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Political Devotions
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Political Devotions - Conservative Alerts, News and Commentary
Friday, August 27, 2004
Suicide by Stupidity: Visas for Terrorists Still Available
Topic: Homeland Security

[Important Notice: The PoliticalDevotions.com site has been redesigned and moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com. The Political Devotions weblog will still be updated and archived, but for the most up-to-date version of site, please visit and bookmark TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Informed Americans have long wondered as to whose side the State Department is on in the war on Islamic terror. In a recent column, Joel Mowbray keeps us guessing:
Loophole exploited by the 9/11 hijackers remains open

If al Qaeda wants to strike on U.S. soil before the elections, it still has available to it a gaping loophole it exploited pre-9/11: Saudis' easy access to U.S. visas.

Despite supposed reforms implemented by the U.S. State Department, current statistics--obtained exclusively by this columnist--reveal that nearly 90% of all Saudi visa applicants get approved. To put this in perspective, applicants in most other Arab nations--the ones that didn't send us 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers--are refused visas three to five times more often than Saudis. (State refused multiple requests for comment.)

. . .

State has made some progress, such as doubling the number of names on the watchlist and breathing more life into pre-9/11 programs to identify non-watchlisted individuals who should be barred from the U.S.

What State has neglected to do, however, is enforce the law in Saudi Arabia.

Because of a provision in the law known as 214(b), all applicants are presumed ineligible for a visa until they establish their eligibility. This is supposed to be a high bar to clear, and in most countries, it is. Just not for Saudis. That's why nearly 90% who apply still get approved.

Eight of KSM's 27 handpicked operatives were prevented from entering the United States because of 214(b). Yet the same law that kept out almost one-third of the original 9/11 cell was not applied in Saudi Arabia--and it still isn't today.

If State wanted to get tough on Saudi visa applicants, they would have unfettered discretion to do so. Denials made by a consular officer are not appealable, which means a visa could be denied simply because a Saudi is young, single, and unemployed--the profile of the person least likely to qualify under 214(b) and the most likely to be a terrorist.

State, however, has shown no willingness to put security first. It vehemently opposed Congressional attempts to tighten Saudis' access to visas, and it only closed Visa Express under duress. Late last year--as originally reported here this January--the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh sent a cable to Washington advocating a re-loosening of restrictions on Saudi visas.

With 15 of the 19 hijackers and continued al Qaeda bombings and beheadings, the question must be asked: what additional evidence does State need before deciding to enforce the law?
The question I would ask is: Given this series of transgressions, and the general culture of appeasement and diplomatic naivete at Foggy Bottom, why has Congress not already stripped the State Department of its power to issue visas?

If you would like to ask that question of your Senators and Representatives, and ask them to make visa issuance a law enforcement matter, not one of diplomacy and customer service to foreign tyrannies, feel free to use our Basic Contact Links.

Posted by Tim at 1:43 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Suicide by Stupidity: Mid Eastern Illegals Routinely Released
Topic: Homeland Security
[Important Notice: The PoliticalDevotions.com site has been redesigned and moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com. The Political Devotions weblog will still be updated and archived, but for the most up-to-date version of site, please visit and bookmark TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Human Events Online reports on the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's shocking policy of releasing captured Middle Eastern illegal aliens into the US population. The policy is outrageous, but what is more outrageous is that ICE officials vigorously defend it:
No Extra Scrutiny for Middle Eastern Illegals at Mexico Border

by Joseph A. D'Agostino
Posted Aug 9, 2004

U.S. government policy requires that young Middle Eastern men who are caught crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico be treated the same as illegal aliens from elsewhere in the world--meaning that if they don't have criminal records, don't appear on government watch lists and are not deemed to be suspicious by the federal law enforcement officers who interview them, they most likely will be released into the U.S. population.

All 19 of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers were young men from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. None of them had criminal records, not all were on watch lists, and few apparently raised significant suspicions among American border or visa authorities.

"The law does not differentiate based on nationality. So enforcement does not differ based on nationality," says Reed Little, Detention and Enforcement Officer for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He added that ICE officials must justify their actions before immigration judges.

Asked if a 25-year-old man from Saudi Arabia would be treated at all differently from other illegal aliens coming across the Mexican border, ICE spokesman Manny Van Pelt said, "No."

