"Governor Cuomo Suspends Participation in Federal Secure Communities Program"

Hi Gang:
I was just contacted by a reporter for a Chinese language newspaper whom I met several weeks ago when I testified before the New York State Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.
This reporter asked me for a quote about the press release that was issued by New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing that New York State would suspend participation in the Federal Secure Communities Program.  I have provided you with a copy of this infuriating press release that serves as the predication for my commentary today.
Here are a couple of links to the websites that explain the “Secure Communities” program:
I have taken issue with much of how DHS has attempted to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and secure our nation’s borders but I am a supporter of Secure Communities.

Let me start out by providing you with my written response to the reporter’s request for a comment about the news release. 
I am perplexed and disappointed about the Governor’s decision.  The Secure Communities Program is designed to help ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to identify aliens who are convicted of committing felonies so that they can be removed from the United States when they complete serving their jail sentences.  With all of the concerns voiced by politicians about how deporting criminal aliens who have no lawful right to remain in the United States would impact the families of these illegal aliens are ignoring the harm done to the victims of the crimes that these aliens have committed and the harm done to the relatives of the victims.
Immigration laws are blind as to race, religion and ethnicity.  They are intended to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence in the United States would be harmful or dangerous to our nation and to our citizens and others who live in the United States.  Furthermore, what is all too often ignored is the basic fact that the most likely victims of the crimes that are perpetrated by transnational criminals, regardless of what country they are from, are those who live in the immigrant communities where these criminals often live and commit their crimes.
I would go so far, in fact, to say that anyone who seeks to block the deportation of aliens who have been convicted of committing felonies or other serious crimes is actually “anti-immigrant!”
Let us remember that American citizens come from every race, religion and ethnicity.  The immigration laws are purely focused on distinguishing people by one fundamental factor, whether they are citizens or aliens.  While the open borders advocates get upset with the term “alien,” in point of fact an alien is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act simply as being “Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.”
I defy anyone to explain how this term or the definition that relates to it is demeaning or humiliating.  The problem that those who seek to ignore the immigration laws understand that the term alien provide clarity.  They understand that the only way that they can win their arguments is to engage in name calling and obfuscating the truth!
There is much money to be made by importing millions of illegal aliens through their exploitation in the workplace, which displaces lawful immigrants and United States citizesns who are finding it increasingly impossible to support themselves and their families.  Furthermore, labor is a commodity and under the rules of classic economics, when you flood the marketplace with a commodity you drive down the worth of that commodity.  This is why those involved in the diamond industry, for example, do everything that they can to only place a relatively small number of new jewelry grade diamonds into circulation each year- to keep the prices of diamonds elevated.
Immigration lawyers seek a a massive influx of aliens.  This provides them with a limitless supply of clients and hence, a guaranteed income!
Advocacy organizations are thrilled to see ever more aliens enter our country to  get the money and political leverage that this provides them.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle want the campaign contributions from the folks I listed above and also seek to garner the votes of the members of the immigrant communities that they hope will vote for them if they convince them that they are helping them- even if, in reality, they are enabling criminals and others whose presence in our country represents a threat to the well being of those immigrants and others. 
A final thought- criminal aliens have two advantages over American criminals.  They can easily flee from the United States when they believe that law enforcement authorities are coming after them and they can threaten to do harm to the family members of members of the immigrant communities if these immigrants dare speak with the police or refuse to aid these criminals.  
Title 8, United States Code section 212 is section of law that enumerates the various categories of aliens who, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, are supposed to be prevented from entering the United States and are supposed to be removed if they are found here:
Please take the time to review the contents of this section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Among the categories of aliens who are supposed to be kept out of the United States are aliens with dangerous communicable diseases, aliens who suffer serious mental illness and are prone to violence, aliens who are convicted felons, aliens who fugitives from justice in other countries, aliens who are human traffickers and drug smugglers, aliens who are war criminals and aliens who have committed human rights violations.  Also aliens who are engaged in terrorism and espionage are among those who are, by law, supposed to be prevented from entering our country and are supposed to be removed if they manage to evade the Border Patrol and enter the United States.
