A New York Reader writes:
Here are some thoughts about tightening immigration and security controls to deter terrorism. Of course, most are actions we should have taken long ago. The nature of the September 11th attacks and the motives of the murderers, to the extent known, make clear that we are in a civilizational war (of course, we are in a civilizational conflict with Mexican irredentists and the multiculturalists already). It is one that an America that is untroubled by too many minarets or bodegas sprouting up across the landscape won't be able to win, so my bias is in favor of cultural self-preservation. I list specific domestic security actions first, followed by immigration proposals.
All personnel, whether private contractors or government employees, charged with airport security must be U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizenship must be a prerequisite for employment as a pilot by a U.S. commercial air carrier, whether passenger or freight.
Pilots of commercial aircraft hauling passengers or freight must be armed with 9mm pistols that they have been trained to shoot. (Any airline pilot who was a military aviator will have had to qualify either with the 9mm or a .38, if not both: for example, I qualified with the old .38 revolver when I was an F-4 pilot, and requalified with the new 9mm semiautomatic after my transition to the F-16). If there is concern about rounds puncturing the hull and causing rapid decompression (a pretty low risk anyway), issue frangible rounds with enough stopping power to send a hijacker to Gehenna but that will break up on hitting metal. In the event of attempted hijackings, it must be clear that pilots have no duty to let hijackers into the cockpit; they must also be free (and trained) to maneuver the airplane aggressively to disorient hijackers and knock them off their feet. Cabin crew must be familiarized with these maneuvers and know how to hold on and then subdue hijackers after pilots perform them. If they make passengers airsick, it's better to be queasy than dead. The priority is to foil the hijacker's purpose and land safely.
Secure cockpit doors, El-Al fashion, so that they cannot be opened from the cabin.
Do not hire large numbers of "sky marshals"; they will probably drain manpower from the Border Patrol and other federal agencies that, for the moment, cannot afford the losses.
Permit intelligent profiling, that takes into account who terrorists are, in screening passengers (and, of course, would-be airline and security employees).
States should repeal, or not pass in the first place, laws relaxing identification requirements that allow illegal aliens to get driver's licenses. If there is a constitutional way for the Congress to preempt such state laws (make it a federal felony for anyone in the United States illegally to operate a motor vehicle?), it should.
States should repeal, or not pass in the first place, "motor-voter" laws that invite non-citizens to register to vote. A more egregious breach of civic security than having aliens participating in American political decisions through illegal voting is hard to imagine. Aliens caught voting in U.S. elections should be prosecuted and deported (whether or not they were in the United States illegally to begin with); such deportation should make them presumptively ineligible to enter the United States in the future. Again, if there is a constitutional way for the Congress to preempt local or state laws that purport to permit non-citizens to vote in local elections, it should.
Make it a crime for a bank to open an account for a foreign national who cannot provide verifiable proof of legal residence in the United States. Enforce against the banks, not just the aliens.
Permit, nay encourage, intelligent profiling by the police generally.
Reinforce the Border Patrol, augmented by Active Army and National Guard units as required, to take control of the Mexican and Canadian borders. Expand the Coast Guard's role in preventing illegal entry from the sea; augment with Navy units and Air Force surveillance if that is what it takes.
Reinforce the INS at other points of entry, to prevent illegal entry. Use of the Armed Forces for this is much more problematic than for border patrol, which clearly is national defense, but there should be a way, if that is what it takes.
Aggressively search for, and deport, illegal aliens. Illegal aliens thus deported should be presumptively ineligible for entry into the United States in the future. No exceptions. Enforce employer sanctions strictly. Enlist local law enforcement in the effort.
End all state programs that offer in-state tuition at any state university to any illegal alien "resident" in that state.
Train Foreign Service officers in screening visa applicants at U.S. embassies and consulates. Encourage them to profile intelligently, too. Set clear and stringent standards for granting visas of all types, including visitor visas. Require the State Department to enforce those standards, and monitor it ruthlessly; we cannot assume that our professional diplomats love their country. (Aside: Change staffing and ambassadorial appointment practices that match appointees to countries by race or ethnicity; rather than send Hispanics to Latin American countries, blacks to African and West Indian countries, Asians to Asian countries and Jews to Israel, we should if anything do the opposite. It is stupid to encourage divided loyalties in those who are supposed to serve our interests abroad. This applies also to INS and the Border Patrol: have you noticed that most of the INS officials cited in the press as responsible for dealing with the Mexican border are Hispanic themselves? If we must over-recruit Hispanics into our border defense force, at least assign them to the Canadian border.)