Van Pelt said the government's general practice is to release apprehended aliens into the United States without requiring bond pending their deportation hearing, unless they have criminal records, are flagged in a government database as a potential threat, or their interviews with agents reveal a potential threat. "It's just a matter of interviewing them and running their names through the database. . . ," he said. "If everything is clean, he will be issued a Notice to Appear." That requires the illegal alien to appear in court at a later date, he said. Illegal aliens deemed to be a threat or who have criminal records are detained until their hearings.

Van Pelt and Little said there is no justification for singling out people from the Middle East and cited Richard Reid, an Englishman who tried to detonate his shoe on an airliner, as an example of a terrorist threat from another part of the world. "There have been people suspected and accused of being Irish terrorists," Van Pelt noted. Also, said Little, immigration agents have to justify their actions with evidence before judges. "We have to be able to inform the immigration judge why we are holding a person," he said.
[How `bout because he broke the law by entering the country illegally?! -- Ed.] "'He's a young man from a Middle Eastern country' doesn't sound very good."

In just the McAllen, Tex., sector of the Southern border, 19,460 nationals other than Mexicans (OTMs) were apprehended between Oct. 1, 2003, and July 28, 2004, according to a local Border Patrol spokesman. One of those was Farida Ahmed, a Muslim woman with a South African passport on her way to New York. She was detained at McAllen International Airport by astute Border Patrol agents on July 19. She is charged with entering the country illegally, possessing an altered passport, and lying to investigators.

ICE does not keep central statistics on OTMs apprehended crossing the Southern border. . . .
One wonders whether these immigration bureaucrats would enforce ethnic profiling, even if it were codified into the law. A serious housecleaning at the Bureau would probably have to follow the law's passage. Use the Ten Minute Lobbyist's Basic Contact Links to send this Human Events piece to your elected officials, and demand a sane policy of ethnic and religious profiling be integrated into border enforcement laws.

For what its worth, you can also contact Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge here, and let him know your opinion of his officials' belief that there is "no justification" for holding Mid Eastern illegals.

Posted by Tim at 2:50 PM EDT
Monday, August 9, 2004
Mineta Must Go
Topic: Homeland Security
[Important Notice: The PoliticalDevotions.com site has been redesigned and moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com. The Political Devotions weblog will still be updated and archived, but for the most up-to-date version of site, please visit and bookmark TenMinuteLobbyist.com. Thanks! -- Ed.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

In today's column for the New York Post, Michelle Malkin summarizes the case for firing our dangerous transportation secretary:
August 9, 2004 -- FEW government officials have invited more scorn than Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta. It's long past time for the Bush administration to send him out to pasture.

And it is time for America to purge itself of the addled, anti-profiling mindset of Mineta. He has turned his personal World War II experience into an excuse to do nothing to fight our enemies today.

After 19 Islamist foreign hijackers murdered 3,000 people on American soil, Mineta quickly declared that any profiling taking into account race, ethnicity, religion or nationality would be forbidden in airport security. When 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft asked Mineta whether he could envision any circumstance where it would make sense to use racial and ethnic profiling, he responded, "Absolutely not."

Croft followed up: "If you saw three young Arab men sitting, kneeling, praying, before they boarded a flight, getting on, talking to each other in Arabic, getting on the plane, no reason to stop and ask them any questions?" Mineta remained obstinate: No.

Since that interview, Mineta has shaken down airlines for engaging in profiling and continues to lean on the industry to prevent cautious flight crews from applying heightened scrutiny to any and all Arab/Muslim passengers. United Airlines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines have all been forced to settle discrimination cases with the Department of Transportation for a combined $3.5 million. . . .

We cannot win the war on Muslim terrorists as long as we keep learning the wrong lessons of World War II. Mineta is the wrong man at the wrong time in the wrong place. He seeks penance for the past by handcuffing the nation's defenders of the present. To defeat the Islamists, America needs dry-eyed leaders who refuse to be sorry for putting homeland security over hurt feelings.
Use the Ten Minute Lobbyist's Basic Contact Links to ask President Bush to remove Mineta, before another 9-11 makes it obvious that he should have done so.

