as easy as possible for these foreign menaces to get into the country?
And I think what we really need to do is systematically scrutinize each and every one of these visa programs, from the investor program to religious visa programs to the student visa program to this diversity visa lottery, which I think is absolutely absurd, and say, How does this serve the national interest? And are we doing everything possible to prevent fraud and prevent dangerous people from exploiting the programs?
LAMB: How many visas a year do we give out, as a country?
MALKIN: Oh, boy. I can`t remember the exact figure, but it`s in the millions. And of course, there are different kinds. There`s the temporary visas, and we`re talking there about student visas, tourist visas, business visas, and then green cards for legal permanent residents.
LAMB: What`s the H-1B visa, the high-tech ticket?
MALKIN: The H-1B visa program was set up to help many American companies bring over temporary -- temporary was the word -- high-tech workers because, it was claimed, there weren`t enough American workers who were equipped or sophisticated or educated enough to fill these jobs. And over the years, there`ve been a number of immigration reform groups who have pointed to the faulty economic underpinnings of this group, but my new twist on mentioning this program is I discovered a data base that was run by a software programmer in Arizona, whose name was Rob Sanchez.
And he did what the media ought to be doing, which is he put in a public disclosure request, a FOIA request, to the Labor Department, which keeps on file applications for H-1B visa slots. And it`s a huge data base, and what it does is it shows the application, who`s applying for it, what the position is, even as detailed information about the salary level that`s given.
And the interesting thing that Rob Sanchez, the programmer, found was that there were a number of Muslim charities who have ties to terrorism who were applying for H-1B visas for their workers. And these charities include, if I correctly recall, places like the Global Relief Foundation, the Benevolence Foundation, and after September 11, the Bush administration immediately froze the assets of these groups because they were so worried that they were tied to terrorism.
Now, my question is, where are these H-1B workers that were applied for in these Muslim charities? And what are they doing now? And as far as I know, there is no investigation of that. But again, it just shows the kind of loophole. I mean, here is this program that was supposed to benefit, you know, these American companies by bringing foreign workers over here temporarily, but in many cases, it`s not temporary because they just overstay.
And then again, it`s not even high-tech workers oftentimes who benefit. As I point out in the book, in the section on this, models have benefited from it, sports figures, entertainers and support staff for entertainers. So I think this is a program that`s kind of spun out of control, and in a post-September 11 environment, especially, it needs scrutiny. Do we need it now economically? And are all those loopholes being closed?
LAMB: Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman -- religious visa. How did he get here, in the first place? Who is he?
MALKIN: He was the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspiracy, and also that year, there was a conspiracy to bomb New York landmarks, and he was involved in both schemes. And his is a very convoluted case. I think it`s a case of both the State Department and the INS falling down on the job because at the State Department level, they knew this was somebody who had engaged in a lot of anti-American activity abroad, anti-American rallying in his homeland, from Egypt, and organizing. And yet somehow, he was able to get visas frequently to come back and forth into the country, traveling back and forth.
He was a Muslim cleric. He got a religious visa, "R" visa. And then once he was here, he even applied for asylum. And there were different INS district offices, apparently, that were monitoring him. And one INS office, I believe, had rejected his application, and then another one went on to accept it. And eventually, I believe, this guy got American citizenship. And of course, he was implicated in both plots, convicted.
And of course, the disturbing thing is that even after obtaining American citizenship, it hasn`t been stripped yet. And that`s another concern I talk about in the book, is you have so many convicted al Qaeda operatives who are working to destroy the American dream, and yet retain their American citizenship.
LAMB: You said that your parents became citizens in `89. When did they come to the United States?
MALKIN: In 1970.
LAMB: Why did they come here?
MALKIN: To pursue a better life. My dad is a doctor. My mom is a school teacher. And they`ve always treasured freedom. They`ve always wanted to live the American dream. And they left 1970, right before Ferdinand Marcos became dictator. So there was definitely the impetus there. They`re, you know, the archetypal people yearning to breathe free.
LAMB: Were they political in the Philippines?
MALKIN: No. No. No, they weren`t.
LAMB: So how did they -- what kind of a visa did they get to come here?
MALKIN: My dad came on a -- he was -- like I said, he was a doctor, so he was training here and had an employer sponsor and then, you know, went on their way, like most people do who have green cards, and then eventual American citizenship.
LAMB: Where did you live? I mean, where were you born?