At present it is estimated, by the administration, that more than 250 American cities are infested by members of the Mexican drug cartels.  Still more cities are infested by other transnational gangs from Latin America, Russia, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the world!  Why on earth would politicians who are supposed to look out for the best interests of our nation and our citizens so willing to ignore the immigration laws that, especially now, as we wage a “War on Terror” and a “War on Drugs” opposed to the enforcement of the one set of laws specifically designed to protect us? 
Let me add a few additional facts that I did not provide in my comments for that reporter.
I am often called upon to speak before various organizations around the United States and participate in panel discussions about immigration and especially how failures of this nation to secure its borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity endangers national security and endangers the lives of our citizens in virtually every city and town from coast to coast and border to border.
In 2005 I was asked to address a meeting of the Executive Board of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  I explained how it is naive or dishonest when politicians, including then President George W. Bush claim that America would be better off if our nation allowed aliens into our country who simply wanted to work so that law enforcement authorities could focus on the terrorists and gang members.
I went on and provided specific instances where I had arrested individuals who were wanted for serious crimes, who were engaged in activities supportive of terrorism and in one case, was a convicted murderer who had served time for murder, been deported and then unlawfully re-entered the United States illegally without permission.  He was convicted for unlawful re-entry and while serving his sentence upon conviction for that crime, he escaped from a federal prison and I stumbled upon him as he worked in a glass factory in Brooklyn!  The point is that all too often criminals and terrorists hide in plain sight by taking mundane jobs.  As I recall noting during my talk that day, the day before a terrorist commits an act of terror, he is likely to be hiding in plain sight by working at his job- a job that likely provided him with camouflage and mobility!
I did not mince words (If you are familiar with my way of doing business, you know I don’t ever mince words about this serious threat to our security)!  AFter I completed my remarks and answered questions from many of the assembled chiefs of police from city across the country- there were dozens of such police chiefs in attendance, a large number of them approached me and told me that they agreed with just about everything that I said but that if they dared to say anything that even came close to what I had said, their bosses- the mayors of the towns where they worked would fire them in a “New York minute!”  
While Governor Cuomo quoted a bunch of police chiefs, I want you to remember that chiefs of police are, first and foremost, politicians!  They serve at the pleasure of the politicians who put them behind those desks!  for the most part, these police executives understood that they must “Go along to get along!”
When a chief of police makes the claim that if the police officers under his (her) command worked with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that community policing would suffer, that police chief needs to have rhinoplasty!  (His nose is growing!)
In fact, as an INS Special Agent when I was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division (UID) of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) in New York City I worked extremely closely with other federal agencies, law enforcement agencies of foreign governments including Israel, Canada, Great Britain and Japan.  I also worked in close cooperation with members of the New York State Police, members of the New York City Police Department and other local police departments.  One of my key assignments at UID was to help make certain that criminal statutes were brought to bear in the most effective manner possible against major criminal targets who were citizens of other countries and to use my authorities as an INS Special Agent to help in the recruitment of informants and cooperators.  This continued when I was promoted to the position of Senior Special Agent and was assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force where I served for the balance of my career for the next ten years.  If my authorities as an INS agent was essential to the cultivation of informants how could it then be said that by having police departments working in close cooperation with immigration law enforcement that harm would be done to community policing?  
These fatuous claims make it clear that these politicians are willing to sacrifice the safety and the lives of the citizens of our country for political purposes!
It has been said that a million deaths is a statistic but that one death is a tragedy.  Let me tell you about one death:  

an INS Special Agent, I saw many instances where these failures
wreaked havoc in communities and in the lives of people, but one
gut-wrenching case in particular stands out. A member of the New
York City Police Department, a 24 year old police officer by the name
of Robert Machate lost his life to an alien who was illegally present
in the United States. Robert Machate, at the time of his death, was
assigned to the Brooklyn South Task Force.

