But striking the World Trade Center wasn?t enough. Radical Islamic terrorists kept streaming into this country in order to murder more innocent Americans. It?s true that all the September 11 hijackers entered not through illegal immigration but on legal visas. But that was a matter of convenience; they went with what was easiest.
If Bush is successful in enacting a new full-scale amnesty plan, then a new red carpet will have been rolled out. It could have the same results that easy visas for Saudis did.
Last year, this columnist obtained the visa applications of 15 of the 19 terrorists?including those of 14 of the 15 Saudis in the group?and six different current former consular officers who reviewed them all agreed that not one of those applications should have qualified for a visa under the law. The forms were so bad, in fact, that the terrorists couldn?t have gotten Blockbuster cards to rent videos, yet they were given visas to enter the United States.
Why did this happen?
Consular officers told government investigators that they issued visas even to those Saudis they felt didn?t qualify under the law because of pressure from above. Their superiors had made it clear that it was de facto policy that Saudis receive visas, no matter how poorly filled out the paperwork was or how much information was missing.
So it was no coincidence that al Qeada chose to use mostly Saudis. Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, reportedly told authorities that easy visas was the main reason so many Saudis were recruited.
Imagine processing over 8 million ?undocumented? immigrants?meaning that the documents they provide could very well be fraudulent?and it is not tough to imagine 19 terrorists slipping through at the same time. It could be 19 people already here or some who come here armed with forged documents. And amnesty creates a new means for terrorists to create new, ?untainted? identities?further hampering tracking efforts.
Let?s hope it doesn?t take another terrorist attack for political pandering to give way to security.
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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