Granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens at once is bound to diminish, not promote, national security. Yet, perhaps in response to the ironic timing of a terrorist attack carried out by immigrants in Boston the day before S. 744 was introduced on the Senate floor, amnesty proponents have latched onto the backward argument that granting amnesty to illegal aliens will actually improve our national security.  Yes, that’s right. Somehow legalizing those who broke our laws are supposed to make us safer.

Case in point, last June Gang of Eight Leader Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) claimed immediate legalization was needed because “We cannot wait another four years with 11 million people living in this country illegally without knowing who they are or why they’re here.” Likewise, the recent House principles endorsing amnesty make the same argument: “our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law.” The new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Jeh Johnson, has also taken to emphasizing this argument when he urges amnesty, saying again in a recent address “[a]s a matter of homeland security, we should encourage these people to come out of the shadows of American society, pay taxes and fines, be held accountable.”

These claims are nonsense. Giving millions of illegal aliens the option to obtain legal status is far different from actually requiring they register with the government. Do Senator Rubio, Secretary Johnson, and House Republican Leaders really think that those who are trying to do us harm would hand over their identities to the Feds? Common sense begs to differ. And for those who opt into whatever amnesty program the House establishment cooks up, far from preventing them from committing terrorism, it would actually enable potential terrorists to better blend in with American society. The more integrated into a society a person is, the easier it is to attack from within. Thus many terrorist attacks against America were carried out by immigrants who were permanent residents or naturalized citizens such as the Boston marathon bombers, the DC metro bomb plotter, the New York subway bomb plotter, the attempted Times Square car bomber, to name only some recent examples.

Giving illegal aliens more rights therefore does not protect the homeland. In fact, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) has already shown us why. During IRCA, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) probably approved hundreds of thousands of fraudulent amnesty applications because it did not have the capacity to check them. One of these fraudulent approvals was Mahmud Abouhalima, a cabdriver from Egypt who overstayed a tourist visa and applied for amnesty under the IRCA’s agricultural worker provisions, and then went on to help perpetrate the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  He got his right to work papers in 1986, and his green card in 1988, which allowed him to take several trips to Pakistan for combat training.  Thus the amnesty, far from protecting us, enabled his terrorism by facilitating his free movement. Ironically, in the same speech where Jeh Johnson, “from a homeland security perspective,” argued for an amnesty that would repeat the security mistakes of 1986, he alerted the audience to present homeland security threats from individuals currently living in the West traveling to Syria to fight and potentially returning to America after being radicalized abroad, just as Abouhalima did!

Considering that the number of illegal aliens whose applications the government would now have to process has quadrupled to nearly 12 million (compared to the roughly 3 million illegal aliens amnestied under the 1986 law), it can only be imagined that any future amnesty would stand even less chance of being safely administered. In fact, DHS has already given us a preview of future problems with the (unlawful) DACA directive, implemented by Alejandro Mayorkas, now DHS’s second ranking official. In administering DACA, whistleblowers revealed Mayorkas operated under a “get to yes” philosophy whereby adjudicators were instructed they could not issue denials without his personal approval. Secretary Johnson’s assurances that an amnesty would not grant legal residence and eventual citizenship to those who are security threats simply have no credibility.

Amnesty proponents should stick to arguing that an amnesty would be appreciated by illegal aliens and the employers who hire them.  That it could somehow make this country safer defies both common sense and all of the lessons we should have learned from recent history.