MALKIN: I was born in Philadelphia. And that`s where my dad first did, you know, his training. And I grew up in the tri-state area, mostly in southern New Jersey.
LAMB: And where`d you go to school?
MALKIN: In Absecon, where I grew up. I went to Holy Spirit High School, and I went to Oberlin College after that. I was class of `92. And then after that came to D.C. and started in my journalism career.
LAMB: Can you remember when you first got interested in being a journalist?
MALKIN: Well, I was editor of my high school newspaper, but not really politically energized yet. That happened at Oberlin. And that`s where I first really encountered the vicious response you can get when you stand up to a political orthodoxy. It`s an extremely liberal campus. And even if you tread very lightly on political sacred cows, there was a huge negative response, especially from somebody who was a minority, standing up and saying, Well, all these self-appointed minority groups in campus don`t speak for me.
And I think that`s a theme that I`ve carried throughout my journalism career, and it`s certainly something that`s central to this book because I talk about -- in a section of the book, I talk about hate crime howlers, and these are a number of these ethnic grievance groups and pro-illegal-alien lobbying groups who -- you know, who claim to speak for all minorities and immigrants and their families in this country, with an agenda of keeping our borders as loose and open as possible. And I certainly don`t believe in that, and I know there are so many naturalized Americans and their families who embrace the rule of law, and that includes immigration laws. And we don`t accept that we ought to maintain a state of immigration anarchy in a post-September 11 world.
And somebody needs to stand up to all of those groups and say, No, this is not right. It`s not right, first of all, to invite so many millions of illegal line-jumpers into the country ahead of all the millions of people around the world who are waiting to do it the right way. That`s just a matter of fairness. But also, it`s now, more than ever, a matter of life and death. You cannot have open borders and win a war on terror at the same time. It`s incompatible.
LAMB: Were you controversial at Oberlin because of your stance?
MALKIN: Well, I really just came into being as a political journalist towards the end of my campus experience, and it was really after I had left and come to D.C. and started, you know, writing on my own and -- I mean, it was really more social conservatism than economic conservatism that I started with my column-writing. So no, I would say I was not, you know, a huge lightning rod until the -- you know, the end of my career -- I mean, end of my tenure at Oberlin.
LAMB: But what happened in either your family or in your own life experience that made you a conservative instead of being like the other kids at Oberlin? And were they all liberals at Oberlin, from what you remember?
MALKIN: Mostly. There was my husband, who was a fellow traveler. And there were a few independent-minded liberals there, as well. But for the most part, it was an incredibly politically correct culture.
What was it about my family? Well, my parents were Reagan Republicans but they were not incredibly politically active. I just think that there`s always been an eighth sense of gratitude toward this country and trying to give back to it.
And that`s what I intended with the book is to try and arm people with as much information about what`s wrong because after September 11th, I think there isn`t a person on this planet who doesn`t understand that something is wrong at the INS, but really to understand systemically from top to bottom, from the minute somebody applies for a visa overseas, lands at our ports of entry, either crosses the border illegally and is able to get into the interior and then benefit so much from so many programs that we put up for illegal aliens. The whole gamut of it needs to be understood by people so they can know what to demand from lawmakers to fix it.
LAMB: How much profiteering is there going on?
MALKIN: There`s a huge amount of profiteering and let`s start with the travel and tourism industry because I think they`re under scrutinized. You`ve got airlines and travel industry lobbyists who are so smitten with the idea of ramming as many foreign tourists into the country as possible despite knowing that we have no way of tracking these people to make sure they go back when they`re supposed to go back. And also, despite knowing how overwhelmed our immigration inspectors are at all of our ports of entry, land, sea, and air.
LAMB: Who profits though? Who`s getting money out of getting people into the country besides the legal ways? In other words, you know in your study of the INS people, the customs people at the airports and all that or the way they sell visas, how much of that`s going on?
MALKIN: Oh, I mean there`s - yes, there`s a huge amount of that as well and I only begin to scratch the surface on government officials who themselves have profited from all sorts of scams trying to smuggle people into this country even though they, themselves, are in charge of enforcing smuggling laws.
Immigration inspectors have been paid off by people to either avoid deportation when they`re supposed to be flying on planes back to their home country who pay for green cards, citizenship, so the internal corruption is part of it. But also, like I say, the legal part of it is huge too because, for example, you`ve got travel industry sponsored programs that allow millions of people into this country every year who don`t even have to get visas. I mean here`s...