And for more on transportation security lunacy, read Heather Mac Donald's August 5th piece for the Wall Street Journal Our Own Worst Enemy.

Posted by Tim at 2:05 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 9, 2004 4:27 PM EDT
Thursday, August 5, 2004
Political Correctness Trumps Passenger Safety
Topic: Homeland Security
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Today the Washington Times editorializes on Department of Transportation political correctness placing the traveling public -- not to mention citizens in targeted buildings -- in jeopardy:
There does not appear to be a formal quota system in place for screening passengers. But a considerable body of evidence suggests that, beginning in the Clinton years and continuing after September 11, something no less troubling has taken hold: a mindset and series of practices that discourage the use of common sense in deciding who should be permitted to board a plane.

Much of this is outlined in the remarkable testimony delivered June 24 before the Senate Appropriations Committee by Michael Smerconish, an attorney and radio talk show host from Philadelphia. Mr. Smerconish recounted a discussion he had with Herb Kelleher, founder and chairman of Southwest Airlines, in which Mr. Kelleher said that random screening (the silliness which often subjects small children and elderly passengers to added security scrutiny, known as secondary screening) was instituted by the Clinton Justice Department, which was concerned about equality of treatment.

DOT stated earlier this year that "secondary screening of passengers is random or behavior based. It is not now, nor has it ever been based on ethnicity, religion or appearance." This raises an interesting question for Mr. Mineta: Given the reality that the September 11 hijackers had ethnicity, religion and appearance in common, does it make sense to ban any consideration of these factors in deciding who may board a plane?

Regarding the existence of an arbitrary limit on the number of passengers subject to extra screening, Edmond Soliday, United Airlines' former vice president for security, told the September 11 commission that one Justice Department official informed him that "if I had more than three people of the same ethnic origin in line for additional screening, our system would be shut down as discriminatory." Was Mr. Soliday making this up?

In his Senate testimony, Mr. Smerconish raised legitimate questions about DOT's decision to levy a $1.5 fine against American Airlines -- which lost 17 of its personnel on September 11 -- for refusing to allow an American of Arab background to board a flight to Los Angeles at Logan Airport in Boston on Nov. 3, 2001. (The man was acting suspiciously, and his name was similar to one on a terrorism watch list, among other things.)
The editorial closes with an invitation to Mineta to respond to Smerconish's legitimate questions, and explain "why he apparently takes such a dogmatic position against a limited, common-sense use of ethnic profiling at the airport -- now very much a part of the modern battlefield."

You can extend that invitation to Mineta yourself, at the DOT's contact page, and use our Take Action page to copy your Representative, Senators, and President Bush.

For more links, see AIRPORT INSECURITY at Michelle Malkin's weblog.

Posted by Tim at 12:44 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 5, 2004 1:25 PM EDT
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Welcoming Terror
Topic: Homeland Security
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

For those of you who don't already know, Michelle Malkin now publishes a weblog, and a fine one it is. Today she has truly shocking coverage on the scandalous neglect of our southern border: TERRORISTS DON'T STOP AT THE RIO GRANDE.

And for your edification and action, here's a rerun of a March 2004 Political Devotions entry on the same subject:

Open Borders in a Time of Terror

"There's no relationship between immigration and terrorism."

- Spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza.

"I don't think the events [of 9/11] can be attributed to the failure of our immigation laws."

- Head of the immigration lawyers' guild, one week after the attacks.

When Islamic terrorists finally achieve their dream and detonate ten nuclear devices in ten US cities, the "Cause of Death" entry on America's death certificate should read: "Stupidity, complicated by shortsightedness and apathy."

Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. But there is no question the nation is in grave danger, and in his essay Keeping Terror Out: Immigration Policy and Asymmetric Warfare, Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, tells us why the phrase "Home Front" is no longer a metaphor.

Some key points:

The enemy has penetrated nearly every element of the US immigration system by exploiting its weaknesses.

A normal level of visa scrutiny would have excluded almost all the 9/11 highjackers from entry into the US.

Every major Al-Qaeda attack or conspiracy in the US has involved at least one terrorist who violated immigration law.

Immigration control is to asymmetric warfare what missile defense is to strategic warfare, yet our immigration response to 9/11 has been piecemeal and poorly coordinated.

