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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Want to Worry About Undocumented Immigrants or Terrorists?

(Keywords: , , , ? What about terrorists coming from ?)

This one seemed a little odd to me. From Associated Press:

PALOMINAS, Ariz. (AP) -- Scores of volunteers gathered at a remote ranch Saturday to help a civilian border-patrol group start building a short security fence in hopes of reducing illegal immigration from Mexico.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps plans to install a combination of barbed wire, razor wire, and in some spots, steel rail barriers along the 10-mile stretch of private land in southeastern Arizona.

They hope it prompts the federal government to do the same along the entire Arizona border.

Not that anyone seriously believes it's going to do anything, but it underscores the some of the racism in the immigration debate.

According to the Dallas Morning News, "At least 40 percent of the noncitizens who stay in the United States illegally - and perhaps more than half - didn't sneak across the border.

"They obtained a visa, promised to leave by a certain date and then didn't.

"Belying commonly held stereotypes of 'illegal aliens,' they are ethnically diverse and often well-educated. Typically, federal authorities have no idea where they are.

"Most 'visa overstays' are in the United States for work. But a few also have been implicated in high-profile criminal and terrorist cases, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and a 1997 plot to bomb New York's subway system." That story is from 1999, before 9/11. Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, overstayed his visa at one point.

So, here's the question? Are we more worried about central americans crossing illegally at the Rio Grande or are we more worried about people who actually pose a threat to the nation? For the Minutemen, the answer is clear - they're more worried about central americans.

And George W. Bush's move to put 6,000 National Guard troops is designed to mollify this racism. The only time that we know of that a terrorist was caught crossing the border was Ahmed Ressam, the Millenium Bomber, who was apprehended crossing the US-Canada border in 1999. His plan was to blow up LAX. We haven't increased our northern border security to the extent we have in the south.

At this point in time, immigration policy needs to be about security, not fears that impoverished central americans are coming up to pick lettuce. We don't have the luxury of being that selective.