A new study released by the Center For Immigration Studies points out that terrorists have been using our own system to slip into the US for years:
WASHINGTON — Some used false documents to enter the United States; others let their legal visas expire once in the country. And at least 21 foreign nationals became naturalized U.S. citizens before being charged or convicted as terrorists.
In all, at least 94 foreign-born visitors accused of terror activity between 1993 and 2004 exploited federal immigration laws to enter or remain in the United States, according to a study being released Tuesday.
Distributed by the Center for Immigration Studies, an advocate for stricter immigration policies, the report provides newly compiled data on U.S. terror arrests to illustrate gaps in the nation’s border security, visa approval and immigration systems. It was written by Janice Kephart, who served as counsel to the 9/11 Commission that investigated missteps leading to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Some of the findings?
_Twenty-two of the 94 either had student visas or other applications approving them to study in the United States; another 17 used visitor visas to enter the country.
_In at least 13 instances, suspected and convicted terrorists overstayed their temporary visas.
_Seven of the 94 were indicted for using false driver’s licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards and immigration records.
_Twenty-one became naturalized citizens.
So what are we doing about it?
Tightening U.S. borders has become a top priority for Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who last week called immigration enforcement an issue of utmost importance. The Homeland Security Department has enacted a slew of programs, including stricter background checks, visa security systems and sharing intelligence with international allies, to harden immigration laws against terrorists, spokesman Russ Knocke said.
This is simply not enough. I think it’s fairly safe to assume that once these other avenues are shut down, we’ll start seeing terrorists trying to actively slip through our borders by foot. We need to secure these wide, unguarded stretches of land sooner rather than later. Let’s take a proactive approach to our own safety, instead of waiting until it’s too late.