1986, I was assigned to assisting Detention and Deportation Officers
of the INS to transport aliens who had been ordered deported to the
airport to affect their deportation from the United States. During
the course of one of those assignments, I personally escorted an
alien by the name of Renaldo Rayside to the airport after an
immigration judge entered an order of removal to deport Mr. Rayside
to his native country of Panama due to his conviction on several drug
charges. As I recall, years earlier, Mr. Rayside had been admitted
into the United States as a lawful immigrant, realizing a dream that
so many people around the world have. To put it succinctly, he blew
his opportunities by becoming involved in committing
narcotics-related crimes.

two years, Mr. Rayside had returned illegally to the U.S. via unknown
means, never having applied for nor received the necessary
authorization to return to the United States following his
deportation. Once he returned to the United States, according to
published newspaper accounts, Mr. Rayside was arrested by members of
the New York City Police Department and, in addition to other
charges, was charged at least twice with resisting arrest by New York
City police officers. Because New York City had policies in place
that prevented city law enforcement officers from contacting INS even
when they had reasonable suspicion that a person in their custody was
unlawfully present in the U.S.

York City’s sanctuary policies precluded its officers from
contacting INS to inquire about Mr. Rayside’s immigration status.
Had the INS been contacted, INS would have most likely detained Mr.
Rayside based upon his criminal conduct and based upon his presence
in the U.S. despite having been previously removed. Mr. Rayside
would have been either imprisoned and prosecuted for reentering the
U.S., or, at the very least, would have been deported.

March 3, 1989, as a result of New York City’s sanctuary policies,
Mr. Rayside was still present and at-large in the U.S. (albeit
unlawfully) when he was stopped for questioning by Officer Robert E.
Machate and his partner. On this day, Mr. Rayside wrestled Officer
Machate’s gun from him and, in the gunfight that ensued, a bullet
struck Officer Machate in the back.

was called upon to provide testimony at the murder trial because of
my knowledge of the factors concerning the defendant’s background and
the fact that I had executed his Warrant of Deportation.

it was impossible to prove if the bullet that had struck Officer
Machate came from the gun that Rayside had taken from Officer
Machate, Rayside was acquitted of the top charge of Murder of a
Police Officer but was found guilty of other crimes.

are two postscripts to this tragedy.

two years ago when I was shopping in a local supermarket, I noticed
that a very pretty young lady who was working as a check-out clerk in
the store was wearing an NYPD “courtesy badge” on a chain around
her neck. These are much smaller than a regulation badge and often
are given to family members of police officers. I asked her who in
her family was a police officer. She told me that her dad was a
police officer. When I asked where he was assigned she told me that
he was dead. She then told me her father had been killed while on
official duty in 1989. I was stunned!

it turned out, that young lady was Officer Robert Machete’s daughter
who had yet to be born when her dad lost his life to New York City’s
“sanctuary policy.”

the emotions I had felt on the witness stand at the murder trial came
flooding back to me as I met this young woman whose life was
irrevocably altered by the senseless death of her father!

other postscript relates to my declaration that I provided to the law
firm retained by Governor Brewer. I made reference to the death of
Officer Machate in my declaration and flew to Arizona to attend a
rally and participate in panel discussions in Phoenix. Arrangements
had been made for me to stay at the home of friends in Arizona and I
was stunned to turn on my computer to check my e-mail and found out
that I had been forwarded an e-mail from a gentleman by the name of
Thomas Machate. Thomas, as it turned out, was Robert Machate’s
younger brother! He had seen my declaration and decided to contact

had sent me an e-mail to thank me for my efforts in conjunction with
my testimony at the murder trial. We ultimately had a lengthy phone
conversation when I returned back to New York. He told me that he
had followed in his brother’s footsteps and had become a member of
the NYPD. He has since retired from the NYPD and is now working as a
police officer in a local police department in Florida.

told me how the murder of his “big brother,” Robert Machete
forever changed his life and the lives of his parents who are now
deceased. This is the sort of real world price all too many people
are paying across this nation because of these failures to enforce
the immigration laws.

