December 17, 2003

TRUST, BUT VERIFY:

Leftists Attack Borders: Leftists, Islamists and minority racists team up to help criminal aliens and terrorists come to America. (Steve Brown and Chris Coon, 12/13/03, Front Page)

Under the auspices of the National Security Entry-Exit Registry System (NSEERS) which was implemented to track all newcomers to the country, BICE (formally INS now under the Homeland Security Department) began the Special Registration Program in November 2002. Special Registration required not only new arrivals but those from the selected countries of origin already present in the States to register with their local immigration office. When reporting they were photographed, fingerprinted and were subject to questioning under oath. If the investigation revealed discrepancies in their immigration status or ties with criminal activity including terrorist links, registrants faced arrest, detention or deportation.

The program targeted those from 25 nations: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. As of May 2003 approximately 80,000 people had registered under the program, with another 94,000 from as many as 150 countries who registered as they entered the country.

According to BICE's website “Most of the foreign visitors registered are students, individuals in the U.S. on extended business travel, or individuals visiting family members for lengthy periods. The requirement to register does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), refugees, asylum applicants, asylum grantees, and diplomats or others admitted under 'A' or 'G' visas.”

The program was fairly successful, netting 35,000 found to have overstayed their visas triggering 13,800 deportation hearings. Another 2,870 have been detained with 23 in federal custody and over 140 criminals uncovered including a reported 11 suspected of having terrorist ties. In addition the DHS reported that several questionable persons have been denied entry.

However, on December 2, Asa Hutchinson, the undersecretary of Homeland Security's Border and Transportation Security Department announced that the program would be terminated in order to implement a broader program to target all those who enter the country regardless of nation of origin, age or sex. This month the original program begins a re-registration process which is still required for previous registrants, however under the new program re-registration would be on a case by case basis. [...]

But fierce opposition to any kind of registration program or secure entry/exit system remains widespread with no indication of subsiding. Left-wing radical activists such as Refuse and Resist, an online group of radicals that has compared Ronald Reagan to Hitler and have made it their stated goal to prevent a "Resurgent America" and LaResistencia, who are, according to their website ”an organization building a mass movement of opposition and resistance to all the attacks on immigrants by the government and their racist point-men,” (and who's motto is ”┬íTodos somos ilegales! We are all illegal!") haven been some of the most vocal opponents of the Special Registration program. They have compared the detention and deportation of those found in violation of immigration law with the “disappeared,” the political enemies of the state who vanish in totalitarian banana republics never to be seen again. They are members of the so-called Blue Triangle Network, a front for radical extremists, including Not in Our Name, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU and the American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee who have fought tooth and nail against any attempt by immigration officials to weed out criminal aliens in our midst and to improve our nation's security. They cite sympathetic examples of men who had gone to register and were not heard from again until they called their families in America from the nation they were deported to.

The emotional comparisons make for red meat to the ACLU and others already decrying stringent Homeland Security measures and the attendant “loss of liberties” they see behind every move of the Department of Homeland Security. The loss of the freedoms of a relative handful of criminal aliens who flaunt immigration law is an unfortunate necessity given the dangers facing our nation in this war on terror. It is again incumbent to point out that criminal aliens have no rights or guarantees to freedoms of any kind, despite the repeated and disingenuous distortions of fact, stark reality and history spewed by the radical left and aped by the mainstream press in their unending campaign to abolish the bedrock ideals and system of government embodied in our constitution

One of the strongest arguments for regularizing the entry of immigrants into the country is precisely to be able to do background checks and register them, so that we know who's here and can deny entry to those we don't want for reasons of their legal, moral, and political backgrounds. Though we'd let many more do so, no one has a right to come here and a program that boosts immigration but is more careful about it seems entirely fair and far safer than the current debacle.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 17, 2003 7:09 AM
Comments

The hard left should tread very carefully here, because any kind of terror attack in the future (and that means the next 5-10-15 years) with thousands of victims, and immigration will stop. Totally. Too bad for Aunt Rosa or cousin Hamid. It will stop. And the rules might even change to tighten on the categories currently allowed to stay.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 17, 2003 9:09 PM
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