Friday, April 4, 2008

Muslim Immigration: America’s Biggest National Security Problem
Debbie Schlussel

While Presidential candidates debate which is best for our national security—staying in Iraq or leaving, beefing up troops in other spots of the world or bringing them home—the biggest national security threat is already inside our borders: Muslim immigrants.

The problem is that America not only sets no real limits on the number of Muslims allowed into our country, but also does a poor job—if any—of screening these individuals for terrorist background. Even when such screening is done, there is no real way to verify that the applicant is who he/she says he is. There have been many instances of terrorist suspects (and some who’ve been convicted) whose identities aren’t certain. They’ve given several different names in order to enter and stay in the U.S. And we don’t really know who they are.

Last year, a man who was given U.S. citizenship was convicted of spying on our troops on behalf of Al-Qaeda. A contractor, he served as a translator for our military in the Middle East, and passed on classified information about their movements in Iraq to Al-Qaeda insurgents. It led to ambushes and murders of our troops. I call the man Mr. Al-X because we’re not sure what this man’s name really is. He used the following names in gaining entry, citizenship, and access to classified information in his job with our armed forces: Noureddine Malki, Almaliki Nour, Abu Hakim, and Abdulhakeem Nour. One wonders which of these names will be on Mr. Al-X’s prison ID and which one or more of these aliases he will use after he serves his sentence in Federal Prison.

So, how does a man like Mr. Al-X, who professed support for Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks, get to stay in the U.S., become a citizen and get access to U.S. Army classified info?

Well, there isn’t much of a check of backgrounds of any applicants for green cards and citizenship, also known as “immigration benefits.” Michael Maxwell, the former Director of Security for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that his former department spends, on average, less than six minutes looking into the background of every applicant. That doesn’t account for bathroom, smoking, and lunch breaks, which cut down on that time.

And until recently, during those less than six minutes USCIS employees were not allowed access to FBI terrorism databases against which to check to see if green card and citizenship applicants were on those lists. That wasn’t because the FBI didn’t grant access. It was because USCIS didn’t want employees who serve as immigration benefits adjudicators to spend time looking on these lists. Instead, the department gave monetary bonuses to employees to rubberstamp applications forward toward citizenship and discouraged any careful examinations or any significant number of rejections of applicants. Worse, even in those cases where immigration fraud was suspected or some other red flag was raised, about 80% of the cases referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) by USCIS are turned down by ICE. Because those cases are not investigated, that means that 4 out of every 5 applicants for which immigration officials believe there are serious fraud or national security issues are approved for green cards and citizenship.

And even in cases where a thorough check of applicants was scheduled, those applicants are now being rushed through for citizenship. In February of this year, pursuant to a lawsuit brought by activists in the pro-Hamas, pro-Hezbollah American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the U.S. government announced that 47,000 immigration applications will skip the FBI background check against terrorist and other criminal databases. That’s because the government wants to “eliminate the backlog.” But the fact that most of these 47,000 individuals have been living here before they got such a background check is also frightening. We don’t know if these people are dangerous, but they’re in our midst.

Then, there is the other neglected issue of visa violators. While President Bush made a deal with Saudi King Abdullah to bring thousands of Saudi students per year to American colleges and universities, one of the biggest problems in the illegal alien population are those who’ve violated their visas by not leaving when their visa expired, or not abiding by the terms of the visa—such as working in an agricultural or high-tech capacity.

The San Jose Mercury News recently reported that 400,000 Indian nationals are here illegally and in violation of their H-1B visas because they are no longer working for high tech companies that brought them here. There is speculation that many of these 400,000 are Muslim Indians or other Muslims who are really from Bangladesh. Mahmud Abuhalima, one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, was here on an agricultural worker visa. But he was, instead, driving a taxi on the streets of New York, where not much crop-picking happens. But at that time the INS (like ICE now) did not put a priority on locating and deporting such visa violators who do not show up for work or school. Instead, the focus at ICE is on raiding meat-packing plants and employers where the illegal alien employees are mostly far less harmful Hispanic Catholics. So Muslim students and workers who disappear into our midst remain there, largely off the radar screen. Even when they are located and deported, if they had children, those kids have birthright citizenship and can remain here.

Finally, it’s important to come full circle to the issue of Muslim immigrants who’ve cleared every background check and are here legitimately. They bring with them their culture, mores, and intolerance (including a virulent anti-Semitism), but unlike other alien populations, most do not bring with them the desire to absorb into American culture. Instead, they want America to absorb into them and their ways. That’s why honor killings of Muslim American women are occurring with some frequency, as are female genital mutilations, violence, and food stamp and Medicaid fraud scams.

While all of these aspects of lax immigration are frightening, what’s even more frightening is that not a single person in contention for the White House has announced any intention to ever address them. And that’s why we may, in future generations, not have to worry about fighting Islamic terrorists. They will reach critical mass through their high birthrate and legal and illegal immigration. Then they can take over democratically.

Debbie Schlussel is a political commentator, radio talk show host, columnist, and attorney.

Posted by Ruth at 05:19 PM OUTPOST

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