A few days ago I wrote a commentary that was predicated on a New Release issued by ICE.
Here is the link to that news release:
Here is an important set of statistics provided in that news release:
“Between Oct. 1, 2010 and April 30, ICE returned to their countries of origin more than 215,900 aliens, including 109,700 aliens with criminal convictions. Of those, 585 were convicted of homicide, 3,177 were convicted sex offenders, and 24,593 were convicted of serious drug offenses.”


What moral and reasonable political leader or police officer could ignore these statistics?  Behind these statistics are stories similar to the story about the death of a valiant law enforcement officer, Robert Machate.  

When innocent people die because of the wrong-headed and politically motivated decisions of Governor Cuomo and his bobble heads, they will sleep well, I can assure you because they know the facts- they just don’t give a damn!

Our nation provides lawful immigrant status to more than 1.1 million aliens each and every year!  Each and everyone of those aliens are immediately placed on a pathway to United States citizenship on the day that they are granted their lawful immigrant status.  This huge number of immigrants is far greater that the number of lawful immigrants admitted by any other country on the face of this planet!  Additionally, the fraud rate within the legal immigration system is so out of control that there is little integrity to this process!
As I have noted on ever so many other occasions, the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar!
The securing of our nation’s borders and the effective enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws are, arguably, among the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.  

Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!

A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!


our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.  

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.  We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.  

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world.  However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

-michael cutler- 

Please check out my website:

  • Contact Information:

Governor’s Press Office

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418


Andrew M. CuomoGovernor

Governor Cuomo Suspends Participation in Federal Secure Communities Program

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Albany, NY
June 1, 2011)

Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will suspend
participation in the federal Secure Communities Program to review the
mounting evidence that the program is not meeting its stated goal and
has serious consequences for witnesses, victims of crime and law

The goal as stated by the federal government was
to deport serious felons, and, based on evidence to date, it appears the
program in New York is failing in this regard and is actually
undermining law enforcement. Because of similar concerns, the Inspector
General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is
investigating the program.

“There are concerns about the implementation of
the program as well as its impact on families, immigrant communities and
law enforcement in New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “As a result, New
York is suspending its participation in the program.”

In a letter to DHS, Governor Cuomo’s
administration stated that information produced thus far has called into
question – at both the federal and state levels – the implementation
and intended effect of the Secure Communities program.

Governor Cuomo’s office has also received
complaints stating that the goals of the program were not being met. The
questions raised are further aggravated by inconsistent statements by
DHS and a failure to disclose basic information about the program.

Congressman Jose E. Serrano said, “Governor Cuomo
has taken a brave and necessary step in suspending New York State’s
participation in the flawed ‘Secure Communities’ program, and he
deserves great praise. He is firmly in line with our state’s
pro-immigrant tradition and on behalf of the immigrants and their
friends in our community, I would like to thank him. Having New York
State pull back from this unfair and aggressive program should be a
wake-up call to the Department of Homeland Security. It is time to end
this program and I am glad my home state will no longer take part.”

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez said, “I thank
Governor Cuomo for showing the leadership and foresight to suspend this
misguided program, which does not reflect New York’s long history as a
welcoming home for newly arrived immigrants. The Secure Communities
initiative does not make our nation safer, but inhibits cooperation with
law enforcement and violates immigrants’ due process rights.”

Derek P. Champagne, Franklin County District
Attorney and President of the District Attorneys Association of the
State of New York (DAASNY), said, “By suspending the state’s
participation in this program until a comprehensive review is complete,
the Governor is sending a strong message that the law enforcement tools
we utilize must be clearly communicated, evenly applied and effective.
We will continue to use the effective tools that have been in place for
many years to ensure that we are identifying and preventing any risk to
public safety.”

Janet DiFiore, Westchester County District
Attorney, said, “I support Governor Cuomo’s decision to take New York
State out of the Secure Communities Program in light of reports of the
unintended consequences by its implementation. I remain confident that
law enforcement throughout the state presently has sufficient tools at
its disposal to continue to safeguard and protect all New Yorkers.”

