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Thread: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Menaces to Our Shores

  1. #1
    Guest
    "Crave death....Make sure that nobody is following you....Bring knives, your will, IDs, your passport....Pray: 'Oh God, you who open all doors, please open all doors for me, open all venues for me, open all avenues for me.'"

    These were some of the handwritten instructions found in September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta's abandoned luggage. If he could send a message from hell-where he surely went after he piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center-Atta would have good news for his band of homicidal brothers around the world: The doors to America are still wide open.

    When we assess the security of our borders, our immigration laws, and our tourism policies, we must view them through the cold eyes of a terrorist killer. We must ask at every turn: What would Mohamed do? How would he exploit our entry points, evade detection, and blend into the American mainstream? What would an instruction manual for Atta's future conspirators trying to reach our shores look like?

    Top-secret intelligence wouldn't be needed to compile such a field guide. Everything a terrorist needs to know about infiltrating this country is readily available from newspapers, television broadcasts, the Internet, and government publications.

    Invading America:
    A Post-September 11 Checklist

    Pick Your Passageway: Air, Sea, or Land

    Exploit airport insecurity

    At Los Angeles International Airport, inspectors report that supervisors instructed them not to respond to concerns from airlines about illegal immigrants elsewhere in the airport because it would distract them from their number one mission: processing passengers. Sound too dangerous to be true?

    A February 12, 2002, memo issued by the Los Angeles acting deputy port director Michael Cochran ordered inspection agents: "Unless there is some special, extenuating circumstance, we are not to respond to calls from airlines requesting that we examine the documents of suspected illegal aliens....[Even] if something 'special' does come up, i.e., suspected terrorists, kidnapping, slavery or other, we should not go and arrest groups of people."

    One disgusted LAX inspector's reaction to the orders: "God help the American public."

    At JFK International Airport in New York City, harried airport inspectors admit they don't even look at visas before stamping their approval nor do they request required documentation, because it would take too much time.

    At Miami International Airport, too, the daily crush of passengers causes immigration inspectors to compromise security measures against their better judgment. More concerned with appearances than public safety, top Miami INS bureaucrats-still employed by the agency in sensitive positions-released criminal alien visitors from their custody in order to relieve overcrowding and create a false impression of efficiency for visiting members of Congress.

    Former and current agents say they felt like "stamp monkeys." They blame managers for appeasing the airline industry instead of enforcing the law, and report that even after September 11, they were urged by supervisors not to waste time checking terrorist watch lists.

    As if these dangerous compromises aren't enough to deal with, there are also the untold numbers of illegal aliens who have infiltrated high-security areas at more than a dozen American airports (at least 450 had been rounded up by the end of April 2002 as part of the federal government's "Operation Tarmac" crackdown). And then there's the entrenched incompetence of security workers.

    In March 2002, a USA Today investigation found that undercover government testers at thirty-two of the nation's airports were able to sneak knives through security checkpoints 70 percent of the time, simulated explosives 60 percent of the time, and guns 30 percent of the time between November 2001 and February 2002 while the airports were on highest alert. A follow-up test by the Transportation Security Administration in May 2002 at thirty-two airports nationwide found that one in four times, screeners failed to detect simulated weapons (including guns, dynamite, and bombs). In Cincinnati, Jacksonville, and Las Vegas, screeners failed to detect potentially dangerous items in at least half the tests. At Los Angeles International Airport, the failure rate was 41 percent.

    No doubt terrorists and their sympathizers received word of these security holes with evil glee.

    Slip through the seaports

    At least two terrorist conspirators-Los Angeles International Airport millennium bombing plotters Abdelghani Meskini and Abdel Hakim Tizegha-entered the United States by hitching rides on ships from Algeria.

    In the spring of 2002, INS officials knew of four Pakistani, five Mexican, and four Turkish crew members who similarly jumped ship. Despite heightened security measures taken after September 11, all of the fugitive sailors escaped from cargo ships after docking in Norfolk, Virginia. The INS admitted that at this one port alone, crews of forty foreign cargo vessels have been allowed ashore without proper authorization since December 2001.

    While most returned, the Pakistanis bailed out on March 15, 2002, and caught cabs and buses to cities across the country. The Mexicans abandoned their ship a week later. The Turks slipped off a week after that. As of July 2002, none of the Mexicans and Turks had been caught, and only two of the Pakistanis had been found.

    On April 2, 2002, another crew almost eluded the INS. In Hawaii, nine Chinese men who had been rescued from a burning Indonesian oil tanker fled from the hotel where they were staying and into the population. Donald Radcliffe, district director for the INS office in Honolulu, said the agency didn't take them into custody because "we thought they'd play by the rules."

    Island residents snitched on the crewmembers, who were hiding somewhere on Oahu, and the fugitives turned themselves in a week later. Soon after, they requested asylum and remained in federal custody pending hearings.

    A less comfortable, but often effective, means of travel is the stowaway alternative. In May 2002, the United States Coast Guard alerted federal, state, and local law enforcement officials that it had received intelligence information that "twenty-five Islamic extremists" linked to the al Qaeda network had entered America on prominent commercial cargo vessels through the ports of Miami, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Long Beach, California. According to Senator Bob Graham of Florida, the suspects allegedly dressed as stevedores, wearing orange vests and hard hats to avoid detection.

    In October 2001, a suspected Egyptian-born terrorist was discovered inside a cargo container on a ship bound from Italy to Canada. He had a satellite phone, a cell phone, and a laptop computer. Italian authorities believe the stowaway was an al Qaeda operative.

    Only about 3 percent of all cargo containers on ships coming into the United States are inspected. In January 2002, the Customs Service announced a "container security initiative" to prescreen high-risk containers at high-volume megaports overseas. But eight months after the September 11 attacks, the New Jersey Bergen Record reported that the INS still had no patrols monitoring major seaports in the United States for stowaways.

    Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution concluded that neglecting inspection of cargo containers "may be our single greatest vulnerability that we have not yet made much progress toward addressing."

    Walk around the rubber orange cones

    Porous. Weak. Ineffective. Swiss-cheese. Those are the polite adjectives used by our own immigration officials to describe America's four-thousand-mile border to the north and our two-thousand-mile border to the south. The September 11 hijackers all came through the front door, but illegal immigration through Canada and Mexico is the passageway of countless terrorist brethren.

    Many northern border stations remain unguarded at night. To dissuade potential foreign threats from crossing, agents leave out rubber orange cones. In Pembina, North Dakota, illegal border-crossers drive around a twelve-foot steel barricade with a laughable warning that reads "Avoid Heavy Penalty" and asks intruders to check in when they see the nearest guards. The 917-mile stretch of border in the Grand Forks sector has about one field agent for every thirty-eight miles.

    In Blaine, Washington, retired deputy chief Border Patrol agent Eugene Davis estimated that "there has been no effort to locate 95 percent" of aliens apprehended in his region over the past decade and released pending deportation hearings. "They have simply been allowed to disappear in the United States. No one knows whether a number of these missing persons are trained terrorists who will eventually emerge to perpetrate more acts of terrorism against innocent United States citizens."

    In the Detroit sector, which encompasses some eight hundred miles of water boundaries with Canada, patrol boats are scarce and cameras were "falling apart" prior to September 11, according to veteran border agent Mark Lindemann. Many sectors will receive new camera equipment to help detect border crossers, but as seasoned agents quip, they've never met a camera that can climb down from a pole and take an illegal alien into custody.

    At the Buffalo-Niagara bridges along the United States-Canada border, an average of 23,400 cars, trucks, buses, and trains cross every day-more than 8.5 million last year. Nearly 99 percent of that traffic enters the country without inspection. William Dietzel, a retired supervisor of customs inspections in Buffalo, notes: "If people knew the actual number of cars, trucks, and train cars that are opened up and searched thoroughly for weapons and terrorists, it would scare them."

    Despite recent efforts to step up security, the story remains the same in the south. Bin Laden-funded operatives can pay cheap prices for escorts, join global smuggling rings, bribe corrupt immigration officials, or ride the rails undetected from Mexico along with hundreds of thousands of other "undocumented workers."

    These law-breakers have grown so accustomed to our high tolerance for illegal immigration that some are actually suing the United States for not providing water stations on their illegal journeys into our country. INS commissioner James Ziglar responded to demands that America provide better travel amenities to immigration outlaws along the Mexican border by announcing the activation of a half-dozen "rescue beacons"-thirty-foot-tall, solar-powered towers with flashing strobe lights and "alarm buttons" illegal aliens can use to summon help. (Next step: free continental breakfasts and pillows with mints?)

    We don't have borders. We have the world's longest back-door welcome mats. Just watch out for those pesky rubber cones and remember to bring your own bottled water.

    Game the System: Marriage Fraud, Asylum, or Amnesty

    Once a terrorist of Mohamed Atta's ilk has made it to our shores, there are numerous ways for him to stay in the United States.

    Get hitched

    You can't buy love, but if you can persuade an American to marry you, you can buy yourself invaluable time, legal residence, and eventual citizenship. Marriage fraud, says Richard Gottlieb, officer in charge of the North Carolina INS, is "like the path of least resistance." Once you make it into this country, you're bound to find a willing American citizen to play a treacherous version of "Who Wants to Marry a Militant?"

    Convicted 1993 World Trade Center conspirator El Sayyid A. Nosair marched down the aisle with Karen Ann Mills Sweeney, an American-born convert to Islam, just as he was facing possible deportation for overstaying his visa. As a result, he secured legal permanent residence status and later became a naturalized American citizen.

