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The Phyllis Schlafly Report
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The Threat of Terrorism Is From Illegal Aliens

  • Constitutional Rights vs. Terrorism Regs
  • ID Card: Password to the Police State
  • Roundup of Comments about 9/11
  • VOL. 35, NO. 3P.O. BOX 618, ALTON, ILLINOIS 62002OCTOBER 2001
    The Threat of Terrorism Is From Illegal Aliens

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    The act of war that was committed against America on September 11, 2001 (9/11) has changed the way we look at many things. As Bill O'Reilly told Eagle Council XXX in St. Louis on September 22, for the first time in many years younger Americans are facing the fact that certain events and people must be viewed as good or evil, not merely in shades of gray.

    I guess we won't hear much now from the conspiracy-debunkers. It had to be a criminal conspiracy that planned and carried out the simultaneous hijacking of four airliners. We are now told that it all may have been masterminded from Germany.

    We commend President George W. Bush's plan to tell all our so-called friends and allies in other lands that they have to make a choice. You're either with us to stamp out terrorism or we will assume you are against us. Cooperate in handing over the criminals or we will consider you the enemy! Any NATO country that doesn't fully cooperate should be automatically expelled from NATO.

    At the same time, Americans have some soul-searching to do about our security. Why were our FBI and CIA caught so completely by surprise? Why have they been spending their resources chasing after a few people who were no harm to society, such as one loner on a mountaintop at Ruby Ridge and a pathetic religious group in Waco, while the plotting foreign terrorists crossed our borders and lived in our country illegally, took their flight training in Florida, and repeatedly boarded our planes?

    The terrorists are foreigners, most or all of whom should not have been allowed to live in our country. As FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted, at least some of the hijackers were "out of status," i.e., they had no proper immigration documents. It should be repeated over and over again: The terrorism threat is from illegal aliens who are allowed to live in our midst -- and this is a failure of our immigration laws and our immigration officials.

    The criminals who were convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, of the murders in front of the CIA headquarters in 1993, and who were involved in a 1998 plot to bomb New York's subway system were Middle East aliens who should not have been in the United States. They were either granted a visa that should never have been issued or had overstayed a visa and should have been expelled. The 1996 Khobar Towers bombings, the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen were all carried out by radical Middle East groups.

    Since easy access into the United States has been repeatedly exploited by aliens bent on terrorism, it should have been no surprise that it was used by the World Trade Center/Pentagon hijackers.

    The policy of opening our borders to anyone who wants to sneak into our country illegally -- or to remain illegally after entering legally -- must be exposed and terminated. This is the most important security precaution our government must take.

    The flood of illegal aliens coming across our southern border from Mexico is well known. The opportunity for illegals to come across our vast northern border is not as well known, but offers easy opportunities for illegals bent on criminal acts. Canada has a no-questions-asked immigration policy, and many border crossings between the United States and Canada are unmanned.

    The third wide-open door for illegals is the issuing of visas by 3,700 U.S. consular officers around the world. Our State Department has a laissez faire policy on issuing visas and approves 80% of the 8 million visa applications every year. The State Department manual used by consular officials states that "mere membership" in a recognized terrorist group, or even "advocacy of terrorism," does not automatically disqualify a person from entering the United States.

    Congress passed a law ordering the immigration service to track foreign visitors and students and match their entry into this country with the expiration date of their visas. Congress also ordered the immigration service to create a database of foreign students that would be accessible to law enforcement. These requirements are not due to go into effect until 2003!

    Visa visitors -- whether tourist, student or worker -- should be tracked on a federal database that flags the names when their exit dates come around.

    It is inexcusable that visa applicants aren't screened more carefully, and that aliens aren't expelled when their visa expires. Immigration officials don't even know how many people are in the United States on visas or how many are so-called "overstays," but it's clearly a substantial factor in illegal immigration.

    Many new airport security measures are now making airline travel longer and more difficult. The question should be asked how any of these measures, if they had been in place, would have prevented the 9/11 hijackings.

    We want security measures that will put criminals at risk, not harass law-abiding citizens. The chance of U.S. citizens hijacking a plane on a suicide mission is infinitely smaller than the chance of foreign enemies doing the same. Why are all passengers interrogated about their luggage rather than about their citizenship?

