Jewish World Review Oct. 4, 2001 / 17 Tishrei, 5762
HOUSE leaders recently rejected the Bush administration's request for authority to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely. Under the House plan, the government could hold immigrants suspected of terrorism for only seven days without bringing charges.
Let's hope seven days is enough for the government to perform a thorough intelligence-based investigation of a million Muslim immigrants!
Oddly, it would be easier to deport immigrants than to detain them. Under the Constitution, visitors to this country have no right to be here, but they may have a right not to be detained indefinitely without a hearing.
War is being waged on our soil by noncitizen infiltrators, legally admitted by the INS. If Congress says the attorney general can't detain them, we ought to deport them. (From the "not ready to move on" file: Isn't it curious that we have room for 19 Muslim mass murderers, but no room for an innocent little Cuban boy? In addition to deporting immigrants from terrorist-producing countries, someone should look into deporting every person who ever worked for the INS.)
Any senator (Teddy Kennedy) who is opposed to the mass deportation of immigrants from suspect countries would be free to waive in as many potential terrorists as he could sign his name to. At least then we'd have true government accountability, rather than collective foot-dragging based on pristine tributes to civil rights.
We won't even necessarily need to call on the fine-tuned screening procedures of the INS. The law could simply state that immigrants from certain countries aren't allowed to be here after a certain date, unless they receive a waiver.
Admittedly, fanatics willing to launch monstrous suicide missions are probably also going to be willing to violate a general order of deportation. But it would raise the terrorists' transactions costs. At the very least, noncitizen terrorists will have a tough time maneuvering around the country, becoming pilots, getting hazardous materials licenses and generally doing the things they need to do to nuke Manhattan.
Surely, thousands of immigrants could be waived in instantly on the basis of reliable evidence either that they are not Muslims, or that they are the peaceful, law-abiding variety not planning mass murder -- as opposed to the peaceful, law-abiding Muslims who recently slaughtered thousands of our fellow countrymen.
Among the advantages of a deportation presumption is that it would give the FBI increased opportunities to flip Muslim immigrants to informants -- a possibility unlikely to be lost on any terrorists looking for their own new recruits.
A mass deportation order also ought to ease the way for "ethnic profiling." If noncitizens from various suspect countries were under an order to leave, all security personnel would have grounds to look for potential violators of that law.
Everyone is profiling now anyway. No one talks about it, which allows liberals the luxury of ritualistically denouncing racial profiling. Ordinary Americans aren't going to die for political correctness. And airlines aren't going to fly empty planes.
The facts are: (1) Nineteen male immigrants of Middle-Eastern descent recently murdered thousands of civilians on our shores in a coordinated attack; (2) other people answering to the same description have been apprehended in the country as suspected co-conspirators; and (3) according to the attorney general, there are more sleeper terrorist cells at large that the government has yet to identify.
Complaints about heightened suspicions toward people who fit the description of fanatical Islamists go well beyond opposing indiscriminate hate. It is a demand that Americans not even have their antennae up.
Focusing on men of Middle-Eastern appearance is less "profiling" than suspect identification. It is in keeping with the standard police practice of not looking for people over 6 feet tall when the eyewitnesses tell you the perp is 5 feet 2 inches. When looking for the Unabomber, I promise you -- the FBI wasn't rousting Asians or Arabs.
As unfair as it sounds, deporting immigrants from suspect countries will actually minimize cruelties toward vast numbers of vaguely Arabic-looking people. Although many immigrants will be swept up unfairly, all the Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Christians will be relieved to discover they don't scare people anymore.
To be sure, there is a risk that mass deportations might upset the delicate diplomatic maneuvering designed to bring the largest possible number of unsavory regimes into our "international coalition." On the other hand, some countries in the "international coalition" might be forced to conclude that the Great Satan is smarter than they thought. This part of the plan ought to appeal to their primitive sense of honor and boundaries.
But moreover, any sentient being has to realize that some of our "partner" regimes are more plausibly allied with the terrorists. If we don't stop the coalition-building soon, Colin Powell could soon be announcing a "diplomatic initiative" to bring Osama bin Laden into the "coalition." Having allies is great, but let us not forget that it is ultimately our responsibility, not that of foreigners with different interests, to defend this
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.