    So did Osama bin Laden's personal secretary, Wadih el Hage, who married an American in 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 1989. Khalid Abu al Dahab, who plotted the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, struck gold after marrying three American women, and finally obtained U.S. citizenship.

    Ali Mohammed, another top terrorist aide to bin Laden who was convicted for his role in the embassy bombings, also became an American citizen after marrying a woman he met on a plane trip from Egypt to New York.

    Eight Middle Eastern men who plotted to bomb New York landmarks-Fadil Abdelgani, Amir Abdelgani, Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, Tarig Elhassan, Abdo Mohammed Haggag, Fares Khallafalla, Mohammed Saleh, and Matarawy Mohammed Said Saleh-all obtained legal permanent residence by marrying American citizens.

    So did Zuhaier Ben Mohammed Rouissi, a Tunisian national with ties to top terrorist suspects. He paid Christy Layne of Canton, Ohio, $1,100 to marry him after his tourist visa lapsed. Lebanon-born Chawki Youssef Hammoud hooked up with Jessica Yolanda Fortune in 1994. Hammoud's marriage afforded him a green card windfall-and the cover to operate a cell that allegedly smuggled cigarettes to raise cash for the terrorist Hezbollah organization. Fortune was convicted of marriage fraud in October 2001.

    Hammoud's brother, Mohammed, married three different American citizens. After arriving in the United States on a counterfeit visa, receiving a deportation order, and filing an appeal, he wed Sabina Edwards and sought a green card. Suspicious INS officials refused to award him legal status after this first marriage was deemed bogus in 1994.

    Undaunted, he married Jessica Wedel in May 1997, and while still wed to her, paid the already married Angela Tsioumas to marry him in Detroit. The Tsioumas union netted Hammoud temporary legal residence, and they settled in Charlotte, North Carolina, where law enforcement officials say they operated an elaborate smuggling and terrorist-related ring.

    Tsioumas, who bragged to others that she would "marry any of them for the right price," entered a plea agreement in March 2002 on charges of conspiracy. The Hammoud brothers went on trial in May 2002 for their role in skirting immigration laws, cigarette smuggling, and money laundering in support of terrorism. They were found guilty on all counts in June 2002.

    Say the magic words: "political asylum"

    Our most generous historic offer to the world's politically oppressed-shelter from tyranny-is routinely used against us by our enemies. Uttering "political asylum" is the immigration equivalent of "Open sesame."

    Among the foreign America-haters who invoked asylum: convicted murderer Mir Aimal Kansi and World Trade Center bomb plotters Ramzi Yousef and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.

    Untold numbers of asylum claimants are released on their own recognizance, and promptly disappear. Asylum hearings are often delayed for a year or more. Fraud is, yes, rampant. In fact, it is so "out of control," a GAO report noted in early 2002, that investigators found a 90 percent rate of fraud in a preliminary review of five thousand petitions for asylum. A more detailed follow-up review of 1,500 of those petitions could locate only one that was bona fide.

    Among those who attempted to take advantage of our generosity: Mohdar Mohamed Abdoulah, a former San Diego State University student from Yemen suspected of aiding and befriending at least three of the September 11 hijackers. In May 2000, he filed what federal prosecutors now charge is a false asylum application claiming to be a persecuted minority from Somalia. After his arrest in May 2002, Abdoulah spoke of "the hatred in his heart" for the United States government, and railed that the United States brought "this on themselves," according to federal prosecutors.

    Could Emma Lazarus, who wrote the famous sonnet affixed to the Statue of Liberty, ever have imagined our nation embracing the likes of Abdoulah and other terrorist travelers when she beckoned to the poor "wretched refuse" of foreign shores?

    Wait it out

    "If you get into this country, temporary is permanent," says former INS investigations chief Jack Shaw. "If you're in, you stay...and you wait for the next legalization program or amnesty to come along."

    That's what convicted 1993 World Trade Center bomber Mahmud Abouhalima did. He arrived in the United States with a tourist visa in 1985. After his six-month visa expired, he joined millions of other illegal aliens in this country who entered legally and then simply overstayed without fear of detection or punishment. He was rewarded with legal permanent residence thanks to an amnesty for illegal immigrants granted by Congress in 1986, and he obtained his green card in 1988.

    For illegal overstayers, border-crossers, ship-jumpers, and even known terrorists, federal law provides another escape route: the 245(i) program. Illegal aliens in any of these categories who have found an employer or spouse to petition for their residency status need only pay a measly $1,000 fee to "adjust their status" and gain permanent residence without leaving the United States. Usually, these alien lawbreakers would be forced to leave the United States and reapply for visas in their home countries (which involves fresh background checks by consular offices with access to their native criminal records).

    Many would be barred from returning to America for up to ten years. But under 245(i), passed by Congress with bipartisan support, more than half a million foreigners forked over the token fine between 1994 and 1997 and avoided legal hassles. The program was supposed to be temporary, but immigrants' rights groups lobbied successfully for extending the deadline. Based on INS data, analysts for the Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated that one-quarter of all legal immigrants being "admitted" to the United States are actually people who came here illegally and are adjusting their status largely as a result of 245(i). Congress was heading toward permanent extension of the program before September 11-and President George W. Bush joined Democrats in crusading for this mini-amnesty even after the terrorist attacks.

    For those foreign law-breakers who don't bother with the paperwork, the rewards are generous: Driver's licenses. Taxpayer identification numbers. College tuition breaks. Banking privileges. Health care. Meanwhile, the risks of getting caught, detained, and deported are negligible. There are only two thousand INS agents assigned to interior enforcement (chasing after illegals once they've entered the country). And there are only twenty thousand detention beds to hold aliens-if the INS ever bothers to take them.

    On Memorial Day weekend in 2002, with the nation on high terror alert, the agency shrugged its shoulders when New York City police tried to turn in seven illegal aliens from the Middle East who had been arrested with false identification cards in a dilapidated van near a major tunnel. "These men posed no terrorist threat or, for that matter, any threat to the community," an INS spokesperson told the New York Post, which broke the story. The agency ordered furious cops to release the men who were all admitted illegal aliens!

    Even if they're ordered deported, illegal aliens are usually let go on their own recognizance after posting minimal bonds and are never seen again. Those who actually show up for hearings can still game the system through endless appeals to soft-on-crime judges. The system favors aliens' rights over citizens' safety.

    Senior Border Patrol agent Mark Hall, whose union represents officers who patrol the United States-Canadian border in Michigan and Ohio, summed it up for Congress: "When illegal aliens are released, we send a disturbing message. The aliens quickly pass on the word about how easy it is to enter this country illegally and remain here. This practice is devastating to our sound border enforcement strategy."

    Travel First-Class: Visas and Tickets, Please

    Would you believe getting a visa from the State Department is easier than getting a Visa credit card?

    The visa-vending machine

    In the six months following the attacks, the State Department issued more than fifty thousand new tourist, business, and student visas to non-Israeli visitors from the Middle East-and another 140,000 new visitor visas to individuals across southern Asia, a haven for al Qaeda.

    In addition, more than nine thousand people born in the Middle East (excluding Israel) and more than nineteen thousand from South Asia received immigrant visas between September 2001 and February 2002. In the last five years alone, nearly 1.5 million visitors and immigrants from fifteen nations where Osama bin Laden's network has a large presence streamed into the United States.

    Between January 2000 and November 2001, nearly 4,800 Arab and Muslim young men from al Qaeda strongholds entered the United States legally on temporary visas issued by the State Department. After the September 11 attacks, the Justice Department was able to track down fewer than half of those men for questioning. Welcomed with open arms, thousands more of these Middle Eastern guests continue to walk through the front door and disappear without a trace.

    Now, suppose a known bin Laden operative brazenly tried to apply for a visa today under his true identity. Would you believe he might still have a chance of getting in? State Department form DS-156-the official nonimmigrant visa application-asks the following questions: "Do you seek to enter the U.S. to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose? Are you a member of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State?"

    According to the form, "A YES answer does not automatically signify ineligibility for a visa." That's right. "Mere" membership in a terrorist organization is no bar to coming to America for pleasure, education, business-or bloody subversion.

    After September 11, it seemed America might get serious about stemming the flow of visitors from al Qaeda-friendly countries. "Arab, Muslim Men to Get Tougher U.S. Visa Screening," announced the Washington Post. The new security measures introduced in November 2001 included longer wait times for FBI background checks on Arab and Muslim male applicants from twenty-five countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

    But even as the security measures were being introduced, American diplomats in Saudi Arabia rushed to assure Middle Eastern tourists that visa eligibility criteria had not changed. The State Department stressed that a supplemental application form for young Arab and Muslim males aged sixteen to forty-five was temporary. And despite the fact that fifteen of the nineteen September 11 hijackers obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia, and three of them skipped the usual interview process through the Visa Express program so prevalent there, the program remained in place nine months after the attacks.

    If the next Mohamed Atta can't get the overseas visa-vending machine to work by legal means, foreign-born officers working in American consulates are ripe targets for bribery. United States consular officer Arcelia Betansis, a Mexican-born, naturalized American citizen stationed in Juarez, Mexico, was convicted in April 2002 for accepting bribes and gratuities in return for expediting visa approvals for 497 people, including drug traffickers. Yemeni national Abdullah Noman, who was arrested in October 2001 and pled guilty in May 2002, used his position as a United States consular officer in Saudi Arabia to sell false visas to hundreds of illegal immigrants from the Middle East. Federal authorities have no idea where these immigrants are.

