We can only hope that the Times Square near-bombing will focus our attention on the conventional wisdom surrounding from the left surrounding immigration reform. First there's the belief that no attempt at reform can succeed without a generous amnesty. Then, there's the belief that immigration "coyotes" and other scam artists do not associate with terrorists. And finally, there's the misguided belief that our relatively open border with Mexico, and thus by default the rest of the world, is no big deal, and can be resolved through the simple act of issuing more work visas.
In my own conversations with experts on immigration, the drug cartels and terrorism, it has always been an article of faith that while drug cartels certainly use illegal immigration as a conduit for smuggling drugs, terrorists are not welcome among the coyotes that smuggle migrants and vice versa. But that is changing.
In the laptop captured from a top FARC commander, evidence was found of links between Chavez and Russia (from where weapons and explosives would come and be transferred) and Hezbollah and drug syndicates (where FARC would help Hezbollah blow up pipelines carrying Mexican oil for America).
I'm not concerned about the links between terrorism and immigration because it's the issue of the day. And it's not because Arizona has passed legislation that enables local and state law enforcement to actually “enforce” a 1940 federal statute dealing with whether legal residents but not citizens of the U.S. have to carry “papers” (they do). Nor am I focused on it because the Senate is, once again, considering bringing up "compressive immigration reform."
No, the events that have made me even more concerned about immigration are four-fold.
1. Dozens of bomb plotters in attacks on the United States have used the immigration system to marry women here in America and thus gain citizenship faster and with less scrutiny than they otherwise would. This includes the bombing suspect arrested for attempting to blow up people in New York City and Times Square, a point made eloquently and most recently by Michelle Malkin.
2. In 2008, I testified before the Maryland State Assembly that driver licenses should not be given to those illegally in America. Remember Muhammad Atta had a driver’s license and when stopped in North Carolina for a traffic violation, the local police officer could not access immigration records to determine that Atta was here on an expired visa.
After testifying, I remained outside the hearing room and listened to a local Montgomery County representative to the Annapolis Assembly being interviewed by Mexican television about the oppressive nature of such a law as forbidding those illegally in the U.S. from getting driver licenses. She told a Mexican television reporter that there was really no such thing as an illegal immigrant: “They are all here simply waiting to adjust their status."
3. Then there is the news that Syria, probably via Iran and North Korea, has transferred Scud missiles to Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based terrorist subsidiary of Iran. Remember, Scud missiles used to be what we thought about when thinking about missile threats from Saddam’s Iraq and Kim’s North Korea. It appears everyone has graduated—Kim to long range rockets and Hezbollah to Scuds!
4. Finally, there's the likelihood that Iran will get a nuclear weapon and transfer it to a specially created and trained terror group to smuggle it into the United States. Open borders make that an easier job. Scam marriages do too.
So, here we are congratulating ourselves for capturing the Times Square suspect when our own immigration system is so riddled with holes that terrorists can drive right across our borders in an explosive laden truck and with a driver’s license secured in any number of states blind to current threats. And we congratulate ourselves when our supposed potential peace partners, with whom were are so eager to engage, are either sending rockets to terrorists or building nuclear bombs destined for an American city.
Why then are Washington elites hell-bent on approving amnesty provisions as a part of what is known as “compressive immigration reform?" What part of “terror-sponsoring state,” “terrorist,” “open borders” and “bomb” do they not understand? And what do we make of the common complaint that we only wish to secure our borders and make our immigration system synonymous with “common sense” because we are a racist country inhospitable to ethnic groups other than “Anglos?" God, has anyone who claims this actually walked around any American city recently? Amnesty is objectionable because the person who gets to decide whether or not 16 million estimated illegal immigrants get to stay in this country are the illegal immigrants themselves!! They are, of course, “just adjusting their status."
Speaking of the millions of people already here illegally, David Broder quoted the late Senator Kennedy as being dumbfounded about why people could not understand why the illegal immigrants already here in the USA had to stay here. The assumption: we cannot send them home or they will not go home. And so if they wish to stay here in America, well, they get to stay here. And if jihadists intent on blowing us all to kingdom come, want to come here from rural Pakistan and marry an American citizen—well aren’t we all in favor of multiculturalism? (Parenthetically, what skills are we adding to the American workforce by such an immigration policy?)
Immigration policy is now, by default, no longer a question of whom we as Americans desire to accept into our country. It has become a question of who wants to come to America whether we like it or not. And that is why so many citizens of this country are supportive of the Arizona law and against the amnesty provisions of past immigration reform laws. We want our sovereignty back. We want to decide who gets to be future Americans—because we value American citizenship and believe it should not simply be given away, either through amnesty, sham marriages or some wacky notion of multiculturalism. And we care who comes in and out of our country. Especially if they are armed. Armed with a bomb. Or a nuclear weapon. Feeling safe?
Peter Huessy is Senior Defense Consultant at the National Defense University Foundation.
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