Current immigration laws would allow former British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, suspected of beheading American journalist James Foley, to enter the United States with a visa waiver, said Michael Cutler, former Immigration and Naturalization Service agent.
The visa waiver program is being pushed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Cutler told Newsmax TV's
"America's Forum" on Monday.
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Bary is a former British hip-hop artist
thought to be aligned with the Islamic State. Officials suspect he is the masked man in the video that graphically showed Foley being decapitated.
After Foley's death, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey held a news conference on Friday with Secretary of State Chuck Hagel warning about the need to launch a greater military effort against ISIS.
Dempsey indicated during the press briefing that attacks on Syria
were needed to defeat the ISIS threat, but on Monday Fox News reported that he was not recommending the United States strike Syria until he was able to determine if the terrorist group posed a direct threat
to the United States.
Cutler suggested President Barack Obama might have suggested that Dempsey change his message about attacking Syria.
"That's the only thing that would make sense. Look, it's always been about the spin. It's always been about the narrative. But, if we don't get it right, there will be consequences," Cutler said.
Lax immigration laws enabled people to enter the United States in a number of ways, Cutler said, and the Obama administration and lawmakers were "doing nothing to make certain that the system has integrity."
Cutler said people could enter the country by "stowing away on ships," as well as through the "ever-expanding visa waiver program, coming as a student, coming as a businessman, coming as a tourist."
Failure to protect U.S. borders "enabled America to be attacked twice in 1993, and then on 9/11," Cutler said, adding that "immigration is key" in protecting the country from terrorists. He maintained that current policies have "done nothing if not made it worse."
"What in the world does it take to get the administration to get the politicians from both sides of the aisle to really focus on immigration as a major factor in national security?" he asked.
Cutler said Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry
"still doesn't get it" on national security and immigration when he warned Thursday that ISIS terrorists could already be in the United States.
"He still talks about implementing a massive amnesty program for millions of illegal aliens. They called them undocumented, but they're uninspected," Cutler said. "Undocumented is frightening enough as it is. Undocumented means they don't have or don't want you to see their official identity documents."
Cutler said the United States doesn't have "enough [border] agents on board," and explained that "more than half are doing customs work."
With 40,000 police officers in New York City, he said the federal government "should have an equal number" of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
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