LAMB: How does that work?
MALKIN: Well, there`s two main programs. One of them is the transit without a visa program, which I talk about in the book which hasn`t been talked about much at all in the mainstream media. And initially, the program was set up in 1952 to benefit World War II era refugees, people who were escaping tyranny who didn`t have any documents anymore and as a matter of compassion we said look you can come and settle here temporarily, transit here without a visa and then go on to, you know, a country of your choice where you want to settle down permanently.
But long after World War II was over this program is still in place and a large part of it was that it`s a huge cash cow for the travel industry because people transit through American hubs who otherwise wouldn`t and then are supposed to go on to final destinations. Now, the condition is that when people fly here, they`re only supposed to stay here temporarily, in some cases a matter of hours, and they`re supposed to stay in secure lounges in our airports but there`s nobody there to make sure that they`re actually staying there.
There`s nobody at INS doing it and the airlines, even though there are supposed to be penalties if people escape, they are rarely ever held accountable for people who come out. And so, again, because millions of people are coming into this country that we`re not able to track, it`s a huge loophole for terrorists.
And, in fact, after the book came out, I obtained a memo from a high level INS official showing how this very program was being used by thousands of Middle Easterners, young, single, male Middle Easterners who were transiting into Los Angeles International Airport`s secure transit without a visa lounge and then disappearing and who was helping them but private security guards at those lounges who were taking bribes to then escort these Middle Eastern transiting visitors right outside the door.
And, according to the memo, over this past spring there was an effort to try and find some of these people and we have still not been able to find them and yet, again, I mean I always come back to and yet nothing has been done to shore up this program, to freeze it temporarily, and to make sure that the lounges are being securely guarded.
LAMB: Why is this happening? Who do you blame?
MALKIN: Well, in large part I do blame things like the Travel Industry Association, which has balked at every step to crack down on this program.
LAMB: And who lets them then do it?
MALKIN: Well, Congress obviously.
LAMB: And why would Congress be lax in this area?
MALKIN: Well, you know, it may be all of the huge donations that the travel industry puts in their pockets.
LAMB: Is one party better than the other?
MALKIN: No. No and again that is a huge theme of this book is because I take a pretty brutal pen to both parties and not just with regard to the travel industry but also with regard to political pandering in order to keep our borders as loose and lax as possible. The Democrats - we talked about the Citizenship USA Program where the Democrat Party was essentially trying to beef up its voting rolls by loosening safeguards for citizenship.
And, in my opinion, I expect that but to see the Republicans' adherence supposedly of the rule of law trying to out-pander the Democrats now and who are now, many Republican Party leaders championing things like amnesty for illegal aliens, I just find that totally mind boggling.
LAMB: Are there votes in all this?
MALKIN: Well, yes of course there are. You know you amnestied millions of illegal aliens who then find their way onto American citizenship.
LAMB: Any evidence that this has happened in the past that people are actually voting for one of these parties because of these deals?
MALKIN: Oh, well you know that`s a funny thing because all the evidence shows is that it almost invariably benefits Democrats and so it`s incredibly stupid for the Republicans to think that they`re going to benefit in any way from this, and in fact, it`s my contention that eventually there will be a huge backlash because it`s not only native born Americans and conservatives in the Republican Party who are getting fed up with this kind of sellout of citizenship but also nationalized Americans and their families as well.
And since the book has come out, I`ve heard from so many of them say they don`t understand, for example, why President Bush even after September 11th joined Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle is espousing amnesty for illegal aliens when we know for a fact that these very amnesty programs have been abused by terrorists.
LAMB: The Immigration and Naturalization Service has 32,000 employees according to you?
LAMB: The budget has gone up significantly since 1993 when it was $1.5 billion and in 2003 you say it will be 6.1 billion. What is the Immigration and Naturalization Service?
MALKIN: That is the chief agency that`s in charge of enforcing our immigration laws and we`re talking about the border patrol as well policing all of our ports of entry and then also in charge of granting immigration benefits, everything from asylum to legal permanent residence to the awarding of American citizenship.
LAMB: The budget is tripled in almost ten years. What have they done with the money?