    Said Assistant United States Attorney Lee Vilker: "Once they slip into the country, it's almost impossible to track them down." In July, the State Department disclosed that federal authorities were seeking twenty-nine aliens suspected of bribing U.S. embassy workers in Qatar for visas. The scheme allegedly involved a total of seventy-one Middle East nationals and at least two U.S. embassy workers (one a Jordanian national, the other a U.S. citizen). Also among the alleged participants: two bogus visa-holders who reportedly lived with the September 11 hijackers the summer before the attacks.

    A Heinz 57 variety of visas

    Attention terrorists: Are you having a hard time getting into England? How about France? Or even Canada? Tired of being turned down for a visa? Why not try the United States of America, where our motto is: "No visa, no problem"? We have already given out thousands of visas to people who can't get admitted to other countries. Terrorists like you. And you. So what are you waiting for? Yes. Whether you're a suicide bomber, a shoe bomber, or even the big man himself-you can't be denied. U.S. visas: Everywhere you terrorists want to be.

    That was how comedian Jay Leno spoofed America's lax entrance policies earlier this spring. He and his sketch-writers are closer to the truth than they could possibly imagine. We peddle visas and green cards (for permanent legal residents) like used cars: cheap, quick, and sleazy. In 2000, 10 million visitors arrived on short-term tourist visas, while another 2.5 million traveled here on business visas, and millions more obtained longer-term visas and green cards.

    In April 2002, the INS proposed eliminating the minimum six-month stay guaranteed to tourists with B-1 business and B-2 pleasure visas (which eighteen of the nineteen September 11 hijackers had legally obtained to gain initial entry into America). But as Cleveland immigration lawyer Jeffrey Moeller asks: "Whether you give them thirty days or six months, who cares? Once they've crossed the border they have the capacity to disappear."

    With a total of fifty-seven categories of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas-many of which are for sale to the highest foreign bidder-bin Laden-funded terrorists have myriad paths to choose from. Here are just a few:

    Buy a high-tech ticket

    Data from the United States Department of Labor reveals that four Muslim charities under federal investigation for ties to terrorism applied for high-tech, or H-1B visas, on behalf of at least sixteen workers over the past few years. Three of the charities-the Global Relief Foundation of Bridgeview, Illinois, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Richardson, Texas, and the Benevolence International Foundation of Palos Heights, Illinois-had their assets frozen by the Treasury Department after the September 11 attacks. The fourth, Islamic Relief Worldwide in Burbank, California, accepted $50,000 from an alleged bin Laden front group at its British office, according to Treasury officials.

    The H-1B program grants nonimmigrant visas to nearly 200,000 "temporary" foreign workers every year to fill high-tech positions. The cost to applicants is $1,000 per visa, which allows a foreigner to stay in the United States for up to six years-and later apply for permanent residency. Applicants are required to have at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to their proposed employment. This foreign employment program, launched in 1992, has quickly evolved into another all-purpose visa giveaway. Fashion models, artists, and "essential support personnel" for foreign entertainers or athletes are among the "highly skilled" workers eligible for H-1B status.

    Leaving aside the questionable rationale for such a large foreign-worker program at a time when the technology industry is undergoing layoffs, H-1B fraud is out of control and poses a substantial national security threat in the War on Terror. The GAO found that the INS had no reliable system for tracking _H-1B applications. As a result, immigration officials exceeded the legal cap on H-1B visas by untold thousands.

    INS employees told the GAO that "because of pressure to adjudicate cases quickly, they did not routinely use investigations staff to look into potentially fraudulent applications because doing so would take more time and reduce the number of applications they could complete." In addition, H-1B workers from China were recently charged with conspiring to steal sensitive technology from American companies and selling it to firms in their native land.

    The Bush administration has no plans to bar H-1B applicants from terrorist-friendly nations, or otherwise to curtail the program.

    Diversity lottery: Play to win

    Thanks to Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, tens of thousands of foreigners can gamble for a shot at one of America's highly coveted permanent resident immigrant visas ("green cards") every year. Senator Kennedy essentially championed the visa lottery as a way for Irish illegal immigrants to gain amnesty. But it has become yet another way for individuals from al Qaeda-friendly nations to get their foot in the door.

    During the past five years, 7,409 lottery visas were awarded to applicants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Afghanistan. In June 2002, the State Department announced that in the most recent lottery, terrorist-friendly Saudi Arabia and Egypt drew 38 and 1,551 lucky winners respectively; al Qaeda stronghold Yemen had 44 diversity lottery recipients. Afghanistan claimed 45 winners; official state sponsors of terrorism Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Syria clinched a total of 2,259 lottery winners.

    Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet underscores the danger of blindly granting visa lottery tickets to foreigners from America-hating regions of the world. On July 4, 2002, Hadayet shot two people to death and wounded three others at the El Al Israel Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport. How did he get here and stay here? He entered legally in July 1992 on a six-month visa. After overstaying, he filed for permanent residency, but was denied in 1996 for reasons that the INS says are "unclear." The INS began deportation procedures, but in 1997 the gunman won permanent residency status through his wife-one of the thousands of lucky winners from the Middle East who obtained a visa through the Diversity Lottery program.

    The next Visa Lottery drawing is scheduled for fall 2002. A spokeswoman told me the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs has no plans to bar entrants from terrorist-sponsoring nations. Good luck, Mohamed.

    The so-called "Diversity Visa Lottery," part of the 1990 Immigration Act, is conducted by the State Department and allots up to 55,000 such visas to individuals from mostly non-Western countries around the world, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and Sudan, and other terrorist havens across Africa and Asia.

    There is no application fee or special application form. The only eligibility rules are a clean criminal record, a clean bill of health, and a high school diploma/equivalent or two years of work experience. Illegal immigrants in the United States are eligible. Winners can apply for residency for family members. Despite photo and signature requirements, fraud is rampant.

    Study with the enemy

    September 11 terrorist Hani Hanjour and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Eyad Ismoil entered America legally with F-1 student visas, then dropped out of sight after failing to enroll or complete their required coursework. Among the more than one million foreigners who now hold student visas in the United States, how many others are sleeper terrorists who have slipped through the cracks and disappeared?

    In May 2002, federal prosecutors cracked down on a separate student visa fraud ring involving 130 foreigners accused of paying substitutes to take English-language proficiency exams to meet their visa requirements. Nearly sixty Middle Eastern men and women in thirteen states were arrested. One of the suspects had flight manuals, photos of people outside the World Trade Center, and a date book with only one entry: September 11. Another suspect also had apparent flight training materials in his car. Yet another alleged bogus test-taker linked to the ring, Saudi national Saleh Ali Almari, came here on a student visa and enrolled at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, in the fall of 2000, but did not take classes.

    Between 1989 and 1995, nearly one hundred Middle Easterners paid bribes to community college teachers and administrators in San Diego-the home base for at least two of the September 11 terrorists-in exchange for counterfeit admission papers and grades, which allowed them to get student visas. The mastermind of the scheme, Iranian-American businessman Sam Koutchesfahani, pled guilty to visa fraud in 1998, along with officials from six colleges. But the whereabouts of his "students," who poured a total of $350,000 into the plot, remain frighteningly unknown.

    Elite U.S. colleges and universities continue to help train students from America's most hostile enemy countries. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Sudan-all listed by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism-sent nearly ten thousand students to the United States on academic visas between 1991 and 1996.

    Many of these students enrolled in programs that could be used to build biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. Not until May 2002 did the federal government announce plans to intensify screening of foreign student visa applicants seeking to study nuclear and missile technology, aircraft propulsion, information security, and marine technology. In addition to these thousands of students from official state sponsors of terrorism, al Qaeda-friendly countries send thousands more. In the 2000-2001 school year, Saudi Arabia sent more than 5,000 students; Mohamed Atta's native Egypt sent nearly 2,300.

    The lack of a comprehensive, mandatory tracking system to ensure that foreign students show up at their designated schools and leave after graduation makes the F-1 program a wide portal for terrorists. To this day, the government has no idea how many of the one million foreigners admitted into America on student visas are actually going to school in compliance with their visas.

    In May 2002, INS commissioner James Ziglar and Attorney General John Ashcroft trumpeted the launch of a new Internet-based foreign student tracking system scheduled to be implemented in July 2002. But participation in the system by more than seventy thousand American schools-many of whose leaders oppose the tracking system as an administrative nuisance-will be voluntary. The INS is hoping for full mandatory participation by the end of January 2003. But just a few weeks after the ambitious announcement by Ziglar and Ashcroft, the Justice Department's Inspector General raised "serious concerns about the INS's ability to fully implement" the system on time.

    Two wings and a prayer

    As with every other major visa category, terrorists and other individuals with ties to terrorism have slipped through the religious worker visa program. Among those in the United States with religious-based visas: 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, and four Palestinian men who worked for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the Islamic Association for Palestine-both Muslim charities that have been tied by the State Department to the terrorist organization Hamas.

    The religious worker visa program allows thousands of foreigners to fly to America to fill domestic shortages among ministries, nunneries, and other religious professionals. In 1998, some eleven thousand foreigners received these "R" visas. In 2000, the GAO highlighted persistent lapses in policing applications for fraud during the past decade. "Neither INS nor [the] State [Department] knows the overall extent of fraud in the religious worker visa program," the GAO reported. Federal investigators discovered fraud rings involving churches and other religious institutions based in Colombia, Fiji, and Russia.

