Immigration and Terrorism

By FAIR Intern, FAIR research department

On this, the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, there is much solemn and appropriate remembrance of those who lost their lives on that terrible day. In addition, 12 years later there is much debate over whether or not the United States should intervene military in the Middle East.. One issue that was, and still is, glaringly missing in the continuing debates over foreign policy and national security is immigration policy and border security.

If true immigration reform is ever to be achieved, tragedies such as the Boston Bombing and 9/11 attacks would seem to be the most rational starting point for a national dialogue on what to do about potential terrorists entering our country and attacking us due to the lax nature of the enforcement and screening provisions of American immigration law. You would think that would be the case, but, you would be wrong.

In the more than a decade that has passed since the 9/11 attacks not only are our immigration laws not being meaningfully enforced, but many national political figures are seeking amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and more immigration into our country, despite our proven inability to identify potential terrorists. In the theater of the absurd, that often passes for our Congress, the threat of terrorism is often cited as a justification for amnesty. In the aftermath of this year’s Boston Bombing attack, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham asserted,

“We have 11 million people living in the shadows, which leaves this nation
vulnerable to a myriad of threats. That is all the more reason why comprehensive
immigration reform is so essential. By modernizing our system of legal immigration,
identifying and conducting background checks on people here illegally, and finally
securing our border, we will make America more secure”

So, to Senators Graham and McCain, when a pair of terrorists sets off explosives at a major American sporting event, the response is not to secure our nation’s borders and rigorously pursue enforcement, but rather to help, “the undocumented come out of the shadows,” through what they term a, “modernized” immigration system. To those of us, across the political spectrum, who are able to look at issues such as national security and immigration from the perspective of the broad national interest, the proper course of action is clear:

  1. We should secure our border with a physical fence and secure the interior through cooperative enforcement efforts.
  2. Illegal aliens who come into contact with law enforcement should be detained and put in removal hearings.
  3. We should implement mandatory E-Verify and institute sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. Such policies enjoy consensus support from the American people, who demand legitimate enforcement to take place before any discussion of amnesty.

Too bad virtually no one in Washington, has the political will to carry out the sort of common sense policies that might avert another tragedy, perhaps even more horrendous than the one we suffered 12 years ago.

What Does $12 Billion Buy?

This infographic from illustrates the $12 billion spent on border security. Click for large version.


Florida Construction Contractor Says It’s Time to Protect American Workers

There is an elephant in the room that many of our political leaders don’t want to talk about.

The elephant isn’t just in the room, he’s, on the jobsite with tools on, working. He’s called all his friends, and now they are all working. Now all of them are calling all their friends and telling them how easy it is to take American jobs. Oh well, they are only taking jobs that Americans don’t want to do, right?

Wrong! America exports the majority of our factory jobs to other countries. Now we are importing our construction labor force from Mexico and countries of Central and South America. The majority of these workers are taking American citizens’ jobs illegally, by working for cash.

Down here in South Florida it’s getting to the point that if you are an American citizen, you can’t get a job in a lot of the different trades of the construction industry, no matter how much experience or motivation you have. Use simple logic or common sense to realize what an impact this is on our fragile economy.

Maybe the politicians aren’t noticing, but for a lot of workers it is kind of hard to ignore the fact that they are being crushed by the elephant. Read more at

Illegal Immigration: A Victim’s Story

Editors Note: In the absence of any compelling public interest objective, the advocates for granting amnesty to illegal aliens resort to telling their personal stories. What is too often ignored are the personal stories of Americans who are harmed by mass illegal immigration. Below is one such story submitted by one of our readers.

I have lived in California since 1965. I raised two boys on my own successfully in California. I never had a problem finding work, until I had to leave my place of employment back in 2009 to assist my elderly parents after my father suffered a stroke.

My father has since passed away, but my efforts to get my feet back into the workforce have all been in vain. And do you know why? I am not bilingual. Companies that I had worked for wouldn’t rehire me back because they are only hiring people that are bilingual.

I just don’t know what to do. I still have the responsibility of caring for and assisting my elderly mother, and I have already exhausted my savings. I only have my small pension from them left to live off of. I am still too young to collect Social Security. If Congress and President Obama grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, I fear that I, and many Americans like me, will never be employed again in California or in much of the rest of the nation.

Five Things Neither the Left nor Right is Willing to Say about Immigration

Few people want to be seen as racist or xenophobic. Few people want to risk being on the wrong side of history. This means that a broad swath of decent Americans who are uncomfortable about rewarding and encouraging illegal immigration keep their views to themselves.  In recent years, immigration advocates have moved to calling the millions of people who cross the southern border or arrive on our shores illegally, simply “immigrants” as if there were no other path to American citizenship. They draw an equivalency between the tired poor who arrived at Ellis Island after applying and waiting for the privilege, and those who paid criminals to falsify visas, modify stolen passports, or sneak them into cargo shipments.

