The U.S. government could have and should have appealed a decision by an immigration judge to set free two men who admitted to being part of a Turkish terror organization, according to former immigration official Michael Cutler, who appeared Thursday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson previously told Congress that officials apprehended four men as they crossed into the United States at the southern border on Sept. 3. The men said they were members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front. Johnson said the men would be deported
But on Tuesday, Johnson told the Homeland Security Committee that the men were released and, while he would have preferred they remained in U.S. custody, he had no choice but to release them per the judge’s ruling. They fled to Canada where they are seeking asylum.
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"They had them in custody," Cutler, a former special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), said. "If the U.S. attorneys were going to prosecute them for unlawful entry and they could have, then they would have made the proper move to get them indicted and take them into custody for purposes of prosecution.
"Apparently, an immigration judge was the worst they faced and they were set for a hearing for exclusion," he said.
"For whatever reason, the judge allowed them to continue on their merry way, which makes no sense.
"And then you have to wonder if they were known terrorists, why the no-fly list didn't prevent them from apparently taking an airplane to get them up to Canada or presuming that's how they got there."
Cutler questioned why no appeal was filed by the U.S. government to halt the men’s release.
"There is an appeals process that could have been invoked by the administration," he said. "So if you don't get the ruling you want, why not appeal the judge's decision as being reckless or contrary to national security? Wouldn't you think that that would be a reasonable course of action?"
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Cutler also questioned why elected officials are not raising the issue of national security when discussing the president’s executive immigration order, which will grant legal status to an estimated five million people.
"Clearly we're at risk," he said. "The news today was about an American teacher
who was killed in the Middle East and about an American who's been taken hostage by al-Qaida. Clearly we're still at war with people who want to seek our destruction. They want to come here and kill us.
"Why in the world are we not hearing anything about the implications of what the president wants to do with national security? Process five million and what if it turns into 10 or 15 million?
"We don't know what the numbers are and provide everybody with an identity document without a face-to-face interview and without a background investigation," he said.
"I have to make the connection, (Sen.) Chuck Schumer, one of the biggest proponents for this massive disaster, just made a statement that anybody who trespasses on New York landmark should be facing five years in jail to deter trespassing.
"Why doesn't he take that same principle and apply it to people who trespass on America?"
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