MALKIN: Squandered it and I think that the problem starts at the top. Unless you have somebody who`s a head of the INS, who is committed to enforcing our immigration laws rather than undermining them, all the money in the world, all the reorganization in the world isn`t going to do squat. And, I take a look at our current INS chief in my book, James Ziegler, who was a Bush appointee but also a favorite of both Teddy Kennedy, who has long been known as a pro-illegal alien advocate, and Trent Lott. That was the main connection for James Ziegler.
LAMB: He came out of the Senate?
MALKIN: He is a boyhood friend of Trent Lott and then, you know, the only law enforcement experience James Ziegler ever had was as ceremonial sergeant of arms for the Senate. He essentially guarded the Senate gavel and this has been incredibly demoralizing to all of the rank and file border patrol agents, immigration inspectors, detention and deportation agents whose job it is to enforce a law to have a chief who admitted in his confirmation hearings that he knew nothing about immigration law.
But it`s not only that. The worst problem is of course is he has long been known as an open borders advocate, and after September 11th, he went down to the U.S. and Mexico border, and I talk about this scene in my book, went down to the border. He was in Arizona and he basically announced out loud and in public that he didn`t think it was "either reasonable or practical to enforce our immigration laws and deport people who were here in violation of our laws."
Can you imagine if any other head of a law enforcement agency or department in our government announced that they didn`t think it was practical or reasonable to enforce the laws that they were charged with enforcing?
LAMB: Did he ever have to explain that comment?
MALKIN: No and, you know, I wrote about it even extensively at the time he made the remarks but, again, this is an indication of just how dismal the situation is because it`s not just James Ziegler. I mean there are many INS district officials who also announced out loud and in public that being an illegal alien is not a crime that's punishable or that anybody`s going to do anything about.
And I actually, I think it`s helpful. In the back of my book in one of the appendices, I actually quote the law because we`ve come to this point where people don`t think it`s a crime. I mean when you`ve got a situation where many state governments are giving driver`s licenses to illegal aliens, offering discounted college tuition to illegal aliens, and in many cases voting rights to illegal aliens, there`s a problem and we really have to get back to first principles.
Either we have a rule of law or we don`t, and at least I do have some respect for the open borders advocates out there who call for an outright repeal of these laws. Of course, they`ve mostly gone underground after September 11th, but you know we really need to be honest about this problem.
LAMB: Chapter 4, serial incompetency, Angel Resendiz case. I don`t know how to pronounce it correctly. Why a whole chapter devoted to one man?
MALKIN: Because in so many ways, this case is emblematic of the top down problems at the INS and how it endangers innocent Americans. Angel Resendiz was an illegal alien serial killer from Mexico who was able to come across the borders dozens of times from the time he was a teenager and, I think it`s helpful to include his rap sheet and I did because it`s miles long.
He came into contact with the INS and the border patrol multiple times from the 1970s and committed an escalating number of crimes, everything from theft and trespassing to weapons violations, assault and he would be convicted and then he`d be let go and he`d go back to Mexico and he`d come back in. And by the time the late 1980s and `90s had rolled around again, as I say, he had amassed this incredible record but the borders are meaningless and he would just ride the train up and down.
At some point, he was suspected in at least a half dozen brutal, brutal murders across the south and what happened was local and state law enforcement officers in Texas had put warrants out for his arrest and they asked INS officials could you please put this warrant information in your database? And here`s the lesson about squandering money. We pay for a $65 million database called IDENT that INS has.
MALKIN: I-D-E-N-T, again one of these acronyms but it`s basically a biometric fingerprint database and it`s for recidivist criminal aliens, recidivist meaning they`ve come across the border several, several times and we fingerprint them with their index fingers and we take photographs of them and there`s also a lookout portion of the database so this is where the warrant information is supposed to go, so that if a border patrol agent apprehends someone at the border, puts their name in, looks for the fingerprint and photograph, you know that warrant information should come up right away.
Well, at so many levels, INS investigators, managers, district directors forgot to put the warrant information in the database. I mean here we`ve got this hugely expensive useful tool for protecting the American people and there was neglect because nobody thought to put it in there.
They ignored the request and in many cases afterwards, when this was all exposed and the inspector general came out with a report on it, again that`s available on the Internet and whose address I include, it was discovered that several investigators, lead investigators for the INS didn`t know how to use the system. It was sitting in their desks in their offices and they would just ignore it because they were not technologically savvy themselves. They didn`t have the time to figure it out or the system was broken. It would be either offline or just gathering dust in a corner somewhere.
