For decades, foreign-born Islamic terrorists have been exploiting our immigration system. Almost every type of immigration has been exploited by terrorists, from temporary legal immigration to illegal immigration to humanitarian immigration. As the former secretary of State, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in a perfect position to provide some direction on this issue since it is the State Department that is largely responsible for vetting foreigners.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Clinton has offered no plan to stop terrorists from continuing to exploit our immigration system.
Thus far, she has spoken only of mass amnesty for millions of unknown individuals who have either clandestinely sneaked passed our Border Patrol or lied to the State Department and overstayed or violated the terms of their visas.
Mrs. Clinton has spoken negatively of Donald Trump’s proposal for a temporary pause in immigration from some predominantly Muslim countries until the country can come up with a better plan that puts public safety first. She has called the proposal “shameful and offensive” and “dangerous.” The danger, she explained, is that schoolchildren might become “the target of Islamophobia.”
The truth is that some people of the Muslim faith might experience some suspicion on the part of others, not because they themselves have committed any terrorist act or because of any proposal made by Mr. Trump. Rather, some have experienced so-called Islamophobia because our government has done a horrible job denying entry to Muslims who are terrorists. Put another way, if our government did a better job of screening foreigners, Americans wouldn’t have reason to fear that there are Muslims in the United States wishing to do harm to innocents. Unfortunately, our government continues to welcome people who wish to do us harm, and Americans (of all faiths) are naturally on guard.
Nobody wants to live in this type of a society. Nobody wants to live in fear of terrorism or in fear of being unfairly discriminated against. For the past week, Belgian police have been desperately searching for the son of a radical imam the Belgium government has been trying to deport for a year; the son has called for “the murder of all Christians.” Does anyone doubt this situation is causing some in Belgium to look upon innocent Muslims with suspicion? Couldn’t this social discord have been avoided with a better immigration policy? Yet Hillary offers nothing that would lessen this type of fallout here in the United States.
Recently, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign website noted her plan is to “defeat ISIS and global terrorism and the ideologies that drive it,” a long-term proposal that she seems to infer can be achieved through bombing runs overseas. In the short term, she has no plan. This is true also of many of the failed Republican presidential candidates, like Jeb Bush, whose main response to terrorists killing on American soil was a “massive” military force abroad and nation-building.
What about illegal aliens from state sponsors of terrorism who have already been haphazardly allowed into the country? What about our existing immigration policies that continue to allow problematic people into the country, even legally? These immediate concerns do not seem to be on Hillary’s radar.
Defeating ISIS — however you measure it — is not something Mrs. Clinton would be able to achieve within her first 100 days. Radical Islamic terrorism has been around a lot longer than ISIS. A new group of radicalized terrorists will pop up when ISIS ceases to be the threat it currently is. What then? Another pledge from politicians promising to defeat the latest group of terrorists?
Whatever we do in the long term, we also need an immediate plan to prevent people who wish to do us harm from entering the country. Thus far, Mr. Trump has proposed a temporary pause in immigration from regions fraught with problems and views that are hostile to American values until a more targeted plan can be crafted. Though she is perfectly free to offer an alternative, Hillary has offered only criticism.
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign website recently claimed that “Hillary will keep America safe and secure by defending our core values and leading with principle.” Is border security and an immigration policy that puts the interests of legal residents first a core value of the Clinton campaign? Seemingly, no.
As the 9/11 Commission explained, “It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country.” This very basic concept is something Mrs. Clinton has never commented on and perhaps doesn’t understand. At worst, she understands this problem but is unwilling to address it because too many of her stakeholders are wedded to open immigration at all costs.
The Sept. 11 terrorists entered under the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, but even for non-terrorism reasons many should have been denied entry. Additionally, the 9/11 Commission found that “all of the hijackers violated some aspect of immigration U.S. law.” Both administrations were guilty of inadequately screening foreigners. Americans have rejected another Bush presidency after Jeb kept talking about the importance of letting foreigners violate our immigration laws. Americans may reject another Clinton presidency as well if Hillary can’t come up with a viable immigration policy that will protect the nation.
• Jon Feere is a legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies.