AND this week's award for craven enemy of homeland defense goes to…New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Wednesday, Bloomberg revived the city's sanctuary policy for illegal aliens—less than a week after commemorating the mass murder of the 9/11 terrorist attack victims.
Bloomberg's cowardly capitulation is no surprise. Barely two months after 9/11, he broadcast his commitment to preserve the Big Apple as a formal safe haven for illegal aliens. "People who are undocumented do not have to worry about city government going to the federal government," Bloomberg vowed.
Now, under the freshly-signed Executive Order 41, a person's immigration status is "confidential information" that "no city officer or employee shall disclose unless [the suspect is] engaging in illegal activity or is involved in potential terrorist activity."
The amended policy adds this "don't tell" provision to the original "don't ask" directive first enacted by Mayor Ed Koch in 1989.
Visa overstayers, illegal border crossers, illegal ship-jumpers and other immigration-law-breakers have nothing to fear when they show up to collect city welfare benefits, obtain marriage licenses, get medical treatment or pay parking tickets. These outlaws are not, by Bloomberg's definition, "engaging in illegal activity"—so alert clerks, suspicious administrators and savvy street cops will just have to shut their traps when they suspect they are dealing with illegal aliens.
The New York Times hailed Bloomberg's move as widening "privacy rights for immigrants." It is, in truth, a Terrorist and Criminal Illegal Alien Safe Haven Act.
Remember: More than half of the 48 Islamic radicals convicted or tied to recent terrorist plots in the United States over the past decade either were themselves illegal aliens or relied on illegals to get fake IDs. Illegals participated in the first attack on the World Trade Center, the Los Angeles Millennium bombing plot and the New York subway bombing conspiracy. Three of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally; two had previous immigration violations.
Many of these operatives who were here in violation of our immigration laws were not under investigation for terrorism at the time they hatched and carried out their plots. Several, such as visa violators Mohamed Atta and Hani Hanjour, had been pulled over by police for speeding and set free.
If an NYPD cop were to stop the next Atta or Hanjour on the street today, he would be prohibited from asking about their immigration status—and prevented from turning them over to the feds for detention and deportation.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has stressed the need to use every available tool to combat foreign terrorists on U.S. soil. He has likened his strategy to the one Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy used to bust organized crime: arresting terrorist suspects if they so much as spit on the sidewalk.
Identifying, detaining, questioning, and deporting illegal aliens from terror-sponsoring and terror-friendly nations is critical to an effective homeland defense. But vigorous interior enforcement of immigration laws is impossible if city officials in major terrorist targets—read: New York City—refuse to cooperate.
The dangerous public-safety impact of Bloomberg's new order reaches beyond terrorism. Illegals, some with long criminal records, were the alleged perps in the savage gang-rape of a Queens mother in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park last December. But for the city's sanctuary policy, some of the accused might have been turned over to federal immigration authorities for deportation before the rape occurred.
Bloomberg's message to the rape victim and the 9/11 victims: Ptooey. His politically-correct preferences are more important than upholding the law or stopping terrorism.
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Michelle Malkin [email her] is author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow's review. Click here for Michelle Malkin's website.