State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Chair of the
Latino Caucus of the Senate, said, “Governor Cuomo’s decision to end the
so-called Secure Communities program in New York will restore rights
and justice to countless immigrants across the state. We must enact
policies and reforms that bolster our diverse population, not penalize
it by instilling a sense of fear of wrongful deportation in our

State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Vice Chair of the
Latino Caucus of the Senate, said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for having
the courage to put an end to this program’s existence in New York. The
Secure Communities program has frightened victims and witnesses of crime
from coming forward. We need to make our neighborhoods safe places for
our families and not take part in a problematic and contradictory
program that hinders our safety.”

Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Chair of the Puerto
Rican/Hispanic Task Force, said, “The Secure Communities program has
done the opposite of what it was supposed to do, and Governor Cuomo is
right in removing our state from the program. While we continue to work
to find ways to make it safer for victims and witnesses of crime to come
forward and be a part of the process to save our communities, we must
not let our state be part of an experiment that puts innocent people at

Thomas H. Mungeer, President of the New York
State Police Benevolent Association, said, “We support Governor Cuomo’s
action today in suspending Secure Communities until the numerous
questions, including a federal Inspector General’s investigation, can be
resolved. Police rely upon a partnership with the communities that they
serve to ensure the public safety of us all. The questions that have
surrounded the implementation of Secure Communities drives a wedge
between law enforcement and the people they are sworn to protect. We are
confident that the procedures we currently use and the strong
relationships we currently have with federal, state and local
authorities will ensure that we can keep our communities safe while also
maintaining our relationship of trust.”

John Poklemba, Counsel to the New York State
Association of Chiefs of Police, said, “Governor Cuomo has made the
right decision to take New York State out of the controversial Secure
Communities program. This program unfortunately has had a negative
impact on our crime-fighting efforts. Law enforcement must have tools
and resources that are both effective and fair.”

Jack Mahar, Sheriff of Rensselaer County and
President of the New York State Sheriffs Association, said, “Every day,
law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to rid our
neighborhoods of crime, and we do it with the cooperation of the
law-abiding public. This program was intended to make communities safer
and stronger, but many people question whether this program has really
accomplished its objectives. Governor Cuomo is right to remove our state
from this program until all concerns are addressed.”

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said,
“Governor Cuomo’s decision to freeze the Secure Communities program
until the questions that have been raised about its implementation can
be settled, is a wise one. While we are sworn to keep our communities
safe, that cannot come at the price of their trust. Our strong current
partnerships with federal law enforcement and long-standing operations
in this state will ensure that we continue to communicate effectively to
identify undocumented immigrants in our county jails and take
appropriate actions.”

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace said, “We
support Governor Cuomo’s action today in suspending Secure Communities
until the numerous questions, including a federal Inspector General’s
investigation, can be resolved. Sheriff departments rely upon a
partnership with the communities that they serve to ensure public safety
for us all. The questions that have surrounded the implementation of
Secure Communities jeopardizes that relationship. We are confident that
the procedures we currently use and the strong relationship we currently
have with federal, state and local authorities will ensure that we can
keep our communities safe while also maintaining our relationship of

Steven Krokoff, Chief of the Albany Police
Department said, “In light of the confusion surrounding this program and
the pending Inspector General’s review, the Governor’s decision to
freeze this program until the federal review is complete is appropriate.
The procedures we currently use will ensure the safety of neighborhoods
across the state while at the same time encouraging individuals in all
communities to come forward to report crimes.”

Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New
York Civil Liberties Union, said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for taking
the bold step of removing New York State from the Secure Communities
initiative, which, despite its name, has become a sore subject for those
who work day and night to make our neighborhoods safer. We need to
ensure that vulnerable populations are protected, and the decision to
remove our state from this program is a positive move for all New

Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of the New
York Immigration Coalition, said, “For centuries, families have gone to
great lengths to come to this great nation, and we owe it to ourselves
and our neighbors to make sure the law is on their side. Unfortunately,
the Secure Communities program has failed to provide protections to many
individuals. Governor Cuomo’s decision to remove New York from the
program is a right one, and we look forward to working with him to make
our state safe for all residents.”

A copy of the letter sent to DHS can be found at: http://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/Secure%20Communities.pdf.