You read it first (and as far as I can see exclusively) on VDARE.COM: Somalis are using United Nations refugee camps in Zambia as 'stepping stones' to "other destinations", i.e. the U.S. according to the Secretary of the Zambian ministry of the Interior, Peter Mumba.
Speaking to the UN news service, the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), Mr. Mumba explained that the Somalis first settle in Meheba, Zambia's largest refugee camp and then, either bribing their way out or with assistance from Somalis outside the camp, slip into neighboring Zimbabwe and Namibia. From there they filter into South Africa, boarding ships bound… for Mexico. According to the Secretary, "once in Mexico, they can easily walk into the USA as their final destination." [ ZAMBIA: Concern over Somalis leaving refugee camp, June 5, 2006]
The Zambian government has written the South African, Namibian and Zimbabwean governments to be on the look out for Somali refugees. But apparently, the Zambians know it would be futile to warn the U.S. government about the illegal traffic from Somalia— although the country is a known base for Al-Qaeda and related Wahhabi militant groups.
Has the "War on Terror" been trumped by the Bush Administration's mad drive to make America safe for immigration?
That wouldn't be surprising. The "War on Terror" takes a back seat to immigration enthusiasm in many ways.
As usual, once a decision has been made to resettle a group to the U.S., all obstacles along the path were cleared away. The usual questions about capacity to absorb an influx are thrown out the window by the refugees' instant access to all welfare. The extensive network of federal "refugee contractors"—which the public thinks of as private charities but which have actually been captured by the federal government— are paid to hand out money from dozens of government programs.
The U.S. public health service has committed to curing cases of TB in camps before infected individuals are resettled—a commitment it has made and failed to fulfill in the past. The immigration bar for individuals with HIV has been waived for refugees under a Clinton Executive Order—which the Bush administration, typically has let stand.
But now it turns out that even the recently re-authorized Patriot Act can be ignored when it interferes with the refugee resettlement process.
The Patriot Act broadly defines terms such as "terrorist activity" and "terrorist organization". It includes "material support" for a "terrorist organization" as grounds for prosecution under the act. And, according to Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand, [PDF] the Justice Department uses the "material support" clause to deport aliens or bar entry when other means cannot be found.
The Department of Homeland Security initially found "thousands" in the group were inadmissible to the U.S. under the Patriot Act.
Got immigrant terrorists? No problem! Just before resettlement was to begin in June, Secretary of State Rice simply waived the Patriot Act terrorist provisions for the entire group. She ordered them to be admitted pretty much "as is"—ignoring the concerns of officials in the Justice Department.[ Immigration Waiver Granted to Refugees | Some Burmese Lose Pro-Terrorism Label, By Bradley Graham, Washington Post, May 5, 2006]
No doubt Patriot Act definitions of a "terrorist organization" and "material support" are overly broad. And it may be true that, as supporters of the waiver claim, "material support" was provided unwittingly or under coercion—in some cases, but far from all.
If the Patriot Act is a bad law, then it is a bad law in all cases, not just in some cases.
Rice's blanket waiver makes no distinction among members in the group. Like the group designation of refugee status, it significantly widens the avenue for refugee admission, which was originally meant for those who qualify on the basis of a case-by-case evaluation, not owing to membership in a group.
At the very least, the waiver will complicate, if not end, the use of a legal tool designed for the pursuit of "terrorists."
At worst, it suggests the government is moving to apply a law to U.S. citizens while ignoring it for some immigrants.
Yes, Virginia (Dare)—The "war on terror" has indeed been put on hold to meet the demands of the Bush administration and refugee contractors for a larger influx of refugees.
Thomas Allen (email him) is a recovering refugee worker.