- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 25, 2001

Quote of the week
"The country is at war. It's a war even more difficult because the perpetrators are shadowy and unclear. We don't really know who they are. We know they're out there. It's a war where the motives many of us don't understand, can't even fathom."
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, convening yesterday's national Summit on Emergency, Safety and Security

Needles in a haystack
Virtually unnoticed in recent days are U.S. Census Bureau statistical adjustments to the 2000 census that estimate 8 million illegal aliens are living in the United States.
Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, tells us the updated number of illegals larger than might have been expected from earlier Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates is especially troubling, given failures that immigration control played in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
And perhaps even more troubling, in 1990 the INS put the U.S. illegal-alien population at 3.5 million.
In other words, during the 1990s, the population of illegal aliens grew by roughly half a million a year. But don't blame the INS.
Instead, the CIS contends, the problem lies with Congress and previous administrations, Democratic and Republican, for failing to provide money and political support it says the INS needs to enforce the ban on hiring illegals, to track down those who overstay their visas as was the case with several of the Sept. 11 terrorists and to adequately guard all of the nation's borders.
"These new estimates have enormous implications for the security of our nation," says Mr. Camarota. "If a Mexican day laborer can sneak across the border, so can an al Qaeda terrorist."

Wrest control
More and more Americans are calling for immigration reform and border-control legislation, similar to that proposed by Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican and head of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, who wants to enact a six-month moratorium on foreign student visas.
"Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the number of visitors to our organization's Web site has tripled," Scott Lauf, executive director of CitizensLobby.com, tells Inside the Beltway. "And we have received tens of thousands of signed petitions and letters, and this activity is exclusively due to American citizens' concerns over border security and lax immigration controls."

Grapevine to Osama
U.S. intelligence is apparently having a difficult time pinpointing exactly what cave Osama bin Laden is cowering in. Chip Vara, a senior business analyst in Jacksonville, Fla., thinks he has discovered the solution, as he writes in this letter of the week:
"For some unknown reason, the United States government has not unleashed its most potent weapon in trying to find Osama bin Laden," says Mr. Vara. "Let me share with you how I stumbled onto this oversight.
"This past weekend, my family watched Troy State University [of Alabama] play the University of California at Northridge. I have a son who is a graduate assistant to the TSU athletic director and we had free tickets. Accompanying my wife and myself were my mother-in-law and my wife's brother's family.
"While watching the game with my brother-in-law, I noticed an elderly lady, dressed to the nines in TSU colors, walking to and fro along the fence line separating the grandstand from the field. She kept this vigil up most of the day, which caused me to wonder who she might be. The game ends, the family goes out to eat, my brother-in-law returns to Florida, leaving my wife, son and mother-in-law to spend the night in Troy.
"On Sunday morning, we worship at the First Baptist Church and whom should I see but my mystery lady from the ballgame. I point her out to my wife and she begins to tell me the lady's entire life history. I ask her how she knew this and she simply said, 'Mother told me.'
"Realizing my mother-in-law had been in Troy, Alabama, for less than 24 hours and had uncovered all this information about this mystery lady, it dawned on me how the U.S. government could find Mr. bin Laden," Mr. Vara continues.
"My mother-in-law is but one of thousands of genteel Southern women who live in small rural towns. These women man the grapevine that keeps their communities informed about who's visiting whom, who's in the hospital this week, you know what I mean. They simply know how to find information.
"All we need to do is air-drop in a couple of dozen of my mother-in-laws into Afghanistan and I guarantee they will find Osama's location in no time. Of course, they will also find out his favorite color, food, and other unnecessary information. But they will find him."

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