You’re kidding me:
Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an independent research group.
This comes despite the fact the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that fighting terrorism is the central mission of DHS.
The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse said it analyzed millions of previously undisclosed records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act.
Of the 814,073 people charged by DHS in immigration courts during the past three years, 12 faced charges of terrorism, TRAC said.
Those 12 cases represent 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed.
“The DHS claims it is focused on terrorism. Well that’s just not true,” said David Burnham, a TRAC spokesman. “Either there’s no terrorism, or they’re terrible at catching them. Either way it’s bad for all of us.”
First off, the group is a little off in their criticism: one of DHS’s primary duties is handling immigration. They replaced the INS in that respect. Every step Sue and I took to get her Green Card dealt with DHS, not INS.
However, they are absolutely accurate in that the Bush Administration has always represented DHS as an anti-terrorism agency. To quote from the official announcement of its formation:
The mission of the Office will be to develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks. The Office will coordinate the executive branch’s efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States.
But to lift a paragraph from my immigration post:
One of the problems I have with the War and Terror is how it has become a proxy for unrelated issues. Many of the law enforcement tools the Feds had sought for years were suddenly allowed by the Patriot Act. Massive pork barrel projects have been shoe-horned into spending bills.
And immigration has become part of this.
Let me be blunt: immigration has nothing to do with terrorism, despite the hysterical shrieks of the Right. The 9/11 hijakers were all in this country legally. Even if we were to seal the border with Mexico, we have thousands of miles of Canadian border and shoreline left. We also have airports in Canada, in Cuba and in Mexico within easy flying range of major American cities. And dozens of ports that bomb-laden ships can be sailed into.
Moreover, the people who come here with destruction in their hearts may not be immediately obvious. If the terrorist are smart, they will send people here with clean records, no known ideology, no ties to extremist groups who are apparently coming her for schooling or business. Smart immigration agents might catch them. But they didn’t catch the 9/11 hijackers. They were looking for twenty needles in millions of haystacks.
We can not prevent terrorism by keeping people out of this country. We can not build walls around this nation. We prevent terrorism with intelligence, with vigilance, with the occasional well-considered military action and by winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world.
Quit piggy-backing your issues on terrorism. The issue is difficult enough wihout being burderened with even more complicated issues.