Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is "really is igniting a firestorm that's a long time coming" with his controversial comments about illegal immigrants, retired INS special agent Michael Cutler told Newsmax TV
"Our immigration laws are fundamental," he told "The Hard Line" host Ed Berliner. "They are essential to national security, public safety — and that's what the laws deal with.
"It's about keeping foreign nationals who have no inherent right to enter the United States out of our country," Cutler added. "We do this as civilians, as ordinary citizens — and we look through the peephole before letting strangers into our homes."
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Cutler, who spent 30 years with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said that the nation's laws have long hampered enforcement efforts regarding illegals.
"It's been going on for decades and it's about greed," he told Berliner. "It's about cheap labor. It's about the desire for huge numbers of foreign tourists who come to America — spend their money — it's about foreign students. We have over 1.1 million foreign students in the United States.
"The problem is laws mean nothing if we don't enforce them — and the emphasis on the Mexican border has ignored an even more serious problem: that's the problem of not enforcing our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States," Cutler said.
He slammed San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who accused Trump of taking advantage of last week's fatal shooting of Kate Steinle, 32, by an illegal immigrant to push his policies.
The immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, was arraigned Tuesday on charges stemming from the shooting. He has seven felony convictions and was deported to Mexico five times. He last lived in Texas.
San Francisco sheriff's authorities refused to deport Lopez-Sanchez in March, citing the city's "sanctuary" status for immigrants. The released him from jail the next month.
"Where's the chronology?" Cutler asked. "Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Who spoke first? What happened first? It was Trump who spoke about illegal immigration, and then we had that terrible murder."
He called the policy "dangerous at its core. It flies in the face of common sense.
"This is about harboring people whose true identities and backgrounds are unknown and unknowable," Cutler said. "Shouldn't public safety trump everything else?"
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