Nativism Watch

UPDATED: Indiana Senate committee invites nativist Michael Cutler to testify

Imagine2050 Staff • Aug 17, 2016
Michael Cutler. Source: Fox News video, 2013.
Michael Cutler. Source: Fox News video, 2013.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include information about  an egregious and false assertion about immigrants and crime that Cutler reportedly included in his testimony. For more information, please scroll to the bottom of the original post

Anti-immigrant spokesperson Michael Cutler will testify before the Indiana Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues this afternoon. The committee is chaired by State Sen. Mike Delph, who has previously invited other representatives from the organized anti-immigrant movement to testify over the committee’s short history.

Michael Cutler is a Senior Fellow for the anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). He is a former fellow at the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and he previously worked as an agent for the now-dissolved Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

In addition to his regular publications on the CAPS website, Cutler’s writing often appears at other extremist outlets. Cutler has written for The Social Contract, a quarterly journal founded by white nationalist John Tanton. He has similarly written for FrontPage Magazine, a project of the anti-Muslim David Horowitz Freedom Center. Cutler has also served on the advisory board of anti-Muslim grassroots group ACT for America and has spoken at the group’s national conference.

According to the committee’s meeting agenda, Cutler “will discuss immigration issues related to national and state security among other topics.”

Michael Cutler is the third representative of the organized anti-immigrant movement to testify before the Indiana Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues this year at the invitation of committee chair Mike Delph. As Imagine 2050 reported at the time, Dale Wilcox and Kris Kobach, of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), testified before the committee in April.

The Indiana Senate established the Select Committee on Immigration Issues in February. The committee is required to submit a report to the legislative body in November.

After soliciting information from disreputable, nativist sources like IRLI and CAPS, Delph and his committee’s findings will warrant intense scrutiny and skepticism.

UPDATE (August 18, 2016): While testifying before an Indiana Senate committee hearing on immigration yesterday, anti-immigrant spokesperson Michael Cutler reportedly stated that 7,000 people are killed every year by undocumented immigrants.

According to coverage of yesterday’s hearing from The Journal Gazette:

The presentations have tilted in favor of a crackdown on illegal immigration, and some have even expressed concern that the U.S. policy for legal immigration is too easy.
One of those was Michael Cutler – a retired special agent of the former INS. He said 7,000 people a year are being killed by illegal immigrants.
“This has nothing to do with race but everything to do with maintaining a strong vibrant America,” he said. “We are endangering the entire world because of our immigration policies.”

Cutler’s assertion is wildly inaccurate and derivative of a baseless estimate long pushed by the organized anti-immigrant movement. Virulently anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is perhaps the most notable promoter of this blatantly disingenuous falsehood.

Earlier this year, Cutler in fact cited King and repeated the 7,000 figure while speaking at a town hall meeting in New Jersey.

Federal crime statistics indicate that there were 13,472 incidents of “Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter” in 2014. If Cutler is to be believed, undocumented immigrants would be responsible for more than half of these instances despite-according to even the most liberal estimates-comprising less than five percent of the U.S. population

This post originally cautioned that Cutler’s testimony would require strict scrutiny. By so brazenly twisting the truth about immigrants, he only reinforced this. Ultimately, Cutler’s testimony only further illustrated how he and other members of the organized anti-immigrant movement should have no role in influencing public policy.

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