A terrorist, Oussama Abdullah Kassir, was extradited to the United States and convicted yesterday, of conspiracy to further terrorist objectives to attack the United States.
In addition to that article that appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post, the entry in Wikipedia about this terrorist tells us more, and another article about him appeared in Reuters. It is important to note that Reuters has covered this terrorist in a number of articles and in each article, the headline identified him as being Swedish. In point of fact, he is a citizen of Sweden but was born in Lebanon and is a naturalized citizen of Sweden. Because he apparently has a Swedish passport, he would not need a visa to seek to enter the United States because of the Visa Waiver program. Additionally, he has been working in conjunction with others who have been described as being “British.”
Wikipedia tells us that “British citizens and those from 33 other countries are also able to enter the United States without first securing a visa.”
The Wikipedia item also discloses that Kassir had been previously arrested and prosecuted in Sweden for assaulting a police officer, possessing a firearm and for a drug violation. While the article is unclear as to whether or not he had been previously convicted of those crimes before or after he had managed to enter the United States, probably under the Visa Waiver Program.
Finally, I also refer to the Washington Times article that appeared in Tuesday’s paper about the ceremony at the White House to honor law enforcement officers, presided over by President Obama. Photo-ops aside, the President and his administration could do something far more meaningful to show appreciation for the hard, dangerous work of our nation’s law enforcement officers by making their jobs safer and more effective if he would hire an adequate number of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) special agents and provide them with the leadership and other resources to effectively enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. This would also greatly enhance the safety of our citizens and the security of our nation.
It is also important to understand that there are many components to the enforcement of the immigration laws. It is not enough to simply seek to identify aliens who have been arrested and successfully prosecuted for committing crimes in the United States to seek their removal from the United States. Certainly this is an important goal, but it is only one of many things that need to be done. Incredibly, the administration has called for ending funding for SCAAP (State Alien Assistance Program) that helps to subsidize the states for the costs associated with incarcerating aliens who are convicted of committing felonies in the United States!
Stop and think about that! It has been estimated that more than 30% of the federal inmate population are identified as being illegal aliens. Similarly it is believed that more than 25% of the inmate population in prisons around the United States are deportable aliens, yet now the administration wants to eliminate the financial assistance that is needed to help states to clean up the mess created by the failure of the federal government to secure the borders of the United States!
The excuse is that the government wants to allocate those funds to secure the border! I will discuss this emphasis on the border shortly.
The administration has made going after those unscrupulous employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens so that they can easily exploit them should be a priority, but it is also important for ICE to seek to apprehend and remove illegal aliens. Both the illegal aliens and their employers are violating the immigration laws and just as it is wrong to simply arrest illegal aliens and not go after the employers, it is wrong to go after the employers and not go after the illegal aliens. Both groups of law violators need to know that they will be made to pay a price for their violations of law.
It is also extremely important for ICE to make immigration benefit fraud a major priority. Immigration fraud consists of two components: Those who create counterfeit identity documents or provide supporting documents to help illegal aliens circumvent the immigration laws and those who create schemes that enable aliens to acquire lawful immigration status in the United States by enabling them to enter into a conspiracy to obtain an immigration benefit to which they would not be entitled if the true material facts were known. Marriage fraud and labor fraud are two examples of such schemes.
The GAO (General Accountability Office) has conducted numerous investigations and written as many reports, documenting just how rampant this problem is. Yet there are just a few hundred investigators working at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). That agency is responsible for adjudicating all of the various applications for immigration benefits including applications filed by aliens seeking to become lawful permanent residents (lawful immigrants) and even United States citizens through the naturalization process.
The few hundred investigators are supposed to create integrity at an agency that adjudicates more than 6 million applications, each and every year for various benefits. As I have often noted, Lucy and Ethel working at the bonbon factory in the hilarious classic “I Love Lucy” would have had an easier time attempting to wrap the candy hurtling at them on the conveyor belt then the beleaguered adjudicators at USCIS have at attempting to make proper decisions. This is a national security nightmare! Of 94 terrorists who were identified in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 59 of them managed to use immigration fraud to either enter the United States and/or embed themselves once they got here.