There is a sense that Justice and Homeland Security department bureaucrats are searching for ways to "tighten up immigration controls that will not alienate one or another of a bevy of special interest groups."

A strategic assessment of what an effective immigration-control system would look like is needed.

The most important flaw in the "visa filter" is that the State Department, with its corporate culture of diplomacy and currying favor with foreign governments, remains in charge of issuing visas.

Most illegal alien terrorists were visa "overstayers," yet the INS's statistics division declared it could no longer estimate the number of people who have overstayed their visas.

There is continued resistance to using the military to back up the Border Patrol, even though controlling the Mexican border is an important security objective.

Because of lack of space, most aliens in deportation proceedings are not detained. They receive a "run letter" instructing them to appear for deportation. To no one's surprise, 94% of aliens from terrorist-sponsoring states disappear instead.

Outrageous "sanctuary" policies instituted by cites across the country prohibit city employees, including police, from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities or even inquiring as to a suspect's immigration status.

Enforcement of the 1986 prohibition against hiring illegal aliens has all but stopped.

"There is a general sense among many political leaders that enforcing the immigration law is futile and, in any case, would displease important constituencies."

Finally, Krikorian observes what ought to be obvious to all parties involved: "If our immigration system is so lax that it can be penetrated by a Mexican busboy, it can also be penetrated by an Al-Qaeda terrorist."

You can read the essay in PDF format here.

In an approach that is not only irresponsible but incredibly foolish and impractical, elected officials and government bureaucrats have persisted in avoiding actions necessary to secure our borders, in favor of their short-term goal of pleasing special interest constituencies. You would think they might at least have the common sense to recognize that nuclear devastation might adversely affect their little fiefdoms. No such luck.

Use our Take Action page to demand legislation to implement sustained, redundant and comprehensive immigration law enforcement.


Posted by Tim at 1:16 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 6, 2004 10:59 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 7, 2004
FBI Honors US Enemies
Topic: Homeland Security
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

In a recent article, The FBI Loses Its Way, Daniel Pipes Observes:
It's time to worry when the Federal Bureau of Investigation, America's national police agency, consistently cannot figure out who's friend and who's foe in the war on terror.

The bureau's record of honoring the wrong American Muslims captures this problem.

A few weeks ago, the bureau did it again, honoring Marwan Kreidie, a Philadelphia activist, with its Community Leadership Award for his being "very helpful to the FBI office," and specifically for his efforts "in identifying, preventing and disrupting acts of terrorism." Celebrating Kreidie raises deep concerns about the FBI's continuing inability to understand the war it is fighting.

Pipes goes on to delineate the myriad condemnations Kreidie has heaped upon US anti-terrorism efforts, including allegations of "assaults on human rights" perpetrated by President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft..

This is scary stuff. The country's leading law enforcement agency has shown a consistent patten of rewarding those who attack us. It is clear a State Department mentality, one of appeasement and naive diplomacy, has overtaken the FBI. If you would like to express your opposition to such policy, you can contact the FBI here, and use our Take Action page to copy President Bush, your Senators and Representative.

Posted by Tim at 2:06 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 2:13 PM EDT
Monday, June 28, 2004
Good Fences
Topic: Homeland Security
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

As so often happens in life, the bleedin' obvious course of action is shown to be effective: e.g., fences work.
Mideast Security Barrier Working

JENIN, West Bank -- The Israeli army reports a sharp drop in fatalities from Palestinian terror attacks in the first half of this year, giving much of the credit to the partially completed West Bank security barrier.

Palestinians, who are reluctant to find any good in the barrier, also are benefitting from a reduction in Israeli military operations into their neighborhoods and have begun to rebuild damaged streets and buildings.

Israeli fatalities since Jan. 1 are down by 33 percent compared with the first half of 2003 and by more than 80 percent compared with the first half of 2002, according to Israeli security officials. The northern section of the West Bank barrier -- a matrix of fences, trenches and concrete wall -- was completed a little less than a year ago.

Although Palestinians see the barrier's deviation from the West Bank border as a de facto land grab, the fence has made it infinitely more difficult for suicide bombers to reach Israeli cities just a few minutes away by car.