    There are no plans to prevent the R visa program from being used in the future as a Radical Muslim Cleric Immigration plan.

    Cashing in

    Foreigners from some al Qaeda-friendly countries (including Egypt and Pakistan) can enter the U.S. if they fork over a $150,000 investment and agree to manage U.S.-based businesses. Well-funded terrorists would be wise to choose this visa option. These E-2 "investor treaty" visas take as little as two days to process and can be renewed indefinitely. Investors can bring their spouses, children, and key employees with them.

    In March 2002, an INS internal memo noted that $300 million was transferred into the United States illegally under another investor program, and that "open questions remain as to the background of the vast majority of the alien beneficiaries of this program." This EB-5 immigrant investor visa law allows up to ten thousand wealthy foreigners and their families each year to buy immigrant visas in exchange for business investments. The law says the down payment must be at least $500,000.

    But former INS officials-turned-private-consultants-such as former INS general counsel Paul Virtue-successfully lobbied for loosened financial rules. Supposedly, the EB-5 program uses the promise of citizenship to attract substantial overseas investment to aid struggling American businesses.

    But the benefits of this economic development plan have gone mostly to former immigration officials, who formed lucrative limited partnerships to cash in on their access. Immigrant investors paid token fees to these partnerships. The partnerships secured promissory notes for the remainder of the foreign investments, which were forgiven after investors received their permanent green cards. Former INS employees, working for these partnerships, aggressively lobbied their old colleagues to accept the dubious financial arrangements. As a result, aliens were paying a fraction of the required minimum investment, and almost all of the monies went to the general partners and the companies who set up the limited partners. A Baltimore Sun investigation found "only a tiny fraction of the money ever made it to the companies seeking assistance."

    Worse, the INS admitted in a report to Congress that it "is unable to quantify the incidence of fraudulent activity in the EB-5 program."

    Despite recent reforms, the scam continues around the world. The program is well known in the Middle East. Here is what one immigration firm, Acker Choquette Advocates, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, promises immigrant investor applicants on its Web site: "Financing is available, with low initial cash investment of US $136,000.00. Minimum physical presence in the US is all that is required, along with the intent to remain a permanent resident."

    No visa necessary

    Jay Leno was joking, but it's the truth: American visas are everywhere terrorists want to be. For those terrorists who can't get a visa, though, there's still no need to despair. You can leave home without it and still fly into our country legally.

    Travel without a visa

    The "Transit Without a Visa" program was created in 1952 to help with the resettlement of World War II refugees, most of whom had no identity or travel documents to obtain visas. But half a century after its inception, this obsolete humanitarian program has morphed into a lucrative marketing gimmick for the travel industry. The program waives visa requirements for passengers who are ostensibly passing briefly through the United States on their way to final destinations abroad. During the past three years, more than 5 million airline passengers-accounting for roughly 5 percent of all foreign nationals entering the country through airports-were routed here under the Transit Without a Visa program.

    Airlines are responsible for guarding and escorting passengers in transit, and are supposedly liable for damages when they cannot confirm that program participants have actually departed the country. But since the INS does not keep arrival and departure records on a majority of these passengers, the airlines are unaccountable.

    In fact, FBI and INS agents suspect that private guards hired by major airlines at Los Angeles International Airport smuggled visa-less Middle Eastern passengers elsewhere into the United States as part of organized rings. In June 2002, a federal immigration inspector and two private airport security guards were arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly taking part in an alien-smuggling conspiracy that allowed travelers transiting from the Philippines (where al Qaeda has spread) to slip out of Los Angeles International Airport without visas.

    A report by the Justice Department Inspector General after the September 11 attacks warned of continuing lapses in the transit program and concluded that the agency "must take immediate action...to enhance national security." But representatives of the transportation industry argued that terminating the program would be "inconvenient to the traveler" and would result in a loss of business for the airlines. As of July 2002, no action had been taken to curtail the Transit Without a Visa program.

    Visa Waiver program

    Another 17 million visitors to the United States didn't need to bother with visas last year. Pushed vigorously by the hurry-up-and-move-'em-through lobby (the airline, travel, and tourism industries), the Visa Waiver program allows tourists from twenty-eight countries to come to the United States for tourism or business for ninety days or less without obtaining the key entry document used to screen out foreign threats.

    To "facilitate low-risk travel" to the United States, foreign participants in the program need only bring valid passports. Before the ninety-day time period is up, many travelers simply apply for an extension of their stays-or illegally overstay-then settle in comfortably for permanent visits. As with every other "low-risk" visa program created to ease entry into the country, fraud is rampant and largely unchecked. Some 100,000 passports issued by Visa Waiver countries have been stolen in recent years. Belgium has more lost or stolen passports than any other Visa Waiver program participant but has retained its eligibility.

    Worse, federal investigators found that even after September 11, INS inspectors at four international airports-Miami, Dulles-Washington, D.C., Honolulu, and John F. Kennedy in New York City-were failing to check for stolen and fraudulent passports; they were also failing to check visa-less passengers' names on terrorist watch lists.

    Remember the spiritual exhortation that the terrorist hijackers were instructed to recite before their deadly mission: "Oh God, you who open all doors, please open all doors for me, open all venues for me, open all avenues for me."

    From our consular offices to our airports, seaports, and land borders, and from our visa policies to our asylum policies to our naturalization policies and deportation policies, every front, back, and side door to America has been left swinging in the wind. Our government remains ill-equipped, incapable, and unwilling to keep out, track down, and remove foreign law-breakers. We remain paralyzed by political correctness, greed, and schizophrenia about enforcing our immigration rules.

    Before the next Mohamed traipses through the door and leads more hordes of America-haters on another mission of death and destruction, we must decide once and for all:


    Will we stop putting tourism dollars over national security?


    Will we stop putting diplomatic interests over national security?


    Will we stop putting customer service over national security?


    Will we stop putting ethnic votes over national security?


    Will we stop putting alien rights over national security?

    Only when we put national security first can we defeat the Mohamed Attas of the world.

  2. #2
    Guest
    "Crave death....Make sure that nobody is following you....Bring knives, your will, IDs, your passport....Pray: 'Oh God, you who open all doors, please open all doors for me, open all venues for me, open all avenues for me.'"

    These were some of the handwritten instructions found in September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta's abandoned luggage. If he could send a message from hell-where he surely went after he piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center-Atta would have good news for his band of homicidal brothers around the world: The doors to America are still wide open.

    When we assess the security of our borders, our immigration laws, and our tourism policies, we must view them through the cold eyes of a terrorist killer. We must ask at every turn: What would Mohamed do? How would he exploit our entry points, evade detection, and blend into the American mainstream? What would an instruction manual for Atta's future conspirators trying to reach our shores look like?

    Top-secret intelligence wouldn't be needed to compile such a field guide. Everything a terrorist needs to know about infiltrating this country is readily available from newspapers, television broadcasts, the Internet, and government publications.

    Invading America:
    A Post-September 11 Checklist

    Pick Your Passageway: Air, Sea, or Land

    Exploit airport insecurity

    At Los Angeles International Airport, inspectors report that supervisors instructed them not to respond to concerns from airlines about illegal immigrants elsewhere in the airport because it would distract them from their number one mission: processing passengers. Sound too dangerous to be true?

    A February 12, 2002, memo issued by the Los Angeles acting deputy port director Michael Cochran ordered inspection agents: "Unless there is some special, extenuating circumstance, we are not to respond to calls from airlines requesting that we examine the documents of suspected illegal aliens....[Even] if something 'special' does come up, i.e., suspected terrorists, kidnapping, slavery or other, we should not go and arrest groups of people."

    One disgusted LAX inspector's reaction to the orders: "God help the American public."

    At JFK International Airport in New York City, harried airport inspectors admit they don't even look at visas before stamping their approval nor do they request required documentation, because it would take too much time.

    At Miami International Airport, too, the daily crush of passengers causes immigration inspectors to compromise security measures against their better judgment. More concerned with appearances than public safety, top Miami INS bureaucrats-still employed by the agency in sensitive positions-released criminal alien visitors from their custody in order to relieve overcrowding and create a false impression of efficiency for visiting members of Congress.

    Former and current agents say they felt like "stamp monkeys." They blame managers for appeasing the airline industry instead of enforcing the law, and report that even after September 11, they were urged by supervisors not to waste time checking terrorist watch lists.

    As if these dangerous compromises aren't enough to deal with, there are also the untold numbers of illegal aliens who have infiltrated high-security areas at more than a dozen American airports (at least 450 had been rounded up by the end of April 2002 as part of the federal government's "Operation Tarmac" crackdown). And then there's the entrenched incompetence of security workers.

    In March 2002, a USA Today investigation found that undercover government testers at thirty-two of the nation's airports were able to sneak knives through security checkpoints 70 percent of the time, simulated explosives 60 percent of the time, and guns 30 percent of the time between November 2001 and February 2002 while the airports were on highest alert. A follow-up test by the Transportation Security Administration in May 2002 at thirty-two airports nationwide found that one in four times, screeners failed to detect simulated weapons (including guns, dynamite, and bombs). In Cincinnati, Jacksonville, and Las Vegas, screeners failed to detect potentially dangerous items in at least half the tests. At Los Angeles International Airport, the failure rate was 41 percent.

    No doubt terrorists and their sympathizers received word of these security holes with evil glee.

    Slip through the seaports

    At least two terrorist conspirators-Los Angeles International Airport millennium bombing plotters Abdelghani Meskini and Abdel Hakim Tizegha-entered the United States by hitching rides on ships from Algeria.

