Jewish World Review Sept. 11, 2002 / 5 Tishrei, 5763

Michelle Malkin

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9-11: Surrendering the domestic front | After Osama bin Laden's hijack squadrons invaded our skies a year ago, America's military responded. Operation Enduring Freedom launched on Oct. 7, 2001. President Bush deployed thousands of troops to combat terrorist forces in the Middle East. By Memorial Day, dozens of men who dedicated their lives to our country returned to their families in flag-draped coffins.

They were doing what needed to be done.

The same cannot be said on the domestic front. One year after the attacks, officials in both major parties continue to be paralyzed by political correctness and bureaucratic sclerosis. They have yet to come to grips with the reality of homicidal America-haters lurking at our doorstep -- evildoers whose main tactic is to infiltrate our country and kill us. Our immigration system remains gutless, clueless, senseless and defenseless.

While young soldiers boldly took up arms overseas to protect their fellow Americans, leaders in Washington took meager baby steps to shore up our borders against foreign invaders. Congress gave the INS more money, sprinkled a few hundred more agents on the front lines, tossed in some boats, cameras, night goggles and pepperball guns, and renewed long-delayed efforts to track legal aliens entering the country.

Meanwhile, long stretches of our borders remained unpatrolled. In Pembina, N.D., our border was guarded by a 12-foot steel barricade with a hopeless warning that reads "Avoid Heavy Penalty" and asks intruders to check in when they see the nearest guards. President Bush and Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada announced new programs this week to make travel between the two countries even faster. "Stop times will be reduced from a few minutes to seconds, and that's important," Bush explained.

Responding to demands that America provide better travel amenities to immigration outlaws entering from the south, INS commissioner James Ziglar erected water stations and "rescue beacons" -- 30-foot-tall, solar-powered towers equipped with alarm buttons so illegal aliens could summon help. The same week that Ziglar announced the plan, federal agents arrested two Egyptians who allegedly tried to smuggle in Middle Eastern immigrants through the U.S.-Mexico border.

While our guardians in Washington pledged "Never again," they openly assured millions of immigration outlaws that they would not be arrested -- and championed another amnesty program of the very kind that has been exploited by al Qaeda in the past. State and local governments further rolled out the welcome mat by adopting or retaining pro-illegal alien measures, from driver's licenses to taxpayer-subsidized education to sanctuary laws, which can all be exploited to ease a foreign terrorist's path to destruction.

From the loose and open borders crowd came pledges of patriotism and cooperation, followed by the same old obstructionist complaints about tightening our immigration policies: Too fast. Too costly. Unnecessary. Unrealistic.

Congress ignored our broken deportation system, leaving tens of thousands of illegal aliens and potential terrorists to roam free and game our criminal-friendly, backlogged immigration court system and obscure appeals board.

The State Department continued issuing visas to tourists and businessmen from al Qaeda magnet countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen, as if September 11 never happened. Citizens of official state sponsors of terrorism (such as Iraq, Syria and Libya) aren't eligible for nonimmigrant visas but can still participate in the Diversity Visa "green card" lottery giveaway.

Inside the INS, little changed. The agency continued its longstanding policy of retaliating against whistleblowers and promoting life-long civil servants with mile-long titles. Rank-and-file agents and inspectors continued to feel pressure to support the travel industry's need for speed over safety. Apathetic officials turned away illegal aliens rounded up by bail bondsmen and local police. Ziglar resigned, but one of his chief deputies, Stuart Anderson -- a longtime advocate of lax borders -- remains.

While Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's minions roughhoused grandmothers and ransacked bottled breast milk, millions of foreigners waltzed into the country without even having to bother to get visas. Fraud-ridden State Department policies such as the Transit Without a Visa and Visa Waiver Program (exploited by alleged "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and indicted "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui) continue to put foreign travelers' comfort and airline profits over American citizens' safety.

More than 3,000 dead and 365 days later, this is where we stand today: While our uniformed men and women carry the Stars and Stripes in battle overseas against the terrorist hijackers' al Qaeda brethren, politicians and bureaucrats continue to wave the white flag at home. Until Americans, native-born and naturalized alike, demand that our government live up to its constitutional duty to provide for the common defense, we will remain in a shamefully perilous state of surrender.

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JWR contributor Michelle Malkin is the author of, most recently, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores". To comment, please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate