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Have we learned anything about our immigration system 18 years after 9/11?

Conservative Review

On December 7, 1941, on a day that will live in infamy, the Japanese military attacked our naval base in Hawaii, killing 2,335 people. We responded with clarity of mission by declaring war on Japan and defeating it militarily, with a no-holds-barred approach and not a scintilla of political correctness.

On September 11, 2001, a ragtag terrorist organization attacked us through our immigration system, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. We simply let in people we should not have admitted and allowed them to work with networks within this country of other people who should not have been let in. We responded by making the problem worse and increasing migration from those countries without any system to vet incoming immigrants.

Our government’s response to what should have been treated primarily as an immigration and national security problem was to sacrifice thousands of lives and trillions of dollars nation-building on behalf of various tribes fighting each other in the Middle East, empowering Iran, and clamping down on civil liberties at airports – all the while ignoring our visa system and doubling immigration from the Middle East. One could not possibly conjure up a more backward, more counter-intuitive array of policies than the way we have prosecuted the war on terror for the past 18 years.

Responding to an immigration problem by doubling down on unvetted mass migration from the Middle East  

The recent arrest of Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani brings out this point. Alani is a mechanic for American Airlines who is accused of putting foam glue inside part of a commercial plane’s navigation system last month. We now basically make Americans strip naked and be humiliated at airports, while we bring in people like this from overseas and even have them work on the very planes our TSA procedures are meant to keep safe! According to Breitbart’s John Binder, “Alani first arrived in the U.S. from Iraq sometime in the mid-1980s. Alani came to the country as the spouse of an American citizen and eventually was able to become a naturalized American citizen himself in 1992.” How was he vetted? What did we know about him before he came to the U.S.? Later citizenship is no guarantee.

Last Thursday, an alleged sniper for ISIS was indicted on conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. How did Ruslan Maratovich Asainov get here from his native Kazakhstan? According to John Binder, he arrived in 1999 on the diversity visa lottery. And he too became an American citizen. There is nothing more dangerous than a random visa lottery to bring in people from volatile parts of the world with limited vetting and no ties to this country. Yet we refused to get rid of the lottery after 9/11.

On December 11, 2017, when Republicans controlled all three branches of government, Akayed Ulla, a Bangladeshi national who came here through the diversity visa lottery, attempted to blow himself up at a New York City subway, a nightmare terror scenario. Six weeks earlier, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an Uzbeki national who came on a diversity visa in 2010, ran down eight people with a truck in the deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11. There was pressure to get rid of the diversity lottery back then, but Republicans declined to advance such a bill even at the committee level.

There are endless enclaves and clustering of large communities of unassimilable migrants from countries with strong ties to terror right in New York City, the target of the 9/11 attacks. Every week, we see more stories of those arrested on terror charges. On August 29, Awais Chudhary was arrested for plotting an ISIS terror attack in Queens. He came from Pakistan some time after 9/11.

The same applies to the Somali community in Minneapolis, where dozens have been charged for terrorism-related activity. In 2015, U.S. attorney Andrew Lugar warned that there is “a terror-recruiting problem in Minnesota” among the Somali youth and that it does not stem from overseas but “may be their best friend right here in town.” Similarly, in November 2016, Michael Davis, a federal judge in Minnesota appointed by Bill Clinton, warned, “This community needs to understand there is a jihadist cell in this community. Its tentacles spread out.”

No amount of TSA “security” for passengers can stop the suicide of a nation bringing in Sharia-adherent Islamists in large numbers on visas to this country without any way to vet them or deal with the Muslim Brotherhood subversion in their communities on our soil.

We have grown our immigration from Iraq exponentially since 9/11. We’ve brought in roughly 188,000 since 2009, largely because of a war that was sold to us as “fighting them there so they won’t come here.” What has our government done to better vet these people? Iraqi refugees are caught all the time by the FBI on terrorism charges.

We have clearly not learned our lesson, or we are just willing to allow the false gods of mass migration to overshadow safety concerns. We have issued roughly 2.2 million green cards to nationals of predominantly Muslim countries from 2001 through the first quarter of 2018, a level we’ve never seen in our nation’s history. We’ve brought in more just in a five-year period than the entire Muslim population of Belgium, which has become saturated with radical Islamic elements.

Then there are the non-immigrant visas. Consider how astounding this is: Congress passed an exit-entry visa tracking system in 1996. Its implementation was recommended by the 9/11 Commission. We still have not implemented such a verification system. Two of the hijackers, Satam al Suqami and Nawaf al Hazmi, overstayed their visas. Visa overstay remains the biggest gaping hole in our security. Roughly 667,000 people overstayed their visas in 2016 alone, and many still remain in the country.

Furthermore, instead of making visa applications from terror-prone countries a red flag, we now admit over 155,000 foreign students from the Middle East. One of the 9/11 hijackers who piloted the plane that flew into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, came here on a student visa from Saudi Arabia. We have responded to the threat by increasing the number of foreign students from Saudi Arabia from a few thousand a year to over 70,000. In 2014, ABC news discovered that 58,000 foreign nationals had overstayed their student visas in particular, of which 6,000 represented a “heightened concern.”

Remember, the internet was still quite primitive around the time of 9/11. Now it is the prime recruiting tool of terrorism, making it even harder for mass numbers of Middle Eastern immigrants to assimilate than before. In 2018, the DHS and DOJ put out a joint report that found that at least 402, or 73 percent, of the 549 individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges from September 11, 2001, through 2016 were verified as foreign-born, almost all of them from the Middle East or North Africa. The origin of many of the remaining ones were unknown. The first line of defense on terrorism is immigration policy, not war in Afghanistan.

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