The elephant in the room

Michelle Malkin

10/6/2004 12:00:00 AM - Michelle Malkin

 You know what makes me nervous about President Bush? It's not his facial expressions. Nor his verbal clumsiness. I don't care about his alleged weakness at the podium. What concerns me more than anything else is his demonstrated weakness at our borders.

 Immigration enforcement is the six-ton elephant in the room. Barely two sentences were devoted to border control in the first presidential debate, despite the fact that the major issue of the showdown was leadership on national security. Both President Bush and Sen. Kerry bloviated about throwing more money at the Department of Homeland Security, while ignoring the fundamental problem: Our immigration laws are being broken en masse because America is unwilling to enforce them -- clearly, consistently and unapologetically -- until it is too late.

 The vice presidential candidates are no better. Dick Cheney, alas, has dutifully defended the administration's abominable amnesty plan, which amounts to a mass government pardon of illegal visa overstayers and border crossers and deportation fugitives at a time of war. (We are at war, aren't we, gentlemen?) For his part, Sen. John Edwards supports the just-as-awful Democratic version of this illegal alien incentive policy.

 On the same day of the presidential debate last week, alarming news broke in McAllen, Texas, which underscores the illegal immigration/terrorism nexus. The feds have been investigating evidence from a high-level al Qaeda operative that the terrorists were planning to poison our military's supply of MREs (meals ready-to-eat). In the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers initiated a sweep of a McAllen-area defense subcontractor, the Wornick Company, which produced MREs and had been an alleged target of al Qaeda.

 Luckily, no signs of sabotage or terrorist infiltration were uncovered. But the place was crawling with illegals (mostly, but not all Mexican) who used falsified ID and employment forms. In an all-too-rare occurrence, an executive from an employment agency that provided workers for Wornick was indicted last week for flouting immigration rules and faking documents. Last year, a measly four employers faced criminal prosecution for immigration employment violations.

 There are countless Pollyannas in the political, media and intellectual elite who continue to downplay the dangers of open borders. "Better intelligence" will solve the problem, they argue naively. "We are a nation of immigrants," they preach cluelessly. "Family values don't stop at the Rio Grande," they babble pointlessly.

 Meanwhile, the patient and undeterred minions of Osama bin Laden dispatched from abroad are here. Others are cooperating with other immigration outlaws to wreak havoc on our security. Not far from Bush's Crawford ranch, there are ominous signs that al Qaeda has teamed up with illegal alien smugglers from Mexico to bring new operatives through the southern border. The feds recently disclosed that suspected al Qaeda operative Adnan Shukrijumah -- a young Saudi pilot on the run since Sept. 11 -- met with the notorious El Salvador-based gang/alien smuggling operation, Mara Salvatrucha.

 And in southern Arizona, site of the final presidential debate, the illegal Arab alien smuggling route known as "Terrorist Alley" is as unprotected as ever. Unknown numbers of al Qaeda in America have fraudulent identification, which enables them (like their Sept. 11 predecessors) to blend into the vast sea of 13 million other immigration outlaws who have little fear of getting caught. It doesn't help matters when Bush's own border security undersecretary, Asa Hutchinson, states publicly that it's "not realistic" for his own officers to try to do their jobs and deport law-breakers.

 In an even more shameful betrayal, the White House is now reportedly pressuring stalwart House Republicans into scrapping important immigration enforcement provisions of the House Intelligence Bill that speed up the deportation process and bar illegal aliens from obtaining valuable driver's licenses or using easy-to-fake foreign consular ID cards. Why? Because they are politically unpopular with ethnic constituencies.

 This race is not just about who is better able to hunt down and destroy our enemies abroad. It's about who is more willing to hunt them down right here, jail them, kick them out and keep them out of our home. President Bush has shown he can stand up to the international Axis of Weasels. He must show the same resolve against La Raza, the immigration lawyers and Teddy Kennedy.