What does combating illegal immigration have to do with combating Middle Eastern terrorists in America? Well, duh.
Let's review: Three of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were illegal visa overstayers. Seven of the 19 obtained fraudulent ID cards with the help of illegal alien day laborers in Virginia. Two of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers were illegal aliens. At least two bin Laden-linked bomb plotters attempted to cross illegally through our land borders. More than 115,000 people from Middle Eastern countries are here illegally. More than 1,000 of them were smuggled through Mexico by convicted global crime ringleader George Tajirian. And some 6,000 Middle Eastern men who have defied deportation orders remain on the loose.
The connection between illegal immigration reform and homeland security is now fantastically obvious to most Americans, but the loose-and-open borders crowd is as blind and dumb as ever. Leading the senseless is the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which I admired in the past for its stalwart promotion of the rule of law and abhorrence of race-card demagoguery. On March 18, the paper betrayed both principles with disturbing flippancy.
"So Atta got his visa. That's no reason to kick out Mexican workers," pooh-poohed an online summary of an editorial titled "Immigrants and Terrorists." In it, the Journal's unrepentant open borders proponents approve of bipartisan efforts -- foolishly embraced by President Bush and favored by Mexican president Vicente Fox -- to extend partial amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who have been in the country since 1998.
The so-called 245(i) provision of federal immigration law will allow illegal aliens who have found employer or family sponsors to obtain visas in the U.S. for a $1,000 fee, instead of being forced to return home -- where consular offices would thoroughly scrutinize their native criminal records before approving applications. The 245(i) program would also allow these applicants to bypass a 1996 federal law barring illegal aliens from re-entering the U.S. for up to 10 years.
The manner in which the Bush administration initially attempted to ram this proposal through -- by a stealth "cloaked" vote -- was cravenly Clintonesque. But not a peep of complaint was heard from the Journal on that. Instead, the editorial board lambasted principled conservative critics of 245(i) such as Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., for "scapegoating" Mexicans who "bus tables." Drop the Jesse Jackson imitation, guys. This isn't just about innocent Mexican bus boys. The amnesty would be extended to any law-breaking alien from any country who can hustle up an American employer or "spouse" and pay a good immigration lawyer to cook up an eligibility claim.
Section 245(i) is not a family values plan. It is a law-enforcement evasion plan.
The Journal says it doesn't want to overburden consular offices abroad. But what about the dangerous bureaucratic onslaught this program is causing here at home? As we have seen in the past, amnesty is an open invitation for marriage fraud, document fraud, endless litigation, and swamped adjudications offices. It is also a known loophole for terrorists. At least one al Qaeda-linked operative, convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot, obtained amnesty through a program intended for farm workers. Who knows how many more are now lurking among us as amnestied American citizens?
The Journal editorial board and its ilk perpetuate a perilous myth -- that we can continue to reward "good" illegal immigrants streaming across the borders while keeping the "bad" illegal immigrants out. "There's always a chance that terrorist cells lie dormant among these folks," the Journal concedes. But even after the heinous murder of 3,000 people in its backyard at the hands of these sleepers who slipped through, the New York-based paper is far more concerned about not wanting to "upend the lives of Mexican nannies in San Diego."
This takes the cake. While the Wall Street Journal editors and their border-crashing allies remain obsessed with protecting illegal Mexican workers from the slightest inconvenience, the lives of countless American soldiers and their families across the country have been "upended" in the war on terror to ensure that we remain a safe and sovereign nation. Which side are our friends at the Journal on, anyway?