The last major suicide bombing involving civilians was in mid-March, and it has been almost seven weeks since an Israeli civilian died in a Palestinian attack.
Use our Take Action page to ask your elected officials why, given that terrorists currently can walk across our border virtually unhindered, the US does not have such a fence, at least for the duration of the war on Islamic terror?

Posted by Tim at 2:01 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 28, 2004 2:39 PM EDT
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Death by Stupidity
Topic: Homeland Security
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Have space aliens secretly come to earth and sucked out the brains of the Republican leadership?

From the Washington Times:
Special checks on Muslims at border to end

Washington, DC, Jun. 13 (UPI) -- The Bush administration has pledged to stop special security checks imposed on adult males entering the United States from mainly Muslim countries.

Those targeted are mostly from countries considered a risk for terrorism.

"Our long term goal", senior homeland security official Asa Hutchinson told Arab civil rights leaders Friday, "is to treat (all visitors) the same way, and not based on where you come from."

Hutchinson also distinguished the approach of the Department of Homeland Security from that of other parts of the administration, notably Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department, United Press International reported.

Under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System or NSEERS, introduced in November 2002, male visa-holders coming to the United States from any one of 25 listed nations have had to undergo special screening, including being fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed at ports of entry.

The countries include Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran. Apart from North Korea, they are all majority-Muslim nations.
Daniel Pipes, at his weblog, comments:
By way of background, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), described as a "system designed to protect U.S. citizens from terrorism," requires male visa-holders to undergo special screening, including being fingerprinted, photographed, and interviewed at ports of entry. Other than North Korea (clearly thrown in as eye-wash; how many North Koreans have you met wondering the streets of America?), all the nationalities have majority-Muslim populations.

I understand and commend the DHS concern for fair play. But I have two questions for Asa Hutchinson: Can you seriously assure me that homeland security is maintained by this step? And what will you say should a terrorist get through who otherwise, through fingerprinting, photographing, and interviewing, would have been stopped from entering the country? When political correctness trumps security, the results cannot be good.


President Bush and his administration have made it clear that the war on Islamic terror will be a long one, so why a pledge to end a program that could be a crucial component of homeland defense for decades? Use the White House contact page to insist President Bush rescind this insane pledge.

Posted by Tim at 3:53 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2004 4:15 PM EDT
Monday, May 10, 2004
End The Visa Lottery
Topic: Homeland Security
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Agape Press reports on one of the many gaping holes that still exist in US immigration policy:
Immigration Program May Threaten Homeland Security, Expert Warns

There is growing concern among many people in the U.S. capital that the federal government could be undermining its own homeland security efforts.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies feels U.S. government immigration policies may be compromising America's homeland security. According to him, each year tens of thousands of foreigners are granted green cards through an arbitrary government- run lottery program.

"The federal government runs a lottery for immigrants -- a visa lottery that gives 50,000 randomly selected people from around the world access to the United States, to move here and eventually to become citizens," Krikorian says.

The immigration expert notes that the program was originally begun to help Irish illegal immigrants, but in recent years it has become a conduit for immigrants coming from the Muslim world, many from nations whose governments have proven untrustworthy or hostile to the U.S.

Krikorian says over the years the lottery has turned into an "Islamic world and sub-Saharan African immigration program" that ends up resulting in "an enormous amount of fraud" taking place. In fact, he says, "Some of the top countries that send immigrants under this visa program are some of the most corrupt countries in the world."

The director of the Center for American Immigration Studies says America's own immigration policy has already been used to funnel terrorists onto her shores. And, he notes, that policy could still be further undermining U.S. efforts to provide security and prevent another terrorist plot like the 9-11 attacks from being carried out.

Krikorian says something has to be done to stop the immigrant visa program, or it could end up being used to help usher more terrorists onto American soil.
Perhaps you'll recall this was the visa program under which the freelance terrorist who on July 4, 2002 murdered two people at the LAX El Al counter had been allowed to remain in the US. It's a scandal that programs like this exist after such an incident, let alone after 9-11, which should have been the wake up call that changed American immigration policy forever.

Our leaders are slow learners. Educate them by sending this article to your representatives and urging them abolish the immigrant visa lottery.

Posted by Tim at 3:25 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 10, 2004 3:33 PM EDT

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