August 30, 2005

Study: Terrorists Easily Enter U.S.

Simply put, by using a variety of tactics, terrorists are entering the United States with unacceptable ease. According to a study by the Center for Immigration Studies, gaps in the nation's border security, visa approval, and immigration systems have allowed dozens of terrorists to enter and embed themselves in the United States between 1993 and 2004. Ultimately, at least 21 foreign nationals became naturalized U.S. citizens before being identified as terrorists. The report of the study will be formally released later today at the National Press Club.

From the Associated Press:

Overall, 59 of 94 foreign-born nationals who were either convicted or indicted on terror charges broke federal immigration laws to enter or remain in the country between 1993 and 2004, the report found. It also noted:
_Twenty-two of the 94 either had student visas or other applications approving them to study in the United States; another 17 used visitor visas to enter the country.

_In at least 13 instances, suspected and convicted terrorists overstayed their temporary visas.

_Seven of the 94 were indicted for using false driver's licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards and immigration records.

_Twenty-one became naturalized citizens.

The report identified many of the immigrants as affiliated with at least one terror organization, including 40 with al-Qaida, 16 with Hamas, 16 with the Palestinian or Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and six with Hezbollah.
The Department of Homeland Security has enacted programs to improve immigration enforcement, undeniably not a moment too soon. According to Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke, the levels of scrutiny imposed by the new programs "vastly improve the odds of stopping" the terrorists before they act.

Frankly, the odds of my satisfaction with national security are not improved when it's described in terms of a mathematical probability. What's next? Television news reporting the chance of terror right after the weatherman tells us the chance of rain? Obviously, more needs to be done. National security should be a "yes or no" issue, not something that requires a handicapper.

[Update 8/30/05, 1630 EDT]

The full report, Moving Beyond the 9/11 Staff report on Terrorist Travel by Janice L. Kephart, has been posted on the Internet. It's informative and engaging, particularly the section on the extent that terrorists use sham marriages to gain permanent residency and citizenship in the U.S. Beguiling American women into marriage is an effective tactic used intentionally to further their terrorist goals. I'm not shocked.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

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