During the ill-conceived Citizenship USA (CUSA) launched by the Clinton Administration in the mid 1990’s of the estimated 1.1 million applications for naturalization that were jammed through the system, the GAO subsequently determined that tens of thousands of those applications that were approved never should have been approved! In fact, a significant number of those aliens probably should have been deported!
Incredibly now, the administration ranging from the President of the United States and his Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and politicians such as New York Senator Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed are once again demanding that the United States confers United States citizenship on millions of illegal aliens whose true identities including their countries of citizenship, their respective dates and places of entry into the United States, their possible criminal backgrounds and affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations are all unknown and unknowable!
Once again I have to say that rather than creating a photo-op, our nation and our nation’s valiant law enforcement officers would be far better served by a government that truly enforced our nation’s immigration laws to protect our nation and honor the many millions of lawful immigrants and their descendants who, since the founding of this great nation, contributed their blood, sweat and tears to make this nation what it is!
The open borders advocates have spewed all sorts of misleading information because they are motivated by greed and the desire for power and not because they are concerned about our nation or our citizens.
We often hear the false arguments that if cops were to work with ICE that illegal aliens and members of the immigrant community would not report crimes to local law enforcement because they would no longer trust the police. In point of fact, the sad truth is that many aliens, both legal and illegal, are fearful of law enforcement. This has nothing to do with whether or not the police cooperate with ICE but rather because of their experiences in their home countries where corruption is endemic. In their home countries, the average person who speaks to anyone with a badge and a gun is inviting trouble. Consider, if you will, how huge a problem corruption is within the Mexican police agencies.
I spent the majority of my 30 year career with the INS working in close cooperation with local and state police. I can tell you from many years of experience, that when immigration laws and authority are brought to bear to assist other law enforcement agencies, including local police, the effect is synergistic.
I can also tell you that the assertions that police would be compelled to inquire about immigration status of a victim of a crime is a flat out lie! I have never met anyone in law enforcement who would ask a victim of a rape or other violent crime or even non-violent crime about that victim’s immigration status. Furthermore, illegal aliens can actually be afforded certain immigration benefits if they assist in an investigation.
The use of the judicial use of immigration laws by police officers provides them with yet another, extremely effective, weapon in their arsenal to help them to wage a successful battle against criminals.
I have compiled a list of 6 ways that law enforcement would benefit from having an adequate number of ICE agents working cooperatively with other law enforcement agencies including city and state police:
By having local law enforcement working with federal immigration law enforcement agencies, these are the benefits that can accrue:
Access to immigration files to provide investigative leads when a criminal alien is being sought as a fugitive or suspect of a crime.
Access to immigration file can also provide vital information to a judge when a criminal alien is arrested and the judge is attempting to set bail. The immigration file can provide evidence of risk of flight based on numerous identities, occasions when the defendant jumped bail in an immigration matter and failed to appear for a hearing. The file can also provide evidence of prior deportations. (As an immigration agent, I often testified at bail hearings to provide this sort of vital information to the court.)
If a plea bargain is being arranged, local and state prosecutors should work in close cooperation with federal immigration counsels to make certain that in the process of working out a plea-bargain arrangement that they don’t inadvertently eliminate a conviction that have would rendered the alien deportable.
Working cooperatively with ICE, it would be far easier to cultivate informants. Informants are often essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of criminals and criminal organizations as well as terrorists and their associates. The immigration laws provide a huge “carrot and stick” to this end.
There are a number of laws that can be used to hammer criminal aliens under the federal code. For example, the penalty for an illegal alien in possession of a firearm carries a 5 year penalty. There are other such laws in the federal code that deal with the possession and use of false identity documents and for the crime of reentry after deportation. A criminal alien who is deported from the United States and then unlawfully reenters the United States is facing a maximum of 20 years in jail. Without the federal government being made aware of these violations of law, none of these penalties come into play.
When an alien is convicted of a crime, by working in close coordination with federal immigration authorities, a detainer can be lodged to make certain that upon release from jail when his (her) sentence is completed, the criminal alien will be deported from the United States and thus be removed from the streets of Americas towns and cities.