And, of course, the bloody consequences of this were when two border patrol agents did apprehend Angel Resendiz after he had been released so many times. I believe it was in January, 1998 in Arizona. They looked him up in this IDENT database and nothing came up in terms of a warrant so they let him go, and after letting him go, Resendiz killed six more people.
I mean that to me is direct blood on the hands of the INS and I was just outraged by this case and I think it`s so pertinent today because the INS continues to ask for more money, more technology, more biometric sophisticated equipment and here we have this case that just shows how little the law enforcement culture has penetrated INS. If they were really doing their jobs, they would be using this technology to the greatest extent possible and it was wasted and people died as a result.
LAMB: You point out in your list that he first came August of `76, first reported attempt to enter the United States ended with his arrest by United States Immigration and Naturalization agents at the port of entry in Brownsville, Texas. He was returned to Mexico and today, he`s on death row.
LAMB: But you list 11 murders in your book and you tell the story and I want to read one of them. You say: Mrs. Claudia Benton, 39 years old, and it happened in December of 1998 after he had been let go in January of 1998.
LAMB: "That day Resendiz jumped off a freight train that ran about 100 yards from the Benton`s neighborhood and broke into the Benton home by jimmying open the garage door sometime during the night. Police said Benton fought hard against her attacker. One of her arms was dislocated and she suffered numerous defensive wounds to her hands and face.
Using a butcher knife, Resendiz stabbed her three times in the back with a bronze statue he had found on the family mantel. He then clubbed Benton in the head 19 times. While she lay dying with a fractured skull, he raped her and wrapped her head in a plastic bag. He took off with a banjo, a guitar, a stereo, jewelry, and the family`s jeep." Now, how did you find out, by the way, all the information, the background of this man?
MALKIN: From many different sources, from local newspaper accounts in Texas, for example the "Houston Chronicle" wrote about that case extensively, and mostly from government documents themselves. After Resendiz was caught and after so many weaknesses in the system were exposed, the inspector general came out with a very comprehensive narrative and expose of what happened and they talked about many of these victims and the gruesome details of how Resendiz killed them.
What I did with Claudia Benton and several of the other victims was really try to put a face on the people who were lost. With Claudia Benton, it was a terrible, terrible sad tragedy because she was such a promising researcher. She specialized in pediatric neurology issues and she researched this rare genetic disorder among children called, I believe it`s pronounced Englemann Syndrome. She was making huge breakthroughs in that.
She was also the mother of young twins and a loving wife and, you know, you square the details of how brutal the murder was with the incompetence of the INS and it just, it really makes my blood boil. When I wrote this chapter and when I tell people about it now because nobody, nobody ever paid any consequences at the INS.
There wasn`t a single official who was ever fired for neglecting to put those warrants in the database, and then even after more training on the IDENT system was ordered, the inspector general came back several months later after its initial investigation and found still that many of these IDENT computers were just stacked up in warehouses useless and that many managers were still saying that they had no idea what was in it and that is, I believe, probably true today.
LAMB: Christopher Maier, 21-year-old college junior at the University of Kentucky, later on you write: "Using a 52-pound rock, Resendiz bludgeoned the 6`5" tall Maier to death. Lexington police would later describe Maier as a true hero who did everything within his power to help the young lady he was with and paid the ultimate price for it. While Maier lay hog-tied and dying, choking on his own blood, Resendiz raped his girlfriend and beat her unconscious. Resendiz left her with stab wounds to the neck and a broke eye socket and a jawbone. He covered her with the brush and abandoned her for dead."
LAMB: Is she alive?
MALKIN: She is alive, she was the sole survivor of Resendiz` killing spree.
LAMB: But in the list though you have of him, he`s in the country, sent back, back in the country, let go, voluntarily let go. Here is September 13, 1985 after serving less than six years of a 20-year sentence, paroled and then deported to Mexico from Brownsville December 10, `85.
Less than three months after deportation back in the United States and charged with falsely claiming a United States citizenship in El Reno, Oklahoma. It goes on and on like this. Is there at no point ever somebody that put him away forever?
MALKIN: Well, there were a couple of key figures, and before I get to them though, you mentioned this voluntary policy and that, I think, is really one of the most dangerous policies that we have in place today, voluntary departure. It`s a cost-saving measure. Since we don`t have enough detention space in this country to hold illegal aliens before they go through the deportation process and then ensure that they are actually leaving and stay out when we kick them out, we have voluntary departure. By the way, there are less than 20,000 detention beds under INS jurisdiction to hold - and remember, compare that to the nine to eleven million illegal aliens that we talked about.