    It's time to rethink the rule that an airplane be a gun-free zone. If the foreign masterminds behind this attack had thought that the crew or passengers were armed, they might not have invested so much in this type of terrorism. The courageous actions of passengers against the hijackers on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania apparently prevented the plane from reaching its target where many more people would have been killed. Self-help is essential in an emergency when no law enforcement officials are available.

    While we worry about hijacked planes today, we may soon worry about hijacked foreign missile silos. Terrorists who would commit the unspeakable crimes of 9/11 would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons.

    Congress should deploy the missile defense system needed to protect our cities against foreign attack. Our government should spend the taxpayers' money for the most important business of government, providing for the common defense.

    And let's bring back the House Committee on Un-American Activities. We need congressional watchdogs to close the cracks in our internal security.


    Constitutional Rights vs. Terrorism Regs 
    After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Left moved quickly to use it as an excuse to enact draconian federal gun control. Fortunately, saner heads prevailed by showing that no new gun control laws would have been the slightest deterrent to that tragedy.

    In the wake of the World Trade Center disaster, we certainly need defensive measures to prevent another occurrence and to ensure the safety of air travel, as well as the offensive measures already initiated by President Bush. But confiscating pocket knives and sewing scissors from little old ladies will do nothing to fill the now-empty planes with confident passengers.

    The threat of terrorism comes from an identifiable group of alien males, between the ages of 20 and 35, whom our government has willfully or negligently allowed to live and travel in the United States. Yet, in the thousands of print articles and television and radio segments that have recorded the events of 9/11 and their aftermath, one has to search with a microscope to find any mention of the government's culpability in regard to immigration and visa practices. Most if not all of the hijackers were illegally in this country because their visas had expired.

    People who come to the United States do not automatically absorb our values, our respect for the Rule of Law, and our belief in individual liberty. It's up to our immigration laws and regulations to screen out those who come with a world view of hate and terrorism.

    Since the 19 hijackers are all dead, no national security reason can justify withholding information about them from the American public. Who were the immigration officials who let them into our country and under what pretenses? What did the hijackers say on their visa applications and airport arrival cards? Who okayed those documents as legally filled out and signed?

    What was the hijackers' previous employment and country of emigration? Who were their U.S. guarantors of employment after arrival in the United States? Who is responsible for failing to keep track of them in this country and failing to expel them when their visas expired?

    We also want the Oklahoma City bombing to be reexamined in order to lay to rest assertions that there was a Middle East connection through John Doe No. 2. The 4,400 documents that the FBI admitted it had failed to provide at Timothy McVeigh's trial have never been released, even though the trial judge said he was "shocked" that the FBI had withheld the documents. McVeigh is dead; why can't the American people see the evidence?

    It's time that the American people wake up to how the Left has practically deified such concepts as "multiculturalism," "tolerance," "diversity," "political correctness," and "melting pot," while demonizing such concepts as "profiling" and "conspiracy." All cultures are not compatible with American values. We should be highly restrictive about who we allow into our country. It was an identifiable group that perpetrated the 9/11 atrocity. Aliens are not entitled to the same rights as citizens, and it certainly had to be a criminal conspiracy to hijack four planes simultaneously.

    We cannot tolerate new security measures that treat citizens and aliens alike, such as a national ID card. Any new legislation must make that clear distinction, because American citizens are not willing to live in a police state.

    As one example of government overreaching, the Justice Department has just asked Congress to permanently amend FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) to authorize the Departments of Justice and Education to get student education records in order to assist in investigating terrorism. For 27 years, FERPA has been a good and respected guardian of student privacy rights in their school and college grades.

    The only way such legislation could be tolerable is if it applies only to aliens. Stopping terrorism does not require federal bureaucrats to snoop through the academic records of law-abiding students and graduates.

    President Bush's announcement of a new Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security, with as yet undefined duties, is curious and not reassuring. The word Homeland was used by the Clinton Administration for its proposal to use the Army for local law enforcement.

    In 1999, President Clinton's Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre floated the idea of creating a Homelands Defense Command under which a unit of U.S. troops, commanded by a four-star general, would take charge in case of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

    Discussion of such plans within the Clinton Administration included an article in the Autumn 1997 Parameters, the scholarly publication of the Army War College. The article predicted that "the growing prospect of terrorism in our own country . . . will almost inevitably trigger an intervention by the military," and "legal niceties or strict construction of prohibited conduct will be a minor concern."

