(/sites/default/files/uploads/2015/03/US-border-notice.jpg)The question that serves as the title of my commentary today is the question every American, irrespective of political affiliation, must ask their elected senators and congressional representatives.
For all too many of our leaders, while they claim that they would stop at nothing to protect America and Americans, the reality is far different. Despite their claims to the contrary, they will not do anything to truly secure our borders or instill real integrity to the immigration system or the process by which applications for visas or immigration benefits are adjudicated.
This is the dire reality our nation and our citizens face today.
My article today will provide crystal clear evidence that our immigration system has no integrity and that this lack of integrity threatens the survival of our nation and our citizens and that nothing being proposed under the aegis of Comprehensive Immigration Reform will address these deadly vulnerabilities.
The importance of the question about what would our leaders be willing to do to prevent the entry and embedding of terrorists and the issue of terrorism came into sharp focus during the stirring and powerful speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3, 2015 when he addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress to voice his extreme concerns about what the sponsorship of terrorism by Iran not only means for Israel but for the United States as well. Indeed, during his remarks the Prime Minister referred to the unsuccessful attempts, over three years ago, by Iranian-backed terrorists to bomb the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC and kill the Saudi ambassador. The Israeli embassy in our Capitol was also a potential bombing target for those terrorists.
On March 21, 2012 the House Committee on Homeland Security that was then chaired by New York Congressman Peter King conducted a hearing into these planned operations. The topic of the hearing was, “Iran, Hezbollah, and the Threat to the Homeland.”
The same day as that hearing, the Huffington Post published a report about that hearing, “Peter King: Iran May Have ‘Hundreds’ Of Hezbollah Agents In U.S.”
Here is an excerpt from that news report:
“As Iran moves closer to nuclear weapons and there is increasing concern over war between Iran and Israel, we must also focus on Iran’s secret operatives and their number one terrorist proxy force, Hezbollah, which we know is in America,” said New York Rep. Peter King at a Wednesday hearing of his committee.
The hearing, which featured former government officials and the director of intelligence analysis for the New York Police Department, follows a foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., and testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in late January that Iran’s leaders are “more willing to conduct an attack inside the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”
On April 21, 2010 the Washington Times published a disturbing report, “Iran boosts Qods shock troops in Venezuela,” predicated on a Pentagon report to Congress on Iran’s military operations in Latin America. Here is an excerpt:
The report gives no details on the activities of the Iranians in Venezuela and Latin America. Iranian-backed terrorists have conducted few attacks in the region. However, U.S. intelligence officials say Qods operatives are developing networks of terrorists in the region who could be called to attack the United States in the event of a conflict over Iran’s nuclear program.
On May 30, 2013 UPI posted a report, “Immigrant allegedly failed to reveal Hezbollah membership.”
Here is an excerpt from this report:
Wissam Allouche, 44, who became a citizen in 2009, was arrested last week by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the San Antonio Express-News reported Thursday. He has also been charged with failing to reveal membership in Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group classified as terrorist by the U.S. government, when he sought a security clearance.
A federal judge ordered Allouche held without bail after a hearing Wednesday.
Allouche has lived in the United States for more than a decade. His attorney, Cynthia Orr, said he owned a gas station at one point.
Allouche formerly worked for L3 Communications, a military contractor that supplies interpreters and translators. He spent several months with the company in Iraq.
It is inconceivable that any politician would not want to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and launching deadly terrorist attacks. However, the failures of our immigration system undeniably enable international terrorists to enter the United States and, indeed, facilitates their ability to hide in plain sight and embed themselves in communities across our nation as they go about their deadly preparations to launch an attack.
There is nothing in any proposed legislation that addresses or remedies these critical failures in the immigration system.
When airliners crash the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), the FAA and other organizations dispatch investigators to the crash site to find out what caused the crash – not only to assign blame for purposes of litigation but to make certain that all of the failures that contributed to the disaster are identified and effectively addressed to prevent future similar tragedies.
On September 11, 2001 the United States suffered its worst terrorist attacks. The United States government convened the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States for much the same reason that the NTSB and other agencies send investigators to the site of a crash.
Here is essentially the mission statement for the commission which includes the links to the actual report, as well as the two staff reports (monographs):
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission), an independent, bipartisan commission created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002, is chartered to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The Commission is also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.
On July 22, 2004 the Commission released its public report, which is available for download from this site. The report is also available in bookstores nationwide and from the Government Printing Office.
