As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prepares to bring up the immigration bill once again, the Bush administration and amnesty advocates in Congress are attempting to sell the measure as critical "national security" legislation. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez makes this pitch over and over again, and Sen. Ted Kennedy this week took time out from from poor-mouthing the war effort in Iraq to try to spin the Senate bill as a critical tool in the war against al Qaeda. Mr. Kennedy told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Monday that Britain, France and Germany had problems with jihadist terror because Muslim immigrants are "all in different communities, which failed to assimilate individuals."
But the comments of Messrs. Kennedy and Gutierrez are disinformation — an effort by illegal-alien advocates to whitewash the fact that the immigration bill will make it much easier for terrorists to enter the country and conceal themselves while preparing to commit mass murder. Few people are better positioned to understand the damage than Kris Kobach, currently a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who served as Attorney General John Ashcroft's top adviser on immigration issues from 2001 to 2003. (On today's Op-Ed page, Mr. Kobach analyzes yet another major flaw in the Senate bill: It would grant illegal aliens the right to pay lower in-state tuition rates to attend college.) In a Heritage Foundation paper ("The Senate Immigration Bill: A National Security Nightmare") published the day after Mr. Kennedy's Chamber of Commerce speech, Mr. Kobach makes a powerful case that terrorists would be major beneficiaries if the legislation passes in anything remotely resembling its current form.
The situation is surreal: While terrorists are trying to come up with ways to commit mass murder that will make September 11 pale by comparison, the Senate is looking to find new ways to grant mass amnesty to between 12 and 20 million illegals. We already know that there are alien terrorists seeking to enter the United States. The cell that allegedly tried to bomb JFK International Airport in New York included two Guyanan nationals, one from Trinidad and a former Guyanan who was a U.S. citizen. The six persons arrested and charged in the plot to blow up Fort Dix, N.J. included a resident of Turkey who obtained U.S. citizenship and five aliens from Jordan and the former Yugoslavia. The three Yugoslav aliens were illegals who snuck across the border near Brownsville, Tex. with their families in 1984.
Proponents of the Bush-Kennedy amnesty bill assert that it will make it possible for the government to identify the terrorists (perhaps some will rush to the nearest DHS office to register themselves and fill out the necessary paperwork), but the bill will likely have the opposite effect, because it will make it easier for illegal-alien terrorists to create false new identities for themselves. Within 180 days after the president signs the legislation, the Homeland Security Department must begin handing out "probationary" Z visas signifying amnesty. No border security triggers have to be met, according to sections 1(a) and 601(f)(2) of the bill. That's when a jihadist terrorist intent on attacking the United States gets to choose from three options:
m Continue to operate as an illegal alien. This option is particularly easy if the terrorist lives in a sanctuary city, where police are generally barred by law from cooperating with the federal government, including New York City, Los Angeles and Detroit (with its large Middle Eastern population, the Motor City is an ideal place for a jihadist to hide.) Under Sections 601 (h)(1) and (5) of the bill, if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent detains an alien, he must give him an opportunity to apply for the Z visa. This is weaker than under current law, under which ICE can detain the alien and immediately begin removal proceedings.
m Obtain the amnesty using one's real name. Under Section 601(h)(1) of the Senate immigration bill, the government has only one business day to conduct a "background check" on each Z visa applicant. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (an agency plagued by disorganization and already stretched to the breaking point) can't find a terrorist connection in 24 hours or less, the applicant gets his visa — and with it the right to roam the United States at will.
m Create a fraudulent new identity with the assistance of the U.S. government. A terrorist can walk into a USCIS office and offer a false name, providing two easily forged pieces of paper that purport to show that he was in the country prior to Jan. 1, 2007. With this new identity backed by an ID card issued by the U.S. government, the alien terrorist will be armed with a "breeder document" allowing him to obtain driver's licenses and just about any other form of identification he wants. This is essentially what the 19 September 11 hijackers did — using their passports and visas to obtain 63 driver's licenses allowing them to travel the country at will and board airplanes.
The immigration bill in its current form should be renamed "The Terrorist Facilitation Act of 2007."