    Bill Clinton issued a Presidential Decision Directive to authorize military intervention against terrorism on our own soil. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said in an Army Times interview that "Terrorism is escalating to the point that Americans soon may have to choose between civil liberties and more intrusive means of protection."

    The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is supposed to protect us against a President using the Army to enforce the law against civilians. Later laws, however, have carved out a number of exceptions that authorize the President, after proclaiming a state of emergency, to send active-duty soldiers to respond to a crisis and serve under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    Bill Clinton's Executive Order 12919 of June 3, 1994, entitled National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness, which is still in force, asserts plenary and dictatorial authority over citizens, food, transportation, energy, health, contracts, materials and resources to be exercised by the National Security Council and FEMA. This amounts to a vast expansion of federal power over civilian activities.

    Our limited experience with law enforcement by the U.S. military is not reassuring. When U.S. Army tanks stormed the Branch Davidian compound in Waco in 1993, scores of innocent people were killed.

    As Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) warned, "We must not allow our constitutional freedoms to become victims of these violent attacks. ... We should first examine why the attacks occurred."


    ID Card: Password to the Police State 
    The current attempt to inflict Americans with the burden of having to carry a national ID card did not begin on 9/11 and, indeed, is unrelated to it. The attack on the World Trade Center is just a convenient excuse to promote this thoroughly un-American idea.

    Totalitarian governments keep their subjects under constant police surveillance by the technique of requiring everyone to carry "papers" that must be presented to any government functionary on demand. This is an internal passport that everyone must show to authorities for permission to travel even short distances within the country, to move to another city, or to apply for a new job.

    Having to show "papers" to government functionaries was bad enough in the era when "papers" meant merely what was on a piece of paper. In the computer era, when the paper ID card is merely the tangible evidence of a file on a government database that contains your life history, it will control not only your right to board a plane, but also your right to drive a car, get a job, enter a hospital emergency room, start school or college, open or close a bank account, cash a check, buy a gun, or access government benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

    With the use of a Social Security or other unique number, modern technology can make it so easy for bureaucrats at every level to monitor, record and track our daily actions and make them contingent on showing the ID card. This would not only be the end of privacy as we know it, but it would put power in the hands of Big Government that is inconsistent with freedom.

    In 1996, Congress tried to create a national ID card by requiring state driver's licenses and other state-issued documents to comply with federal identification standards, including the use of Social Security numbers as the unique numeric identifiers. Scheduled to go into effect in October 2000, this law, fortunately, was repealed in 1999.

    It's important for Americans to understand that the 9/11 hijackings are a problem of the U.S. government allowing illegal aliens to roam freely in our country and of promiscuously issuing visas without proper certifications. It's also a problem of our government failing to enforce current immigration and visa laws, and failing to deport illegal aliens including those who overstay their visas. At least 16 of the 19 hijackers fit in one or more of these categories.

    For more than two weeks prior to 9/11, the FBI had been trying to find one of the hijackers whom the CIA had spotted meeting with a suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole. But all the FBI had to go on was his visa application, which listed his address as "Marriott, New York City" (where there are ten Marriott hotels and he never went to any of them).

    The U.S. law that requires an alien's border crossing document to include a machine-readable biometric identifier (such as a fingerprint or handprint), and requires that the identifier match the appropriate biometric characteristic of the alien, has never gone into effect.

    We are not going to tolerate a system that treats U.S. citizens and aliens the same. All aliens are not terrorists, but nearly all terrorists are aliens. We do not want to live in a police state, where every American is treated like a terrorist, drug trafficker, money launderer, illegal alien, or common criminal.

    Larry Ellison, the head of Oracle Corp., the leading database software company, has offered to donate the tools for creating machine-readable ID cards that contain digitized thumbprints and photographs. Ellison's proposal would open up vast new markets for Oracle to promote privacy-invading database software, at the expense of law-abiding citizens.

    We should have a computerized database of all aliens entering the United States, whether they are tourists, students, or workers, and a tracking system that flags the file when a visa time expires. Aliens should be required to carry smart ID cards that contain biometric identifiers, the terms of their visas, and a record of their border crossings and travels within our country, similar to the rubber stamps used in all passports.

