Proponents of amnesty often claim that it would make the country safer by bringing illegal aliens “out of the shadows” and helping law enforcement apprehend “the bad guys.”

But this week, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, grudgingly acknowledged that background checks conducted on those pursuing some form of amnesty wouldn’t identify known criminals and potential terrorists.

During a hearing on “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland,” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) questioned whether background checks conducted, as a component of any amnesty program, would effectively identify public safety or national security threats.

Barletta noted the 9/11 Commission found that as many as 15 of the 19 hijackers behind the September 11th attacks violated existing immigration laws and could have been stopped.

Using the example of Mahmud Abouhalima, the terrorist convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Barletta pressed Johnson on the issue. In 1986, Abouhalima was given amnesty as an agricultural worker despite working as a taxi driver in New York City.

Barletta: “Do you believe that Mahmud Abouhalima would have come forward for a criminal background check in 1993?”

Johnson: “Most criminals do not subject themselves to criminal background checks. I agree with that.”

While we know that terrorists took advantage of weaknesses in the U.S. immigration system in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the attacks of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, recommendations from the 9/11 Commissionas well as FAIR—to enforce existing immigration laws have yet to be followed.