Jewish World Review Jan. 22, 2003 / 19 Shevat, 5763
Playing (and losing) Homeland Security politics
That may be a useful way to score political points among an uneasy public, but there is little indication that Senator Lieberman, his party, or most Republicans, for that matter, will take homeland security seriously enough to reexamine our immigration policy. Today the INS reports that it is still unable to find 300,000 illegals who are subject to deportation. Our borders remain so porous that in places like Arizona, citizens are taking enforcement upon themselves, patrolling lands on horseback and in Jeeps. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration is still mulling ways to give Mexico (and many U.S. businesses) what it wants - amnesty for millions who entered the U.S. illegally.
Those who question the amnesty proposal are branded "anti-immigrant." Those who suggest that we institute a temporary moratorium on immigration from nations with terrorist ties are labeled "xenophobic."
Lieberman, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, could cite nothing positive that the Bush Administration has done to protect the homeland. Yet given his deep concern about securing the homeland, Lieberman might have voiced support to the new government practice of registering visitors from 25 nations with links to terror. Congress passed this legislation, long overdue, in an attempt to account for tens of thousands of visitors in the U.S. who hail here from the world's most dangerous nations. The practice has been in place throughout Europe for decades, but that has not stopped "immigrant rights groups" and the mainstream media from complaining.
For the past few weeks, The Washington Post "news department" has featured tear-jerker stories about men from the Middle East and South Asia who are subject to the post-September 11 requirement that male temporary visa holders ages 16 and older from 25 designated countries register with the INS by certain dates. (This was passed as part of the USA Patriot Act.) Here's how a January 20th front-page story on the registration requirement begins: "Mohammed's relatives filed somberly into his sister-in-law's cramped living room…they had come to help the 38 -year-old limousine driver make a grim choice: obey a government order requiring men from countries deemed terrorist havens to register with the immigration authorities-and risk being swiftly deported for overstaying his tourist visa three years ago - or defy that command and potentially doom his pending effort to secure a green card." (Mohammed, along with thousands like him across the country, decided to continue to break the law and not register.)
In December, a coalition of Arab American groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft, to prevent the government from detaining those caught violating the terms of their visas pursuant to the registration deadlines. How did we get to a place where enforcing our immigration laws, policing our borders, has become something to be ashamed of, or something to avoid altogether? If Lieberman is serious about challenging the Bush Administration, he would ask these questions, rather than repeating vague charges about lapses in our homeland security. But of course asking such questions means incurring the wrath of Muslim-American organizations or groups like La Raza, the most powerful Hispanic lobby in the US.
Joe Lieberman knows that most Americans still prefer Republicans' handling of foreign policy and national security, so he's cleverly trying to position himself as the wise man on domestic security. Yet until the Democrats muster the courage to buck their own special interest fringe on issues like border policy and immigration enforcement, their criticism of the Bush homeland security policy will ring hollow. (Memo to John Edwards: Since you are the candidate for "the regular people," remember that regular people favor tougher enforcement of our immigration laws.)
UN Idiocy Watch: A diplomat from Libya was overwhelmingly voted to
preside at the March 17-April 25 session of the U.N. Human Rights
Commission, against the strong protest of the US. The vote was 33-3, with
17 countries abstaining. The vote was secret, but our so-called friends
in France were thought to be among the abstainers. Libya has an atrocious
human rights record, remains under suspended U.N. sanctions stemming from
the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, and is on the State
Department list of countries that support terrorism. Heck, why stop with
the Human Rights Commission? Gadafi for UN Secretary General!
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01/14/03: What have you done for the free world lately?