    In the spring of 2002, INS officials knew of four Pakistani, five Mexican, and four Turkish crew members who similarly jumped ship. Despite heightened security measures taken after September 11, all of the fugitive sailors escaped from cargo ships after docking in Norfolk, Virginia. The INS admitted that at this one port alone, crews of forty foreign cargo vessels have been allowed ashore without proper authorization since December 2001.

    While most returned, the Pakistanis bailed out on March 15, 2002, and caught cabs and buses to cities across the country. The Mexicans abandoned their ship a week later. The Turks slipped off a week after that. As of July 2002, none of the Mexicans and Turks had been caught, and only two of the Pakistanis had been found.

    On April 2, 2002, another crew almost eluded the INS. In Hawaii, nine Chinese men who had been rescued from a burning Indonesian oil tanker fled from the hotel where they were staying and into the population. Donald Radcliffe, district director for the INS office in Honolulu, said the agency didn't take them into custody because "we thought they'd play by the rules."

    Island residents snitched on the crewmembers, who were hiding somewhere on Oahu, and the fugitives turned themselves in a week later. Soon after, they requested asylum and remained in federal custody pending hearings.

    A less comfortable, but often effective, means of travel is the stowaway alternative. In May 2002, the United States Coast Guard alerted federal, state, and local law enforcement officials that it had received intelligence information that "twenty-five Islamic extremists" linked to the al Qaeda network had entered America on prominent commercial cargo vessels through the ports of Miami, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Long Beach, California. According to Senator Bob Graham of Florida, the suspects allegedly dressed as stevedores, wearing orange vests and hard hats to avoid detection.

    In October 2001, a suspected Egyptian-born terrorist was discovered inside a cargo container on a ship bound from Italy to Canada. He had a satellite phone, a cell phone, and a laptop computer. Italian authorities believe the stowaway was an al Qaeda operative.

    Only about 3 percent of all cargo containers on ships coming into the United States are inspected. In January 2002, the Customs Service announced a "container security initiative" to prescreen high-risk containers at high-volume megaports overseas. But eight months after the September 11 attacks, the New Jersey Bergen Record reported that the INS still had no patrols monitoring major seaports in the United States for stowaways.

    Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution concluded that neglecting inspection of cargo containers "may be our single greatest vulnerability that we have not yet made much progress toward addressing."

    Walk around the rubber orange cones

    Porous. Weak. Ineffective. Swiss-cheese. Those are the polite adjectives used by our own immigration officials to describe America's four-thousand-mile border to the north and our two-thousand-mile border to the south. The September 11 hijackers all came through the front door, but illegal immigration through Canada and Mexico is the passageway of countless terrorist brethren.

    Many northern border stations remain unguarded at night. To dissuade potential foreign threats from crossing, agents leave out rubber orange cones. In Pembina, North Dakota, illegal border-crossers drive around a twelve-foot steel barricade with a laughable warning that reads "Avoid Heavy Penalty" and asks intruders to check in when they see the nearest guards. The 917-mile stretch of border in the Grand Forks sector has about one field agent for every thirty-eight miles.

    In Blaine, Washington, retired deputy chief Border Patrol agent Eugene Davis estimated that "there has been no effort to locate 95 percent" of aliens apprehended in his region over the past decade and released pending deportation hearings. "They have simply been allowed to disappear in the United States. No one knows whether a number of these missing persons are trained terrorists who will eventually emerge to perpetrate more acts of terrorism against innocent United States citizens."

    In the Detroit sector, which encompasses some eight hundred miles of water boundaries with Canada, patrol boats are scarce and cameras were "falling apart" prior to September 11, according to veteran border agent Mark Lindemann. Many sectors will receive new camera equipment to help detect border crossers, but as seasoned agents quip, they've never met a camera that can climb down from a pole and take an illegal alien into custody.

    At the Buffalo-Niagara bridges along the United States-Canada border, an average of 23,400 cars, trucks, buses, and trains cross every day-more than 8.5 million last year. Nearly 99 percent of that traffic enters the country without inspection. William Dietzel, a retired supervisor of customs inspections in Buffalo, notes: "If people knew the actual number of cars, trucks, and train cars that are opened up and searched thoroughly for weapons and terrorists, it would scare them."

    Despite recent efforts to step up security, the story remains the same in the south. Bin Laden-funded operatives can pay cheap prices for escorts, join global smuggling rings, bribe corrupt immigration officials, or ride the rails undetected from Mexico along with hundreds of thousands of other "undocumented workers."

    These law-breakers have grown so accustomed to our high tolerance for illegal immigration that some are actually suing the United States for not providing water stations on their illegal journeys into our country. INS commissioner James Ziglar responded to demands that America provide better travel amenities to immigration outlaws along the Mexican border by announcing the activation of a half-dozen "rescue beacons"-thirty-foot-tall, solar-powered towers with flashing strobe lights and "alarm buttons" illegal aliens can use to summon help. (Next step: free continental breakfasts and pillows with mints?)

    We don't have borders. We have the world's longest back-door welcome mats. Just watch out for those pesky rubber cones and remember to bring your own bottled water.

    Game the System: Marriage Fraud, Asylum, or Amnesty

    Once a terrorist of Mohamed Atta's ilk has made it to our shores, there are numerous ways for him to stay in the United States.

    Get hitched

    You can't buy love, but if you can persuade an American to marry you, you can buy yourself invaluable time, legal residence, and eventual citizenship. Marriage fraud, says Richard Gottlieb, officer in charge of the North Carolina INS, is "like the path of least resistance." Once you make it into this country, you're bound to find a willing American citizen to play a treacherous version of "Who Wants to Marry a Militant?"

    Convicted 1993 World Trade Center conspirator El Sayyid A. Nosair marched down the aisle with Karen Ann Mills Sweeney, an American-born convert to Islam, just as he was facing possible deportation for overstaying his visa. As a result, he secured legal permanent residence status and later became a naturalized American citizen.

    So did Osama bin Laden's personal secretary, Wadih el Hage, who married an American in 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 1989. Khalid Abu al Dahab, who plotted the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, struck gold after marrying three American women, and finally obtained U.S. citizenship.

    Ali Mohammed, another top terrorist aide to bin Laden who was convicted for his role in the embassy bombings, also became an American citizen after marrying a woman he met on a plane trip from Egypt to New York.

    Eight Middle Eastern men who plotted to bomb New York landmarks-Fadil Abdelgani, Amir Abdelgani, Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, Tarig Elhassan, Abdo Mohammed Haggag, Fares Khallafalla, Mohammed Saleh, and Matarawy Mohammed Said Saleh-all obtained legal permanent residence by marrying American citizens.

    So did Zuhaier Ben Mohammed Rouissi, a Tunisian national with ties to top terrorist suspects. He paid Christy Layne of Canton, Ohio, $1,100 to marry him after his tourist visa lapsed. Lebanon-born Chawki Youssef Hammoud hooked up with Jessica Yolanda Fortune in 1994. Hammoud's marriage afforded him a green card windfall-and the cover to operate a cell that allegedly smuggled cigarettes to raise cash for the terrorist Hezbollah organization. Fortune was convicted of marriage fraud in October 2001.

    Hammoud's brother, Mohammed, married three different American citizens. After arriving in the United States on a counterfeit visa, receiving a deportation order, and filing an appeal, he wed Sabina Edwards and sought a green card. Suspicious INS officials refused to award him legal status after this first marriage was deemed bogus in 1994.

    Undaunted, he married Jessica Wedel in May 1997, and while still wed to her, paid the already married Angela Tsioumas to marry him in Detroit. The Tsioumas union netted Hammoud temporary legal residence, and they settled in Charlotte, North Carolina, where law enforcement officials say they operated an elaborate smuggling and terrorist-related ring.

    Tsioumas, who bragged to others that she would "marry any of them for the right price," entered a plea agreement in March 2002 on charges of conspiracy. The Hammoud brothers went on trial in May 2002 for their role in skirting immigration laws, cigarette smuggling, and money laundering in support of terrorism. They were found guilty on all counts in June 2002.

    Say the magic words: "political asylum"

    Our most generous historic offer to the world's politically oppressed-shelter from tyranny-is routinely used against us by our enemies. Uttering "political asylum" is the immigration equivalent of "Open sesame."

    Among the foreign America-haters who invoked asylum: convicted murderer Mir Aimal Kansi and World Trade Center bomb plotters Ramzi Yousef and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.

    Untold numbers of asylum claimants are released on their own recognizance, and promptly disappear. Asylum hearings are often delayed for a year or more. Fraud is, yes, rampant. In fact, it is so "out of control," a GAO report noted in early 2002, that investigators found a 90 percent rate of fraud in a preliminary review of five thousand petitions for asylum. A more detailed follow-up review of 1,500 of those petitions could locate only one that was bona fide.

    Among those who attempted to take advantage of our generosity: Mohdar Mohamed Abdoulah, a former San Diego State University student from Yemen suspected of aiding and befriending at least three of the September 11 hijackers. In May 2000, he filed what federal prosecutors now charge is a false asylum application claiming to be a persecuted minority from Somalia. After his arrest in May 2002, Abdoulah spoke of "the hatred in his heart" for the United States government, and railed that the United States brought "this on themselves," according to federal prosecutors.

    Could Emma Lazarus, who wrote the famous sonnet affixed to the Statue of Liberty, ever have imagined our nation embracing the likes of Abdoulah and other terrorist travelers when she beckoned to the poor "wretched refuse" of foreign shores?

    Wait it out

    "If you get into this country, temporary is permanent," says former INS investigations chief Jack Shaw. "If you're in, you stay...and you wait for the next legalization program or amnesty to come along."

    That's what convicted 1993 World Trade Center bomber Mahmud Abouhalima did. He arrived in the United States with a tourist visa in 1985. After his six-month visa expired, he joined millions of other illegal aliens in this country who entered legally and then simply overstayed without fear of detection or punishment. He was rewarded with legal permanent residence thanks to an amnesty for illegal immigrants granted by Congress in 1986, and he obtained his green card in 1988.

    For illegal overstayers, border-crossers, ship-jumpers, and even known terrorists, federal law provides another escape route: the 245(i) program. Illegal aliens in any of these categories who have found an employer or spouse to petition for their residency status need only pay a measly $1,000 fee to "adjust their status" and gain permanent residence without leaving the United States. Usually, these alien lawbreakers would be forced to leave the United States and reapply for visas in their home countries (which involves fresh background checks by consular offices with access to their native criminal records).

    Many would be barred from returning to America for up to ten years. But under 245(i), passed by Congress with bipartisan support, more than half a million foreigners forked over the token fine between 1994 and 1997 and avoided legal hassles. The program was supposed to be temporary, but immigrants' rights groups lobbied successfully for extending the deadline. Based on INS data, analysts for the Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated that one-quarter of all legal immigrants being "admitted" to the United States are actually people who came here illegally and are adjusting their status largely as a result of 245(i). Congress was heading toward permanent extension of the program before September 11-and President George W. Bush joined Democrats in crusading for this mini-amnesty even after the terrorist attacks.

    For those foreign law-breakers who don't bother with the paperwork, the rewards are generous: Driver's licenses. Taxpayer identification numbers. College tuition breaks. Banking privileges. Health care. Meanwhile, the risks of getting caught, detained, and deported are negligible. There are only two thousand INS agents assigned to interior enforcement (chasing after illegals once they've entered the country). And there are only twenty thousand detention beds to hold aliens-if the INS ever bothers to take them.

    On Memorial Day weekend in 2002, with the nation on high terror alert, the agency shrugged its shoulders when New York City police tried to turn in seven illegal aliens from the Middle East who had been arrested with false identification cards in a dilapidated van near a major tunnel. "These men posed no terrorist threat or, for that matter, any threat to the community," an INS spokesperson told the New York Post, which broke the story. The agency ordered furious cops to release the men who were all admitted illegal aliens!

    Even if they're ordered deported, illegal aliens are usually let go on their own recognizance after posting minimal bonds and are never seen again. Those who actually show up for hearings can still game the system through endless appeals to soft-on-crime judges. The system favors aliens' rights over citizens' safety.

    Senior Border Patrol agent Mark Hall, whose union represents officers who patrol the United States-Canadian border in Michigan and Ohio, summed it up for Congress: "When illegal aliens are released, we send a disturbing message. The aliens quickly pass on the word about how easy it is to enter this country illegally and remain here. This practice is devastating to our sound border enforcement strategy."

    Travel First-Class: Visas and Tickets, Please

    Would you believe getting a visa from the State Department is easier than getting a Visa credit card?

    The visa-vending machine

    In the six months following the attacks, the State Department issued more than fifty thousand new tourist, business, and student visas to non-Israeli visitors from the Middle East-and another 140,000 new visitor visas to individuals across southern Asia, a haven for al Qaeda.

    In addition, more than nine thousand people born in the Middle East (excluding Israel) and more than nineteen thousand from South Asia received immigrant visas between September 2001 and February 2002. In the last five years alone, nearly 1.5 million visitors and immigrants from fifteen nations where Osama bin Laden's network has a large presence streamed into the United States.

    Between January 2000 and November 2001, nearly 4,800 Arab and Muslim young men from al Qaeda strongholds entered the United States legally on temporary visas issued by the State Department. After the September 11 attacks, the Justice Department was able to track down fewer than half of those men for questioning. Welcomed with open arms, thousands more of these Middle Eastern guests continue to walk through the front door and disappear without a trace.

    Now, suppose a known bin Laden operative brazenly tried to apply for a visa today under his true identity. Would you believe he might still have a chance of getting in? State Department form DS-156-the official nonimmigrant visa application-asks the following questions: "Do you seek to enter the U.S. to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose? Are you a member of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State?"

    According to the form, "A YES answer does not automatically signify ineligibility for a visa." That's right. "Mere" membership in a terrorist organization is no bar to coming to America for pleasure, education, business-or bloody subversion.

    After September 11, it seemed America might get serious about stemming the flow of visitors from al Qaeda-friendly countries. "Arab, Muslim Men to Get Tougher U.S. Visa Screening," announced the Washington Post. The new security measures introduced in November 2001 included longer wait times for FBI background checks on Arab and Muslim male applicants from twenty-five countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

    But even as the security measures were being introduced, American diplomats in Saudi Arabia rushed to assure Middle Eastern tourists that visa eligibility criteria had not changed. The State Department stressed that a supplemental application form for young Arab and Muslim males aged sixteen to forty-five was temporary. And despite the fact that fifteen of the nineteen September 11 hijackers obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia, and three of them skipped the usual interview process through the Visa Express program so prevalent there, the program remained in place nine months after the attacks.

    If the next Mohamed Atta can't get the overseas visa-vending machine to work by legal means, foreign-born officers working in American consulates are ripe targets for bribery. United States consular officer Arcelia Betansis, a Mexican-born, naturalized American citizen stationed in Juarez, Mexico, was convicted in April 2002 for accepting bribes and gratuities in return for expediting visa approvals for 497 people, including drug traffickers. Yemeni national Abdullah Noman, who was arrested in October 2001 and pled guilty in May 2002, used his position as a United States consular officer in Saudi Arabia to sell false visas to hundreds of illegal immigrants from the Middle East. Federal authorities have no idea where these immigrants are.

    Said Assistant United States Attorney Lee Vilker: "Once they slip into the country, it's almost impossible to track them down." In July, the State Department disclosed that federal authorities were seeking twenty-nine aliens suspected of bribing U.S. embassy workers in Qatar for visas. The scheme allegedly involved a total of seventy-one Middle East nationals and at least two U.S. embassy workers (one a Jordanian national, the other a U.S. citizen). Also among the alleged participants: two bogus visa-holders who reportedly lived with the September 11 hijackers the summer before the attacks.

    A Heinz 57 variety of visas

    Attention terrorists: Are you having a hard time getting into England? How about France? Or even Canada? Tired of being turned down for a visa? Why not try the United States of America, where our motto is: "No visa, no problem"? We have already given out thousands of visas to people who can't get admitted to other countries. Terrorists like you. And you. So what are you waiting for? Yes. Whether you're a suicide bomber, a shoe bomber, or even the big man himself-you can't be denied. U.S. visas: Everywhere you terrorists want to be.

    That was how comedian Jay Leno spoofed America's lax entrance policies earlier this spring. He and his sketch-writers are closer to the truth than they could possibly imagine. We peddle visas and green cards (for permanent legal residents) like used cars: cheap, quick, and sleazy. In 2000, 10 million visitors arrived on short-term tourist visas, while another 2.5 million traveled here on business visas, and millions more obtained longer-term visas and green cards.

    In April 2002, the INS proposed eliminating the minimum six-month stay guaranteed to tourists with B-1 business and B-2 pleasure visas (which eighteen of the nineteen September 11 hijackers had legally obtained to gain initial entry into America). But as Cleveland immigration lawyer Jeffrey Moeller asks: "Whether you give them thirty days or six months, who cares? Once they've crossed the border they have the capacity to disappear."

    With a total of fifty-seven categories of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas-many of which are for sale to the highest foreign bidder-bin Laden-funded terrorists have myriad paths to choose from. Here are just a few:

    Buy a high-tech ticket

    Data from the United States Department of Labor reveals that four Muslim charities under federal investigation for ties to terrorism applied for high-tech, or H-1B visas, on behalf of at least sixteen workers over the past few years. Three of the charities-the Global Relief Foundation of Bridgeview, Illinois, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Richardson, Texas, and the Benevolence International Foundation of Palos Heights, Illinois-had their assets frozen by the Treasury Department after the September 11 attacks. The fourth, Islamic Relief Worldwide in Burbank, California, accepted $50,000 from an alleged bin Laden front group at its British office, according to Treasury officials.

    The H-1B program grants nonimmigrant visas to nearly 200,000 "temporary" foreign workers every year to fill high-tech positions. The cost to applicants is $1,000 per visa, which allows a foreigner to stay in the United States for up to six years-and later apply for permanent residency. Applicants are required to have at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to their proposed employment. This foreign employment program, launched in 1992, has quickly evolved into another all-purpose visa giveaway. Fashion models, artists, and "essential support personnel" for foreign entertainers or athletes are among the "highly skilled" workers eligible for H-1B status.

    Leaving aside the questionable rationale for such a large foreign-worker program at a time when the technology industry is undergoing layoffs, H-1B fraud is out of control and poses a substantial national security threat in the War on Terror. The GAO found that the INS had no reliable system for tracking _H-1B applications. As a result, immigration officials exceeded the legal cap on H-1B visas by untold thousands.

    INS employees told the GAO that "because of pressure to adjudicate cases quickly, they did not routinely use investigations staff to look into potentially fraudulent applications because doing so would take more time and reduce the number of applications they could complete." In addition, H-1B workers from China were recently charged with conspiring to steal sensitive technology from American companies and selling it to firms in their native land.