While Kassir, the terrorist who was convicted yesterday, apparently was unable to recruit terrorists in the United States, it was clear that his strategy to establish a terror cell in the United States required that he and his cohort travel to the United States. Failing at that effort, he turned to the internet to provide training to those who would kill Americans by physical combat or the use of poisons.
By simply fixating on the Mexican border as she has, Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano is ignoring so many other aspects of efforts needed to protect our nation from terrorists and criminals and the tactics that they use to enter the United States and embed themselves within the United States, enabling them to hide in plain sight among us.
It is estimated that 40% of the illegal aliens in the United States did not run our nation’s borders but actually entered through ports of entry and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission. (I testified about this issue at a hearing before a Congressional subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on May 11, 2006.)
That hearing was entitled:
“VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?”
Here is the link to the transcript of that hearing:
The point is that until and unless our government addresses all aspects of the vulnerabilities in the immigration system, there is no way that our government can win against terrorist and criminal organizations.
Also realize that members of terrorist and criminal organizations such as the Mexican Drug cartels, MS-13 and other international gangs are able to flee from the United States to evade law enforcement efforts. This gives them an advantage that even American criminals don’t have. This makes these criminals even more dangerous to us.
This is not conjecture on my part, but was something I observed, “Up close and in person” as an INS senior special agent.
While securing the Mexican border is, obviously an extremely important goal, it should be thought of as being one of many holes in the bottom of the boat. To keep the boat from winding up at the bottom of the lake, all of the holes need to be plugged. Immigration is no different. Napolitano is fixated on the Mexican border and even that vulnerability is not fully addressed, yet she is virtually ignoring all of the other vulnerabilities. I fear that this failure to identify and address these other vulnerabilities are enabling criminals and terrorists to infiltrate our country and embed themselves in hundreds of cities across our nation, many of those cities located thousands of miles from the embattled Mexican border.
The outrage is that most “news” programs and newspapers would sooner do a story about a three legged dog than these issues that go to the heart of national security!
While the interrogation tactics are a major story for so many news programs, the continuing threat posed by terrorists is being ignored by most news agencies. Kassir’s conviction, to my knowledge, has not been covered by most of the broadcast media, yet it is an extremely important story.
The leaders of our nation have been provided with ever so much reliable information that clearly demonstrates that our country remains vulnerable because too many of our “leaders” cannot seem to think beyond the next campaign for re-election. They are eager to receive those campaign contributions and promises of votes cast by members of special interest groups.
The time has come for those politicians to consider why it is that We the People, in large measure, hold politicians in such contempt. The American people have clearly awakened to the way that many of our supposed “representatives” have betrayed us and only represent those with deep pockets.
Those politicians also should think of their own families. A terrorist attack(s) involving nuclear, chemical or biological weapons will not respect wealth or political power. Those weapons have no conscience. They only obey the laws of physics and biology. No one is safe from weapons of mass destruction.
The rapid growth of members of violent drug trafficking organizations throughout our country similarly threatens our safety.
If, God forbid, the terrorists do succeed in attacking our nation again a thorough investigation must and undoubtedly would be conducted. If it can be determined that terrorists exploited vulnerabilities in the system such as the immigration benefits program, the Visa Waiver Program, etc., then I would strongly suggest that those politicians who failed to represent our nation and our citizens by dealt with the same way that an errant physician is dealt with when he (she) is guilty of malpractice: the same way that a law enforcement officer is made accountable when he (she) uses deadly force.
Our government is supposed to represent the best interests of our nation and our citizens. It is time that We the People, made it clear to our elected representatives that the words they utter when they are sworn in after they win their elected positions really do have meaning!
When politicians speak at hearings and go before the cameras and microphones, they are making their positions clear. They also make their positions clear by the votes that they cast.
They cannot hide from their words or their votes, We the People can, in fact, must see to that!
The need to secure our nation’s borders and create an immigration system that possesses real integrity is neither Conservative issues nor Liberal issues: these are simply AMERICAN issues!