So clearly, the system is set up to fail. So, because we don`t spend the money to have these detention facilities in place, we basically say to illegal aliens that come through the system, well you know we`ve looked at your case and we feel like you`re a good candidate for voluntary departure.
In other words, we`ll just trust you on your honor to deport yourself. And, the end result of that is it`s a revolving door and the revolving door is used by people like Angel Resendiz to do the bloody business that he ended up doing and we`ve done nothing to shut that door.
LAMB: Is it Leafie Mason, is that her name?
MALKIN: Leafie Mason.
LAMB: Eighty-seven, was a native of Hughes Spring, Texas. According to police, Resendiz entered her home, which faced the Kansas City Southern Rail Line tracks some 50 yards away through an open window. He picked up an antique flat iron and struck Mason in the head as she slept. She raised her arms in self defense but Resendiz overpowered the elderly woman, knocking her from her bed to the floor and beating her until the handle of the iron broke.
Later, you have the Reverend Norman "Skip" Sirnic and his wife Karen. On Friday, April 30, 1999, the Sirnics went to bed and looked forward to the weekend`s busy church activities. That Sunday was the Reverend Sirnic`s birthday. Their red pickup truck was parked outside the parsonage, located about 50 yards from the Southern Pacific train tracks that crossed the town.
Resendiz broke into the rear of the couple`s home as they slept and grabbed a 12-pound sledgehammer from a garage closet. He struck the Reverend Sirnic twice as he slept killing him instantly. His wife sustained a vicious blow to the face and was raped. I don`t need to go on. The only reason I`m reading them is to give folks listening a flavor of how much of this you put in your book.
MALKIN: Right. I put all of those profiles under the heading Profiles of Grief and that title, of course, comes from "The New York Times" feature that was so popular after September 11th where "The New York Times" and a number of other papers did the same thing to give a human face to the victims of that tragedy, and I just think we need to do the same thing for so many other innocent Americans who have died also as a result of lax immigration enforcement.
LAMB: Is there anything good that we do when it comes to Immigration and Naturalization Service?
MALKIN: Yes. I actually wanted to get back to one of the heroes of that Angel Resendiz case because that helps answer the question. There was an INS intelligence officer, David Estevis who worked for the Del Rio Border Patrol sector and it was too late for many of these victims of course but he was the one who realized that the warrant information had not been properly entered into the IDENT database.
And so on his own, he called many, many of his superiors, both in the south sector but also in D.C. and he kept bugging them and he would come - he came up against a brick wall. People wouldn`t return his calls. They didn`t know what he was talking about. He sent the warrant information, the set of fingerprints of Resendiz to headquarters and after an exhaustive amount of effort, he was finally able to get that information in and it did ultimately help result in Angel Resendiz` arrest and capture and conviction.
There are many, many rank and file immigration sectors and border patrol agents and employees of the INS who are unsung heroes. There are many whistleblowers among them who have risked their jobs and their lives for that matter to expose corruption in the INS and other activity that is endangering American safety and I list a number of those whistleblowers.
And I think yes we do need to highlight the rare number of successes there are there and we need to have more incentives so that those are the kind of people who are rewarded for their patriotic behavior instead of ostracized and punished and demoted, which is often the case of whistleblowers, everyone from Martin Anderson, who I mentioned earlier in the Bob Bratt case, who was shunted to a corner office, to border patrol agents like Mark Hall and Bob Lindemann, who long before September 11th were warning people about the dangers of terrorists coming across the northern border, the lack of resources, the laxity.
And yet, after September when first of all, they said look we are vindicated but second of all, we remain endangered, were punished by the INS. It was unconscionable that the INS would continue to have that kind of same mentality, cover it up, shut them up, when that`s the kind of behavior that`s going to save us in the long run.
LAMB: By the way, how many times a week do you write your column?
MALKIN: I write it twice a week, column for Creators. That`s published in about 100 papers across the country.
LAMB: First book?
MALKIN: This is my first.
LAMB: And what do you think of the whole process?
MALKIN: It took seven months and no sleep and I don`t know when I`m going to do it again.
LAMB: Here`s the cover of the book. Our guest has been Michelle Malkin. It`s called "Invasion." Thank you very much.
MALKIN: Thank you.
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