    The Bush administration has no plans to bar H-1B applicants from terrorist-friendly nations, or otherwise to curtail the program.

    Diversity lottery: Play to win

    Thanks to Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, tens of thousands of foreigners can gamble for a shot at one of America's highly coveted permanent resident immigrant visas ("green cards") every year. Senator Kennedy essentially championed the visa lottery as a way for Irish illegal immigrants to gain amnesty. But it has become yet another way for individuals from al Qaeda-friendly nations to get their foot in the door.

    During the past five years, 7,409 lottery visas were awarded to applicants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Afghanistan. In June 2002, the State Department announced that in the most recent lottery, terrorist-friendly Saudi Arabia and Egypt drew 38 and 1,551 lucky winners respectively; al Qaeda stronghold Yemen had 44 diversity lottery recipients. Afghanistan claimed 45 winners; official state sponsors of terrorism Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Syria clinched a total of 2,259 lottery winners.

    Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet underscores the danger of blindly granting visa lottery tickets to foreigners from America-hating regions of the world. On July 4, 2002, Hadayet shot two people to death and wounded three others at the El Al Israel Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport. How did he get here and stay here? He entered legally in July 1992 on a six-month visa. After overstaying, he filed for permanent residency, but was denied in 1996 for reasons that the INS says are "unclear." The INS began deportation procedures, but in 1997 the gunman won permanent residency status through his wife-one of the thousands of lucky winners from the Middle East who obtained a visa through the Diversity Lottery program.

    The next Visa Lottery drawing is scheduled for fall 2002. A spokeswoman told me the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs has no plans to bar entrants from terrorist-sponsoring nations. Good luck, Mohamed.

    The so-called "Diversity Visa Lottery," part of the 1990 Immigration Act, is conducted by the State Department and allots up to 55,000 such visas to individuals from mostly non-Western countries around the world, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and Sudan, and other terrorist havens across Africa and Asia.

    There is no application fee or special application form. The only eligibility rules are a clean criminal record, a clean bill of health, and a high school diploma/equivalent or two years of work experience. Illegal immigrants in the United States are eligible. Winners can apply for residency for family members. Despite photo and signature requirements, fraud is rampant.

    Study with the enemy

    September 11 terrorist Hani Hanjour and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Eyad Ismoil entered America legally with F-1 student visas, then dropped out of sight after failing to enroll or complete their required coursework. Among the more than one million foreigners who now hold student visas in the United States, how many others are sleeper terrorists who have slipped through the cracks and disappeared?

    In May 2002, federal prosecutors cracked down on a separate student visa fraud ring involving 130 foreigners accused of paying substitutes to take English-language proficiency exams to meet their visa requirements. Nearly sixty Middle Eastern men and women in thirteen states were arrested. One of the suspects had flight manuals, photos of people outside the World Trade Center, and a date book with only one entry: September 11. Another suspect also had apparent flight training materials in his car. Yet another alleged bogus test-taker linked to the ring, Saudi national Saleh Ali Almari, came here on a student visa and enrolled at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, in the fall of 2000, but did not take classes.

    Between 1989 and 1995, nearly one hundred Middle Easterners paid bribes to community college teachers and administrators in San Diego-the home base for at least two of the September 11 terrorists-in exchange for counterfeit admission papers and grades, which allowed them to get student visas. The mastermind of the scheme, Iranian-American businessman Sam Koutchesfahani, pled guilty to visa fraud in 1998, along with officials from six colleges. But the whereabouts of his "students," who poured a total of $350,000 into the plot, remain frighteningly unknown.

    Elite U.S. colleges and universities continue to help train students from America's most hostile enemy countries. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Sudan-all listed by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism-sent nearly ten thousand students to the United States on academic visas between 1991 and 1996.

    Many of these students enrolled in programs that could be used to build biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. Not until May 2002 did the federal government announce plans to intensify screening of foreign student visa applicants seeking to study nuclear and missile technology, aircraft propulsion, information security, and marine technology. In addition to these thousands of students from official state sponsors of terrorism, al Qaeda-friendly countries send thousands more. In the 2000-2001 school year, Saudi Arabia sent more than 5,000 students; Mohamed Atta's native Egypt sent nearly 2,300.

    The lack of a comprehensive, mandatory tracking system to ensure that foreign students show up at their designated schools and leave after graduation makes the F-1 program a wide portal for terrorists. To this day, the government has no idea how many of the one million foreigners admitted into America on student visas are actually going to school in compliance with their visas.

    In May 2002, INS commissioner James Ziglar and Attorney General John Ashcroft trumpeted the launch of a new Internet-based foreign student tracking system scheduled to be implemented in July 2002. But participation in the system by more than seventy thousand American schools-many of whose leaders oppose the tracking system as an administrative nuisance-will be voluntary. The INS is hoping for full mandatory participation by the end of January 2003. But just a few weeks after the ambitious announcement by Ziglar and Ashcroft, the Justice Department's Inspector General raised "serious concerns about the INS's ability to fully implement" the system on time.

    Two wings and a prayer

    As with every other major visa category, terrorists and other individuals with ties to terrorism have slipped through the religious worker visa program. Among those in the United States with religious-based visas: 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, and four Palestinian men who worked for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the Islamic Association for Palestine-both Muslim charities that have been tied by the State Department to the terrorist organization Hamas.

    The religious worker visa program allows thousands of foreigners to fly to America to fill domestic shortages among ministries, nunneries, and other religious professionals. In 1998, some eleven thousand foreigners received these "R" visas. In 2000, the GAO highlighted persistent lapses in policing applications for fraud during the past decade. "Neither INS nor [the] State [Department] knows the overall extent of fraud in the religious worker visa program," the GAO reported. Federal investigators discovered fraud rings involving churches and other religious institutions based in Colombia, Fiji, and Russia.

    There are no plans to prevent the R visa program from being used in the future as a Radical Muslim Cleric Immigration plan.

    Cashing in

    Foreigners from some al Qaeda-friendly countries (including Egypt and Pakistan) can enter the U.S. if they fork over a $150,000 investment and agree to manage U.S.-based businesses. Well-funded terrorists would be wise to choose this visa option. These E-2 "investor treaty" visas take as little as two days to process and can be renewed indefinitely. Investors can bring their spouses, children, and key employees with them.

    In March 2002, an INS internal memo noted that $300 million was transferred into the United States illegally under another investor program, and that "open questions remain as to the background of the vast majority of the alien beneficiaries of this program." This EB-5 immigrant investor visa law allows up to ten thousand wealthy foreigners and their families each year to buy immigrant visas in exchange for business investments. The law says the down payment must be at least $500,000.

    But former INS officials-turned-private-consultants-such as former INS general counsel Paul Virtue-successfully lobbied for loosened financial rules. Supposedly, the EB-5 program uses the promise of citizenship to attract substantial overseas investment to aid struggling American businesses.

    But the benefits of this economic development plan have gone mostly to former immigration officials, who formed lucrative limited partnerships to cash in on their access. Immigrant investors paid token fees to these partnerships. The partnerships secured promissory notes for the remainder of the foreign investments, which were forgiven after investors received their permanent green cards. Former INS employees, working for these partnerships, aggressively lobbied their old colleagues to accept the dubious financial arrangements. As a result, aliens were paying a fraction of the required minimum investment, and almost all of the monies went to the general partners and the companies who set up the limited partners. A Baltimore Sun investigation found "only a tiny fraction of the money ever made it to the companies seeking assistance."

    Worse, the INS admitted in a report to Congress that it "is unable to quantify the incidence of fraudulent activity in the EB-5 program."

    Despite recent reforms, the scam continues around the world. The program is well known in the Middle East. Here is what one immigration firm, Acker Choquette Advocates, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, promises immigrant investor applicants on its Web site: "Financing is available, with low initial cash investment of US $136,000.00. Minimum physical presence in the US is all that is required, along with the intent to remain a permanent resident."

    No visa necessary

    Jay Leno was joking, but it's the truth: American visas are everywhere terrorists want to be. For those terrorists who can't get a visa, though, there's still no need to despair. You can leave home without it and still fly into our country legally.

    Travel without a visa

    The "Transit Without a Visa" program was created in 1952 to help with the resettlement of World War II refugees, most of whom had no identity or travel documents to obtain visas. But half a century after its inception, this obsolete humanitarian program has morphed into a lucrative marketing gimmick for the travel industry. The program waives visa requirements for passengers who are ostensibly passing briefly through the United States on their way to final destinations abroad. During the past three years, more than 5 million airline passengers-accounting for roughly 5 percent of all foreign nationals entering the country through airports-were routed here under the Transit Without a Visa program.

    Airlines are responsible for guarding and escorting passengers in transit, and are supposedly liable for damages when they cannot confirm that program participants have actually departed the country. But since the INS does not keep arrival and departure records on a majority of these passengers, the airlines are unaccountable.

    In fact, FBI and INS agents suspect that private guards hired by major airlines at Los Angeles International Airport smuggled visa-less Middle Eastern passengers elsewhere into the United States as part of organized rings. In June 2002, a federal immigration inspector and two private airport security guards were arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly taking part in an alien-smuggling conspiracy that allowed travelers transiting from the Philippines (where al Qaeda has spread) to slip out of Los Angeles International Airport without visas.

