Jewish World Review April 10, 2002 / 29 Nisan, 5762

Lewis A. Fein

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Opening the door for terrorism -- One of the more chilling realities about the September 11th terrorists is the ease with which these murderers smoothly - and illegally - evaded America's immigration laws. Captured by security videotape, perpetually replayed in slow motion and broadcast in black and white, these cowards bequeath a criminal last statement: they display an evil stoicism, temporarily belied by their own attire, that says - indeed, dress and obligatory behavior notwithstanding, we will use - no, we have used - America's generous immigration laws to commit murderous violence.

Yet, amidst tighter airport security and the soft ripple of the American flag this nation's immigration policy remains an invitation for further terrorism. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a new congressional loophole may potentially grant terrorists permanent access to the United States.

This loophole, the 245(i) extension and border and visa security legislation, could allow deportable terrorists to acquire a Green Card. Specifically, the provision would let illegal aliens - even suspected terrorists seeking Green Cards - to remain within the United States, absent judicial scrutiny or evaluation by U.S. Embassy experts.

Even worse, the loophole encourages illegal immigration: for merely $1,000, these individuals (already residing within America, and in violation of established immigration law) could extend their stay here, while INS bureaucrats slowly process a backlog of almost 5 million immigration applications. This policy represents the institutionalization of illegal immigration, where potential terrorists - simply because they already enjoy work and housing within the United States - would exploit this nation's honorable policy of inclusion.

This loophole also insults decent people, individuals in other countries eagerly awaiting the privilege to work, study or live within the United States. In effect, this loophole discourages legal behavior; for the subtle message here - that a small fee ($1,000) can mitigate against, and INS officials are too inclined to overlook, gross criminality - is that illegal immigration is acceptable. Such legislative manipulation explains the public's cynicism concerning honest and effective immigration policy enforcement.

Given these disturbing facts, FAIR supports legislation that would locate and restrict suspected terrorists before these individuals enter the United States. In fact, bipartisan legislation would streamline America's reporting procedures about potentially dangerous illegal immigrants, requiring more extensive background checks and visa applications for people from terrorist sponsoring countries.

Again, the lessons of September 11th are clear: terrorists can penetrate America's borders, appearing relatively benign - working and living alongside patriotic Americans - while secretly plotting murder and criminal intrigue. This lack tracking system partially explains the ability of terrorists to exploit this nation's immigration policy. How else to explain the skill of last September's villains, whereby government identification (including Social Security numbers and pilot certification) could be so cheaply obtained?

The hard truth of America's immigration enforcement policy is one of illegal manipulation and deceitful intent. Potential terrorists poison the integrity of an honorable idea (cultural exchange and open policies), while destroying the hopes of decent individuals prepared to legally enter the United States. In the process, murderous violence has an opportunity to root itself within the soil of American freedom. This proliferation of illegal immigration is last September's worst epitaph.

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles.Comment by clicking here.


© 2002, Lewis A. Fein