Has there ever been a more urgent time to fix our immigration system?
The lead story at the top of page one of the January 4th Wall Street Journal screams, "Al Qaeda Threat Escalates.
So what is the reaction from both parties? Damage control. John Brennan, the White House Counter-terrorism Advisor, goes on Sunday's Meet The Press to minimize the intelligence failures and the Congressman Peter King (R-NY) gleefully screams, "That, to me was 'Janet Napolitano, Part Two. 'They haven't learned their lessons."
OK. More completely partisan wrangling, which this Democrat and all thinking Americans should deplore! We pray that our leaders can adopt sound practices and be ready for the next terrorist attempts—which, as the result of our Middle Eastern policies, are surely coming whatever steps are not instituted.
But aren't these vaunted leaders from both parties missing the main point of this exercise? These elites in Congress, whom polls show think immigration reform isn't important, can now use these imminent terror threats to do the right thing.
Now is the time for real action on security and on immigration.
Before suggesting a powerful specific idea, let's make a few bullet points for Americans who are brain dead enough to think we have no immigration problem:
Democrats recently introduced a bill in the US House to pass another a so-called "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill"—which means millions of illegal aliens already here would be given fast tracks to the full benefits of American citizenship.
Our yearly budget deficits are massive and our national debt as far as the eye can see is out of control. But as the late economist, Herbert Stein, Chairman of the Council of Economic Adviser under Nixon and Ford opined, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."
So what should we now do?
Why, of course, let's institute a national system of biometrically controlled ID cards, which could readily be obtained by over 90% of us citizens based on records we could produce to obtain one. We have Social Security numbers, credit cards too numerous to mention, drivers licenses, and passports, plus birth certificates, which would all use such identification. The technology for putting into such cards markers which would ONLY allow that individual to pass the airplane hurdles now in place.
And let's remember: Whatever we decide to do about airports, the tightening of security will likely shift the approaches of terrorists to trains and other targets. The capacity of huge explosive impact of small amounts of plastic explosives will be almost impossible to detect and allay. Thus, I predict the day will soon come, after terrorist events there that commuters on trains and buses will need to have identification.
Yes, we are talking about a potential for a national paralysis in commerce and in our daily lives. But it need not happen if we are technologically able to quickly and safely process the masses of people moving about the US with ID cards that are sure.
Obviously our Middle East strategy needs fixing. Shooting natives there only recruits new suicide candidates. How long will we continue that failed strategy? Some reason seems to have come forth lately on that from our military.
(And I might parenthetically note that our attempts at drug interdiction suffer the same fate—"getting" one drug kingpin only leads to his immediate replacement, not a shutdown of his network).
How about cost to install this ID system? The recent Congressional passage of a $625 billion Defense bill suggests that comparatively we are talking about less than the cost of the now unfunded F-22 project!
So, once again, let's really start thinking again the value of knowing who is here legally and illegally, who really, in this time of economic distress and international peril, are entitled to benefits of American citizenship. We have waited too long, been too stupidly led by those whose greed for short term profits have paid for our national leaders to ignore illegal aliens and even willfully to foster more immigrants upon America than we can possibly use.
Am I optimistic that my suggested ID card proposal will surface in the coming security debates as a cheaper, sensible, viable improvement over where we stand now?
Not at all. As you listen to the debates over security, the finger-pointing and the hoped-for improvements, I suspect we will not hear one word about establishing a proper national ID card system.
Suggest this idea to your elected representatives. They can send you their usual standard "I am doing everything to help you" letters.
But without an ID card, we won't secure the U.S.Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.