    A report by the Justice Department Inspector General after the September 11 attacks warned of continuing lapses in the transit program and concluded that the agency "must take immediate action...to enhance national security." But representatives of the transportation industry argued that terminating the program would be "inconvenient to the traveler" and would result in a loss of business for the airlines. As of July 2002, no action had been taken to curtail the Transit Without a Visa program.

    Visa Waiver program

    Another 17 million visitors to the United States didn't need to bother with visas last year. Pushed vigorously by the hurry-up-and-move-'em-through lobby (the airline, travel, and tourism industries), the Visa Waiver program allows tourists from twenty-eight countries to come to the United States for tourism or business for ninety days or less without obtaining the key entry document used to screen out foreign threats.

    To "facilitate low-risk travel" to the United States, foreign participants in the program need only bring valid passports. Before the ninety-day time period is up, many travelers simply apply for an extension of their stays-or illegally overstay-then settle in comfortably for permanent visits. As with every other "low-risk" visa program created to ease entry into the country, fraud is rampant and largely unchecked. Some 100,000 passports issued by Visa Waiver countries have been stolen in recent years. Belgium has more lost or stolen passports than any other Visa Waiver program participant but has retained its eligibility.

    Worse, federal investigators found that even after September 11, INS inspectors at four international airports-Miami, Dulles-Washington, D.C., Honolulu, and John F. Kennedy in New York City-were failing to check for stolen and fraudulent passports; they were also failing to check visa-less passengers' names on terrorist watch lists.

    Remember the spiritual exhortation that the terrorist hijackers were instructed to recite before their deadly mission: "Oh God, you who open all doors, please open all doors for me, open all venues for me, open all avenues for me."

    From our consular offices to our airports, seaports, and land borders, and from our visa policies to our asylum policies to our naturalization policies and deportation policies, every front, back, and side door to America has been left swinging in the wind. Our government remains ill-equipped, incapable, and unwilling to keep out, track down, and remove foreign law-breakers. We remain paralyzed by political correctness, greed, and schizophrenia about enforcing our immigration rules.

    Before the next Mohamed traipses through the door and leads more hordes of America-haters on another mission of death and destruction, we must decide once and for all:


    Will we stop putting tourism dollars over national security?


    Will we stop putting diplomatic interests over national security?


    Will we stop putting customer service over national security?


    Will we stop putting ethnic votes over national security?


    Will we stop putting alien rights over national security?

    Only when we put national security first can we defeat the Mohamed Attas of the world.

  3. #3
    Guest
    I find this kind of post quite offending for those of us who are here legally AND for LEGITIMATE reasons.

    I fully agree it has been easy for a potential terrorist to gain entry to the USA and then disappear into (or out of) the system. Those people should be found out and deported. BUT for most of us struggling through the myarid of INS rules and regulations, all this means is that it will be harder in the future and less "user-friendly" (than it already is) to obtain a visa or permanant residency for the majority.

    Do you really think a terrorist would attempt to gain entry via POEs into the USA now? Has the TSA found a terrorist yet? No. Most likely, it would be illegal entry across the open borders, if at all. Look at the Bali incident. These terrorists are far more likely to hit at "soft" targets from now on offshore of the USA.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  4. #4
    Guest
    Whether out of kindness or economic necessity, Americans look the other way when it comes to checking the legal status of immigrants in their daily lives, even as they encourage in principle government efforts to crack down on immigrants who enter the country illegally.

    Especially in today's tight labor market, America can't function without immigrants " and there aren't enough legal ones " from its agricultural fields to Silicon Valley to the apartments and houses where nannies care for their children and clean their homes.

    "The conflict is between the traditions of America as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigration coalition. Put another way, Mr. Sharry said, "If illegal immigrants are so scary, why do America's mothers turn our children over to them every day?"

    About 800,000 immigrants enter the country legally each year. An estimated 300,000 enter illegally or overstay their visas. For the first time since the 1930's, 1 of 10 Americans is foreign born.

    Immigrants are increasingly coveted by corporate America; were the nation's estimated 6 million illegal immigrants expelled tomorrow, thousands of hotels, restaurants, meat-packing plants, landscaping companies and garment factories would likely close. At the other end of the salary spectrum, high-tech employers persuaded a Republican Congress last year to nearly double the quota for high-skilled immigrants, to 195,000.

    And society grapples with conflicting impulses about immigrants every day. Illegal immigrants' children may attend public school, but even the brightest among them are ineligible for public loans for college. In Arizona, armed ranchers patrol the border to stop immigrants from crossing the desert and entering illegally, while other landowners leave food and water along the route for the weary heading north. Employers face penalties if they hire undocumented workers, but many do so anyway, knowing they will lose out to competitors if they can't fill the jobs that most legal residents won't take.

    "We are encouraging a hypocrisy," said Senator Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican. "At the border we arrest, but once they get here everyone opens their arms and says we've got a job for you." This political ambivalence is rooted in personal ambivalence. So long as they stay out of trouble once they're here, most Americans ignore illegal aliens. We've yet to see a customer walk out of a restaurant because his dishes were being washed by an illegal alien.

    And unless you are nominated for a top Government job " particularly enforcing the nation's labor laws " immigration experts say chances are good that hiring illegal immigrants will go unpunished. (That, of course, raises other concerns about employers exploiting undocumented workers.) Not long ago immigrants faced a political firestorm. In 1994, Gov. Pete Wilson of California was re-elected on the back of Proposition 187, which barred illegal immigrants' children from public schools. In 1996, Congress approved harsh bills that barred hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants from receiving food stamps and federal disability assistance. Another required the deportation of legal aliens convicted of a variety of offenses, some of them minor, and made the statute retroactive.

    Attitudes have softened since then. The big difference now, of course, is the strong economy. In California, for example, at least half the 40,000 workers who harvest the state's raisin crop are undocumented, said Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. "In a growing economy, people are looking for low-cost labor with no questions asked," said Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which opposes increased immigration.

    In a Gallup poll in September 2001, 44% of the respondents said immigrants mostly help the economy, while 40% said they mostly hurt. Asked the same question in July 1993, 26% said immigrants helped and 64% said they hurt. For years, American unions viewed immigrants with suspicion. The AFL-CIO saw them as a threat to jobs and wage levels. But last February, it called for a blanket amnesty for all illegal workers, arguing that in boom times, immigrants were potential members. Both political parties have scrambled to woo foreign-born voters. The election of George W. Bush marked the ascension of the pro-immigrant wing of the Republican party, which still has powerful anti-immigrant critics. Mr. Bush speaks conversational Spanish, has a Mexican-born sister-in-law, and ran a parallel Spanish-language operation during his campaign. "New Americans are not to be feared as strangers; they are to be welcomed as neighbors," he told a Hispanic group last June. After all that, W. Bush drew 31% of the Hispanic vote, compared to 21% for Dole in 1996. But he still fell a few points short of what Ronald Reagan drew among Hispanics in 1980 and 1984, and barely nosed out his father, George Bush, who registered 30% in 1988.

    Even as many Americans accept illegal immigrants with a wink and a nod, Congress has taken only halting steps to loosen restrictions. Lawmakers and the Clinton administration struck a compromise last year to reunite 300,000 to 500,000 spouses and children with legal permanent residents. But Republicans rejected Mr. Clinton's broader proposals, including granting legal status to immigrants who fled wars and political chaos in Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

  5. #5
    Guest
    Fed up... Yes the UK has problems with in particular Afganistans trying to enter illegally, but then so does every other country in the world. Of course it is each nation's right to accept or deny certain nationalities based on political likes or dislikes of that country. Why is it that successive US Governments have accepted Cubans whilst denying Haitians who have similar homeland problems?

    I guess my point was that by making immigration tougher and less friendly means that those of us who enter legally for the right reasons will get treated in the same manner as those who don't!

    You only have to see the way the current "frenzy" of these Special Registration actions is being applied to realise it won't be long before ALL immigrants will be required to register with the government OVER and ABOVE existing rules and regulations.

    Once again, what do your think a terrorist will most likely do:

    a) Register with the INS?
    b) Attempt to enter the USA via POEs post 9/11?
    c) Enter illegally undiscovered via land borders?
    d) Plant a bomb on a soft target?

  6. #6
    Guest
    It's not that vulgar illegal Mexicans (or any other group of people for that matter) are making America vulgar, America has been vulgar sice Day 1.

  7. #7
    Guest
    So you think these illegals are so wonderful? Here are some facts. In Ca. they are about 30% of the population. But they are 60% of the criminals selling drugs,65% of the arrests made every day, commit 75% of the traffic accidents caused by drunk driving, fill up 80% of our emergency rooms, have 100% of their children in county hospitals at taxpayer expense,Because of having so many children, even the ones here legally, do not pay income taxes,although all the immigrant groups claim they do. In fact their impact last year in Ca. was a NEGATIVE 5 BILLION dollars. They are the largest group of highschool dropouts, the fastest growing group of unwed mothers,75%of all gang members. Now would YOU want these people in YOUR town??They are ruining this country. Not to mention that they have groups on school property,openly advocating the overthrow of the US government,and the forming of "ATZLAND" . That is treason. They should all be shot.

  8. #8
    Guest
    You may be right, but just deport them, no one has the right to shoot or kill anyone!

    You can't blame anyone for wanting a better life, that's just instinct and human nature. It is our job to protect our borders and keep them OUT!

  9. #9
    Guest
    I think our dear country would still be vulgar even without these Mexicans...vulgarity is an American thing...

  10. #10
    Guest
    You mean because it was founded by criminals like the Pilgrims?

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