Posted by Curt on 26 February, 2015 at 9:42 am. Be the first to comment!


Mark Krikorian:

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the first World Trade Center attack, the 1993 warm-up act for 9/11. The bombing, which was carried out by a gang of illegal aliens and others who had been illegal aliens before securing green cards, woke Americans up to the importance of immigration controls to national security. It led to the 1996 passage of measures that sought to significantly tighten enforcement.

Despite the cries by Democrats that Republicans have jeopardized our people’s safety by not immediately funding President Obama’s lawless amnesty decrees, it’s the administration that has undermined America’s security by nullifying or ignoring enforcement tools designed to protect the country.

The immigration histories of the 1993 jihadi killers shine light on the vital role that routine enforcement should play in homeland security. In other words, while intelligence collection and other activities specifically focused on terrorists are essential, ordinary enforcement has shown itself to also be an important way to exclude, detect, or detain potential terrorists.

The first layer of immigration security is the visa process abroad. A study by my colleague Steven Camarota found that of the 48 al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in the U.S. from 1993 through 9/11, at least 41 of them had been issued visas of some kind.

That includes several of the 1993 WTC plotters. One of them, Mohammed Salameh, was issued a tourist visa in Jordan in 1988. Under no circumstances should it have been approved. This is not because our consular staff was supposed to know he was going to commit a terrorist act but because he was almost the Platonic ideal of an “intending immigrant,” i.e., someone likely to overstay his visa rather than return home. Salameh was a single, 19-year-old man without roots or property and earning $50 a month. That the State Department gave a tourist visa to anyone fitting that description was a dereliction of duty.

Nor was that a one-time lapse. Joel Mowbray wrote in National Review about obtaining the visa applications of 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks. (The State Department destroyed the others before he could get them.) Not one of them should have been approved, on the same routine grounds as Salameh should have been denied. And yet they were approved, because of a pervasive culture within the State Department, summed up by the consul general in Riyadh at the time, Thomas Furey: “People gotta have their visas!” This view, that foreign visa applicants rather than the American people are to be served, continues; the number of student visas issued to Saudis, for instance, is up more than 500 percent from 9/11.

The next layer of immigration security is the border itself. Both Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 bombing, and co-conspirator Ahmed Ajaj entered the country in 1992 with fake passports — on the same plane. Yousef boarded the plane with a fake British passport but at JFK presented a fake Iraqi passport and promptly applied for asylum. But owing to a lack of detention space, he was released with a summons to return for his hearing. Ajaj, who had earlier applied for asylum before but didn’t bother to follow up, presented a phony Swedish passport on this return flight, and had bomb-making manuals and other fake passports on him when arrested. But, again, the border inspectors’ vigilance was for naught, because after serving six months in jail for passport fraud he was released rather than delivered to Immigration and Naturalization Service for deportation.

Of the seven plotters in the 1993 attack, at least three were, or had been, visa overstays, entering on tourist visas and simply staying. A proper entry-exit tracking system at the border, checking foreign visitors in when they arrive andchecking them out when they leave, is imperative to identifying overstays. Congress has mandated the completion of such a system eight times since 1996, and, while the check-in part has improved, there’s still no real exit-tracking system. This is especially disturbing because new research suggests that most new illegal immigrants are now visa overstays, not border jumpers.

None of the 1993 attackers snuck across the border, but other terrorists have. Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, for instance, part of a plot to bomb the New York subway system in 1997, was caught by the Border Patrol three times while sneaking across the Canadian border. After taking him back twice, the Canadian authorities said he was our problem. But instead of being detained in the United States, he was released after promising to attend an immigration hearing. Instead he made his way to Brooklyn, and his plot was only foiled because of a police informant.

Here, too, the administration has weakened security. Last summer’s surge of Central American border-crossers made clear that not only can children and single mothers sneak into the United States with relative ease but that, if they are caught, the Border Patrol is required to release them and even deliver them free of charge to their illegal-alien relatives in the United States. Are ISIS — or al-Qaeda, or al-Shabaab — taking advantage of this laxity at the border? We don’t know — yet.

Read more

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x