After 3,000 Americans were murdered on a single day, common sense should have dictated that political pandering would finally take a back seat?if only marginally?to the most serious of security concerns.
But barely two years later, craven political concerns are about to feast at the expense of our security.
In an election year pursuit of Hispanic votes, President Bush is prepared to embark on the ill-advised path to providing some sort of amnesty to 8 million illegal aliens. Perhaps Bush thinks that enhanced scrutiny and enforcement?things the President will combine with his calls for amnesty?can screen out terrorists from those applying for amnesty. The evidence, however, tells a different story.
As it is, our immigration administrators are swamped. The current backlog of cases awaiting adjudication is over 4.5 million. In other words, we can?t even handle the caseload we have now. Throw in 8 million new people, and you have an instant recipe for an administrative fiasco.
Never mind that 8 million new cases will undoubtedly further slow the process for those who played by the rules and are trying to immigrate legally. Never mind that 8 million illegal aliens will, in all likelihood, get to step in front of those decided to follow?and respect?the law. Focusing solely on security, overwhelming an already overwhelmed system means that cracks will turn into fault lines.
Even lavishing millions of dollars will not change the fundamental fact that processing people?verifying documents, running background checks?takes time and administrative procedures that are equipped to handle the workload. Weeding out some of the bad guys won?t be enough; not many terrorists need to sneak through to create chaos.
Suggesting that terrorists might take advantage of amnesty is not mere speculation. It happened during the last round of widespread amnesty, in 1986.
Convicted terrorist Mahmud Abouhalima won amnesty from a program intended to help Hispanic farm workers. Upon attaining amnesty, Abouhalima worked with fellow Islamic terrorist Ramzi Yousef to hit a longtime al Qaeda target: the World Trade Center. And on February 26, 1993, they succeeded, killing six and injuring more than 1,000.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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