So are we safer now, a decade after the terrorist strike that killed more than 3,000 Americans on 9/11?
Yes, thanks to everyone who works -- day in and day out -- to keep us safe and secure.But there’s considerable room for improvement.
Law-enforcement officials have become much better at sharing information and linking databases. They’ve thwarted at least 40 post-9/11 attacks, thanks largely to security changes made in the wake of that devastating day. That’s the good news.
But we have to guard against the danger of complacency. Yes, it’s good that we’ve stopped these attacks before they could be launched. But the fact that there have been so many attacks to stop is bad news. It’s obvious that America’s enemies are determined to bring this country down.
Which is why we must be even more determined to stop them.
How we can do that is the subject of a new report from The Heritage Foundation, “Homeland Security 4.0.” It contains a checklist with 35 critical steps that federal policymakers can take to make us more secure. Among them:
Stop interfering with state and local efforts to battle illegal immigration. Security starts with something pretty basic: who you let in -- and who you allow to remain. More than 10 million illegal immigrants are inside the United States. A sizable number entered with a valid visa, but stayed after their visas expired. Yet the federal government discourages state and local governments from enforcing immigration laws.
Ask Arizona. Last year, it enacted a law that allows law enforcement officers to ask a person who has been stopped, detained or arrested about his or her legal status, if officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the U.S. Those of us here legally often have to provide a driver’s license and registration at a traffic stop, so this hardly seems like an unreasonable request.
Did the Obama administration appreciate the extra hand Arizona was providing in enforcing immigration policy? After all, fewer than 6,000 federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents patrol our borders. But no -- the administration responded by suing Arizona. This is perverse. State and local officials know better than Washington what threats they face; they shouldn’t be harassed for taking reasonable efforts to secure their own borders.