Former INS agent Michael Cutler told Newsmax TV on Wednesday that "it looks like you may have had a cell in operation" that included the suspect in the New York terror attack that killed eight people and injured nearly a dozen others.
Authorities have said that Sayfullo Saipov, 29, of Paterson, N.J., "was a contact point for other people coming into the United States," Cutler told "Newsmax Now" host Bill Tucker in an interview.
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"If that doesn't smell like a terrorist cell, and maybe sleepers, that's a phrase we don't hear anymore."
To be sure, law enforcement must "do surveillance at religious places … but you also need immigration agents active in the community," Cutler said.
"You know the lie about sanctuary cities and how if the police work with immigration people, they won't trust the police.
"Nonsense. They're causing people to not trust immigration.
"We used to be the first line of defense against transnational criminals, international terrorists," Cutler told Tucker.
"The idea is to be in the community so that people will come to you and say, 'You know, there's a guy that I work with,' or, 'There's a guy that lives next door to me — and he's been involved with some stuff, and I'm worried.'
"But you're not going to have that happen if you're not getting these folks to come out of their shadows to talk to immigration agents or other law enforcement."
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