On August 21, 2004 the Commission released two staff monographs, available for download along with other staff statements on this site.
No reasonable person would ignore the findings and recommendations of an NTSB investigation into a deadly plane crash. No sane leader could or should ignore the findings of the 9⁄11 Commission’s investigation into an attack that killed more than 3,000 innocent victims, reduced an iconic complex in the heart of New York City into a rubble and turned lower Manhattan, a peaceful field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and our Pentagon into virtual “war zones,” especially when, as the commission noted, it was “mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.”
Yet where the immigration component of national security is concerned, inexplicably, politicians from both sides of the aisle are not only not willing to abide by the findings and recommendations of the 9⁄11 Commission Report – they are not even willing to talk about it when the issue of immigration is raised.
The 9⁄11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel (monograph) detailed numerous examples of instances where terrorists not only made use of visa and immigration benefit fraud to enter the United States but to also embed themselves in the United States. While advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform have established the issue of supposedly securing the US/Mexican border, a process they claim would require many years, as the sole prerequisite for providing unknown millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents.
Here is an excerpt from that report that makes the above issues crystal clear:
_Although there is evidence that some land and sea_ border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.
In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9⁄11 attack.
_Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement_ were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9⁄11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.
Make no mistake, that border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico absolutely must be made secure and not over the next few years but as soon as possible. The testimony provided at the hearing Chairman King convened on March 21, 2013 that I noted above made it clear that terrorists from the Middle East are operating in Latin America – especially in the Tri-Border Region of Brazil. Witnesses at the hearing reported that Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations are working cooperatively with drug trafficking organizations to smuggle cocaine and other drugs into the United States to fund terrorist operations.
However, the United States has 50 “border states” and virtually all of the other components of the immigrations system lack integrity. On July 7, 2014 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Border Security and the Immigration Colander” in which I compared the immigration system to a colander with many holes in it. Simply offering to secure the U.S./Mexican border to address all of the failures of the immigration system is the equivalent of plugging just one hole at the bottom of a colander and then suggesting that it could then be used as a bucket to carry water.
This lack of integrity has been well known for many years and has cost many American lives and I fear many more will pay the “ultimate price” in the future.
The lack of integrity to the immigration system is mirrored – perhaps surpassed – by an abject lack of integrity of our political leaders and those who rise to high positions within the law enforcement communities on the local, state and federal level who are willing to parrot the words of the politicians they work for.
On January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine posted my article, “Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat” in which I noted that one of the ways to distract people from understanding the nexus between terrorism and immigration is to focus on “homegrown” sleepers. As I noted in my piece:
The “solution” politicians and journalists who oppose effective immigration law enforcement have devised to resolve the quandary that this creates is to describe sleeper agents as being “homegrown,” hoping that Americans will ignore the obvious: That foreign nationals are seeking to enter the United States to launch terror attacks.
Incredibly, even such foreign national terrorists have come to be referred to as being “homegrown” by journalists, politicians and high-ranking members of the law enforcement community who should know better. This is nothing short of Orwellian propaganda.
Former NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly apparently fell victim to this mis-identification of foreign terrorists when he described Faisal Shahzad, the so-called “Times Square Bomber” as being “homegrown.” The title of a New York Post article, published on May 11, 2010, quoted Commissioner Kelly, “Kelly: NYC bomb suspect ‘homegrown,’” and contained the following statement:
The Times Square threat was “a classic case of homegrown terrorism,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a briefing for private security executives.
Shahzad had legally immigrated to the United States when he was roughly 20 years old. How on earth is he “homegrown”? He may not have come to the United States with the intentions of ultimately carrying out a terrorist attack, however it is impossible to know when he made that decision. What is clear is that he is absolutely not “homegrown.”
In fact, in that article, Kelly was also quoted as referring to Najibullah Zazi, the leader of a group that planned a suicide bombing of the New York City subway system, as also being “homegrown,” blatantly ignoring the fact that Zazi had immigrated to the United States from his native Pakistan when he was a teenager.
In January 1993 a Pakistani national by the name of Mir Kansi stood outside CIA Headquarters with an AK-47 and opened fire on the vehicles of CIA officials reporting for work on that cold January morning in Virginia. When the smoke dissipated, two CIA officer lay dead and three others were seriously wounded. Kansi fled the United States and was ultimately brought back to stand trial. He was found guilty and executed for his crimes. He had applied for political asylum before he engaged in that murderous rampage.
