- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The United States remains under threat and is vulnerable to attacks by international terrorists despite government efforts to tighten visa procedures and enhance intelligence cooperation, an immigration watchdog group said yesterday.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) said streamlined visa requirements and upgraded intelligence data made it “more likely” that the “continuing vulnerability of our borders to illegal entry will be exploited in the next terrorist attack.”

A report by John L. Martin, FAIR’s director of special projects, described the additional resources allocated to border control since the September 11 attacks as “only making a dent in the problem because nothing has been done to deter thousands of foreigners from attempting illegal entry every day” to seek jobs in this country.

The report said efforts to end sanctuaries abroad for international terrorists must be accompanied by efforts to end sanctuary policies in this country — a reference to a decision by several city governments to prohibit officers from questioning or apprehending someone only for an immigration violation or from notifying immigration officers about an illegal alien.

“We knew when we prepared this report our nation’s preparedness for a looming disaster was inadequate,” said FAIR President Dan Stein. “That is as true for a terrorist attack as it was tragically proven to be the case for a hurricane. Unless we take immediate steps to address the threat posed by our chaotic immigration policies and failed enforcement efforts, we are almost certain to face another catastrophic attack in the near future.”

The report said new measures are needed to strengthen both U.S. border and interior security. It also was critical of a proposed guest-worker program being debated in Congress, saying it was not a solution to terrorism.

“It likely would aggravate the threat by diverting Department of Homeland Security resources from their primary responsibilities and encourage increased illegal entry by persons attracted by the hope of benefiting from recurring amnesties,” the report said.

To control the border, the report said the White House and Congress should increase the deterrent capability of the Border Patrol, make additional resources available to tribal police to assist in efforts to control illegal passage across their lands and strengthen the secondary interception of illegal border crossers.

It also said that efforts have to be made to combat an increase in the number of apprehended foreign nationals identified as “other than Mexican” by implementing expedited removal of those illegal aliens and that the government must have sufficient detention facilities to detain apprehended illegals.

On interior enforcement, the report said that work eligibility documents should be verified and verifiable, that foreigners be required to be registered in a database upon entry, that asylum claims be withheld until investigated by U.S. authorities abroad and that work permits not be issued to any foreigners illegally in the country.

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