    Airports should be equipped with the machines to swipe the smart card every time an alien boards a plane. Dumb questions like "Has your luggage been under your control since you packed it?" should be replaced with useful questions like "Are you a U.S. citizen?".

    The National Commission on Terrorism reported last year: "The United States is, de facto, a country of open borders." It will do a lot more for the safety of Americans to close those open borders than imposing oppressive regulations on the travel of law-abiding citizens. We should expel all illegal aliens, especially from the Middle East, and place a moratorium on legal immigration and the issuing of visas, until the terrorism threat is resolved.


    Roundup of Comments about 9/11 
    Georgie Anne Geyer, syndicated column, 9-28-01: "Four of the hijackers ... had valid Virginia driver's licenses. . . . They were not American citizens. They didn't even live in Virginia. But our sloppy bureaucrats and avid pro-immigration multiculturalists ... put through a law in Virginia that allows people to get driver's licenses without verifying their identity and residence. And Virginia is 'strict.' In such states as California, you don't have to speak English, and driving tests are given in multiple languages, although the traffic signs are not."

    Gary Aldrich, Patrick Henry News, 9-24-01: "We now learn that these criminals were trained on our soil. They came across U.S. borders with 'papers' that allowed easy entry, and exit. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of these terrorists here today. About 50 of them have surfaced to do these evil acts. The rest await orders from abroad. I submit that these terrorists enjoyed more freedom and liberty than we did. . . . Grandmothers and teenagers presented photo IDs and put their keys and change in a dish, while extremely dangerous men carried on long distance conversations about jet fuel and potential body counts. . . . We were told that the real threat was not from some Islamic fundamentalists who vowed to commit terrorist acts to bring us to our knees. No, Bill Clinton and Janet Reno and their friends on Capitol Hill and in the media spoke as one voice about the home-grown threat posed by churchgoing Americans, protesting against partial-birth abortion. And then they demonized well-organized militia groups who were complaining about Clinton's liberal agenda. They were considered suspicious because they expressed absolute disgust of our Commander-in-Chief. . . . Apparently, the FBI and CIA were absolutely clueless that the terrorists were here and had a well organized, well funded plan to commit the worst act of terrorism in our world's history. Is it possible that the FBI was too busy keeping an eye on so-called 'Domestic Terrorism' to notice?"

    John R. Lott Jr., Wall Street Journal, 9-27-01: "Screening at airports, while important, will always be inadequate. . . . But to put just one marshal aboard every daily flight in the U.S. would require at least 35,000 officers, far more than currently work for the FBI, Secret Service and U.S. marshals combined (17,000). . . . There are about 85%,000 active state and local law enforcement officers in the U.S. today. They are currently forbidden from bringing their guns on airplanes. That should change. They should even be given discount fares if they fly with their guns. Most pilots have also had military experience. The request of their union to arm pilots should be granted; this is what El Al has done for a long time. Fears of having guns on planes are misplaced. . . . We should encourage off-duty police, and responsible citizens, to carry guns in most public places. Cops can't be everywhere."

    Ann Coulter, syndicated column, 9-27-01: "Congress has authority to pass a law tomorrow requiring aliens from suspect countries to leave. As far as the Constitution is concerned, aliens, which is to say non-citizens, are here at this country's pleasure. They have no constitutional right to be here. . . . Pious invocations of the Japanese internment are absurd. For one thing, those were U.S. citizens. Citizens can't be deported."

    Doug Bandow, syndicated column, 9-17-01: "To retaliate is not enough. America must also rethink. Until now Washington has acted as if there was little price to be paid for intervening around the globe. Two years ago the U.S. bombed another nation for 78 days without losing a single serviceman. . . . Terrorism is evil. But it is the chief weapon of weak movements and states that have no other way to strike a superpower. They attack in response to American involvement in their lands and struggles. Whoever brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center did not do so because of irritation with American culture. They did so because of opposition to Washington's intervention in what they saw as their affairs. They are wrong to kill innocent Americans. And they should be punished. But that's not enough. . . . Getting in the middle of ancient and angry conflicts abroad guarantees America will be a target. The Mideast most obviously, but Colombia and the Balkans as well, offer endless sources, old and new, of hostility. The potential for terrorism doesn't mean it is never in America's interest to act. But it does mean Washington must carefully calculate the risks before acting."


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