Just one month later, on February 26, 1993 a bomb-laden truck was parked in the garage under the World Trade Center complex and detonated. The blast nearly brought one of the 110-story towers down sideways. As a result of the explosion, 6 innocent people were killed, over one thousand people were injured and an estimated one half billion dollars in damages were inflicted on that iconic complex of buildings located just blocks from Wall Street.
That attack was also carried out by alien terrorists who managed to not only game the visa process in order to enter the United States, but the immigration benefits program that enabled them to remain in the United States and embed themselves as they went about their preparations to carry out that attack.
On May 20, 1997 I participated in my first Congressional hearing. That hearing was conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims and was entitled: “Visa Fraud And Immigration Benefits Application Fraud.”
That hearing was called specifically because of those two terrorist attacks that had been carried out more than four years before that hearing was held.
The 9⁄11 Commission found that of 94 terrorists who were identified as operating in our country in the decade leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, some 59 or roughly two-thirds of them were found to have committed immigration fraud to enter our country and/or embed themselves in our country.
Incredibly, nothing of substance has been done to truly combat either visa fraud or immigration fraud.
On February 24, 2015 Progressives For Immigration Reform posted my commentary, “The Immigration Factor –Naturalized U.S. Citizen Added to FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.”
Clearly the nexus between failures of the immigration system and the process by which visas are issued have been linked to previous terrorist attacks and yet the vulnerabilities have been greatly exacerbated as the administration hands out Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and other official identity documents to millions of illegal aliens on the basis of unilateral executive orders and policy decisions.
While the 9⁄11 Commission called for tightening up on the process by which applications for visas are adjudicated, on September 11, 2001 the citizens of countries from 26 countries were able to enter the United States under the wrong-headed and dangerous Visa Waiver Program. Today the citizens of 38 countries do not require visas to enter the United States.
On July 12, 2011 Californians for Population Stabilization posted my article, “Visa Waiver Program Endangers our Safety and Security.” Back then fewer countries participated in the Visa Waiver Program, but the concerns I voiced then remain exactly the same today. In my commentary I noted that:
Our government is apparently responding to the extreme pressure being brought to bear by the Chamber of Commerce and executives of the travel, hospitality and related industries under the auspices of a program known as the “Discover America Partnership.” That consortium has now been joined by the National Retailer Federation (NRF).
These industries’ executives have absolutely no expertise in national security or in issues where border security are concerned and the visa issuing processes are concerned. Yet they have staked out a position because they are motivated by nothing more than greed. The more people who will travel to the United States, the more people who are likely to stay in hotels, eat in the restaurants, attend Broadway shows and buy the souvenirs and other trinkets peddled in cities around the United States.
On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic, “Visa Overstays: Can We Bar the Terrorist Door?”
Our nation’s “leaders” from both the Democratic and Republican parties never acknowledge that the 9⁄11 Commission warned about the lack of integrity to the lawful entry process conducted at ports of entry.
Similarly, they never acknowledge that visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud permeate those systems and those failures undermine national security. They never acknowledge that as bad as things are now, a massive amnesty program that would provide millions of illegal aliens with identity documents without the capacity to interview them in person – let alone conduct routine field investigations to combat fraud – would be catastrophic for national security.
The administration’s immigration policies that now require enforcement personnel at DHS to ignore aliens illegally present in the United States who evade the inspections process conducted at ports of entry and to ignore those aliens who violate the terms of their lawful admission into the United States provide millions of illegal aliens with ample opportunities to hide in plain sight. This is further exacerbated by providing illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents without in-person interviews or field investigations to combat fraud.
Now Congress has signed off on funding operations at the DHS including this program that should garner the administration the “MVP Award” from such terrorist organizations as Hezbollah, ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Additionally, because of the huge number of aliens who are illegally present in the United States, likely tens of millions of illegal aliens, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation being pushed by both Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate would suffer a lack of integrity as well.
This program would violate commonsense and the clear findings, recommendations and, indeed, warnings of the 9⁄11 Commission and its staff of federal agents and attorneys.
My parents raised me to believe that the only “dumb questions” were the ones I did not ask. All Americans must ask their elected representatives questions about why they are not even willing to mention that there was a 9⁄11 Commission, let alone its findings, recommendations and warnings about the nexus that exists between immigration and national security and terrorism.
These questions about immigration and national security that our citizens must pose to our leaders have never been more critical or relevant than they are today.
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