Do nation states have the right to regulate immigration and citizenship? It could be argued that human beings and even other species should be free to live where they will. But unless and until that agreement is reached and we find ways to adapt to the implications, there are solid, non-racist reasons to be concerned about granting citizenship to those who arrive in the United States under false pretexts. I would argue that there are also reasons for every American citizen to want thoughtful policies that limit the flow of even legal immigration and that are enforced rather than ignored.

Growth doesn’t equal family prosperity. Economists and pundits talk as if growth and prosperity were synonymous. By this accounting if immigrants produce or buy anything, immigration is a net positive. That is because major economic indicators like GDP measure aggregate wealth rather than what we care about—the wellbeing of individual families. Parents want to provide for their children: young people just want a decent start in life. If we remember what the economy is for, to promote well-being, then we are confronted with the fact that more money divided between more people doesn’t necessarily make individuals better off. In fact, GDP can grow when quality of life is declining.

America’s savings account is being subdivided. Americans have a kind of inherited wealth that people in most countries don’t share—our vast natural assets. Natural resources are like a savings account, one that we can keep drawing interest off of for generations if we are careful. So are the infrastructure investments that have been made by our forefathers. But like any inheritance or bank account, the more people have to share it the less each has. Our inheritance is finite, and whether we are talking about forests or minerals or farmland or natural recreational attractions and wonders like the Grand Canyon, at some point dividing them among more people means each American child inherits a little less of the vast natural bank account that has fed generations of prosperity.

Crowding deteriorates quality of life. Not long ago one of my friends, a physician, bought a little row house with just enough room for her two kids. It was about the same size and quality as the houses that company towns built for their workers 100 years ago—only farther from town, because she couldn’t afford to live in close. She’s not alone. White collar professionals pay exorbitant prices for houses that once belonged to mechanics. Mechanics are forced to make long drives on stop-and-go freeways.  What has changed? Well, a lot of things, but the bottom line is that crowding drives up land and house prices and means that we all have to pay more or drive farther and sit in more traffic and keep building more roads just to get home.  And the price is real, even if we don’t usually measure it.  Economists Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer found that a commuter who drives an hour each way has to earn 40 percent more to have the same level of life satisfaction as a non-commuter.

Economics are changing. In the late 1970’s, China’s southern neighbors were promoting high birthrates, encouraging women to produce foot soldiers so that they could fend off the northern threat. But today winning a war depends on smart technology, not “cannon fodder,” and they have reversed course. They realized that the combination of large population and scarce resources was a disadvantage. Like warfare, economics are changing. Most jobs that were once done by human or nonhuman slaves are now done by machines. So are many of the jobs that were once done by economic foot soldiers. If we are to compete internationally and to thrive here, we don’t need more grunt labor, we need smarter, more efficient, more productive labor.

Rewarding bad behavior increases bad behavior. The amnesty that Ronald Regan granted to illegal immigrants sent a message around the world: Get to the United States—somehow, anyhow—and if you can just hold on long enough you will get to stay. The current round of conversations about “comprehensive” immigration reform proves the point. Right now illegal immigration is down because of economic conditions, but once conditions improve the message will once again echo loud and clear. All of the same arguments that have been made for why we should grant citizenship status to those who are already here now will be as relevant in the future as they are today. Rewarding illegal immigration now sets up conditions for repeated cycles of amnesty.

Cycles of poorly regulated immigration followed by amnesties disadvantage people who try to play by the rules. They reward an underbelly of traffickers and employers who rely on shady dealings and make honest competition virtually impossible in some sectors.  They obscure important conversations about thoughtful, legal immigration, which can play a critical role in innovation, and in protecting human rights, both at home and abroad.

Each political party in its own way benefits from having more people at the bottom of the American economic pyramid. Democrats benefit because poor, powerless people tend to vote Left because of their need for a social safety net. Republicans benefit because well-heeled corporations who fund them benefit from a glut of laborers, which drives down wages and benefits. Immigrants in particular are often grateful for what they can get, and illegal immigrants are in no position to negotiate, which puts the bosses in the power position. This means that neither party—not the one that is scrabbling for votes at the bottom nor the one that has been bought by big business—can be trusted to represent the interests of ordinary middle-class and working class Americans in the current immigration debate. Nor can they be counted on to acknowledge the inconvenient truth that what serves the Democratic and Republican leadership and their corporate funders in the short-term may not serve our children and grandchildren.