Keep a central record, easily accessible to law enforcement, of all visas granted. Record all entries into the United States. Record all departures. Implement a system that automatically alerts the INS when the expiration date of a visa arrives and there is no record of the holder's departure. Issue a standard, electronically verifiable, Alien Identification Card to all foreign nationals at legal entry into the United States. Require them to carry it at all times while they are in the country, whatever their visa status, subject to legal penalties up to and including revocation of legal status and deportation for failure to produce it on demand to law enforcement. Get the word out to law enforcement at all levels that it is not racist to ask to see it in the case of people (stopped or arrested for some other reason) who are obviously foreign. Require them to surrender it on departure, and design it so that on expiration of the visa, or if tampered with, it activates and becomes a locator beacon so that the offending alien can be tracked, apprehended and deported (actually, it would not be a bad idea to have the tracking function active all the time).
Record all apprehensions of attempted illegal entrants; they should be presumed ineligible for visas and legal residence in the United States. Knowing that getting caught trying to sneak in will make it almost impossible to get in legally later should be a deterrent, especially if we make it likely that border jumpers will be caught. Any case-by-case process for examining such peoples' subsequent visa requests needs to be very stringent and subject to political oversight, so that immigration judges cannot subvert the program through lenient rulings.
Make an example through ruthless prosecution of INS, Border Patrol and other officials who are complicit in violations of the immigration laws. As noted above, many are Hispanic themselves and no doubt might be swayed to help their fellows get in. Harsh punishment will help them overcome the temptation.
(See above for putting teeth into deterrence of illegal aliens.)
End legal immigration for at least a decade; we need a pause to digest. There will need to be some very limited exceptions, of course. They must be based on objective criteria that are determined solely in the interest of the United States. Family reunification in general is not such a criterion. "Economic refugee" status is not one, either. Along with any critical skills criteria we adopt for consideration of individual exceptions, reasonable spoken and written English must be a prerequisite. (If we cannot eliminate legal immigration altogether, at least end the diversity lottery and all effective amnesty programs for illegal aliens. End family reunification as currently structured.)
Freeze naturalizations of current legally resident aliens, for at least five years. Anyone who, after five years' residence in the United States, cannot demonstrate English proficiency should lose the opportunity to be naturalized and have his residency status reviewed.
Review recent naturalizations; people found to have been naturalized under false pretenses should be subject to revocation of their U.S. citizenship (to which they presumably were not entitled in the first place) and deportation. Such people should be considered presumptively ineligible for reentry.
Encourage repatriation of immigrants who cannot or will not assimilate or who will not work (deport those who become public charges).
Statutorily eliminate birthright citizenship for all but the children of U.S. citizens.
Statutorily eliminate the possibility of dual citizenship for anyone 18 or older.
Affirm that holding political office in a foreign country and serving in a foreign armed force (especially as an officer) are presumptively grounds for being stripped of U.S. citizenship.
Refugee status must be granted only on the basis of credible likelihood of persecution on a political or religious basis, and the unavailability of suitable refuge closer to refugees' homes. Sexual orientation, for example, won't cut it. American refugee policy should be guided by the principle of settling refugees as close to home as possible (same continent, at least), among people of the same race and religion to the greatest extent possible. Their speedy return to their home countries is the goal. We should be generous in support of genuine refugees, but settlement in the United States should be actively discouraged.
Freeze grants of student visas until the monitoring system enacted by the Congress, but whose implementation has been blocked by Spencer Abraham and others, is fully in place. The costs of the system should be borne by the visa holders. Once reactivated, visas should only be granted to those who will be studying at institutions that have indicated their willingness to participate fully. Obviously, this includes immediately reporting to INS when a student for whom a visa has been obtained fails to matriculate, is expelled, drops out or graduates.
End the H-1B visa program.
End all programs that allow waivers of the standard visa application and evaluation process; especially eliminate the abuse inherent in 245i.
Underlying all of these proposals is a clear understanding that we cannot confuse the human rights inherent in all people with the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. These proposals would impose a considerable burden on law-abiding foreigners who wish to visit, study or work in the United States. We have had an immigration crisis for a long time. Now we have a security crisis to match. My proposals are a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation.
October 10, 2001