Brian Lonergan: Immigration is unquestionably a national security issue. We need to start treating it like one

published 2020-01-25 05:00:00 by Brian Lonergan
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We stand at possibly the most dangerous point in the more than four-decade conflict between the United States and Iran. The Trump administration’s decision to kill Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike has the Islamic Republic vowing revenge.

The world now waits for the inevitable Iranian response. Given their long history of sponsoring terror in the Middle East and around the world, anything is possible. The most obvious move is that they would disrupt the shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf, from which comes much of the world’s oil supply.

But the threat from Iran is not just half a world away. It is here in our communities. Thanks to our porous borders and lax immigration enforcement, we also have to consider the possibility of terror attacks by Iranian sleeper agents currently in the U.S.

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While America fights with itself over what to do about our immigration laws, the bad actors of the world have been paying attention. They see massive caravans from Central America demanding asylum, and many of the travelers gaining entry into the U.S. What better way to get operatives into the United States and execute a terrorist attack?

This scenario is not merely a theory. Iran may have the assets in place now. Last year, intelligence and former White House officials warned Congress that Iran could carry out such attacks in the American homeland with relative ease.

While America fights with itself over what to do about our immigration laws, the bad actors of the world have been paying attention. They see massive caravans from Central America demanding asylum, and many of the travelers gaining entry into the U.S. What better way to get operatives into the United States and execute a terrorist attack?

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An investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) found that a number of American states are using their “sanctuary” policies to shield illegal aliens who hail from nations identified by the federal government as state sponsors of terror.

Not surprisingly, California and its reckless, statewide sanctuary laws were the worst culprit. Of the aliens in California protected from immigration enforcement in the investigation, almost 90 percent of them were Iranian nationals.

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Some of those Iranian nationals may be otherwise good people fleeing the oppressive, tyrannical regime in their homeland. Others may be sleeper terrorists sent here to cause mayhem by a terrorist state that routinely promises “Death to America.” The frightening truth is that we know very little about these people, thanks in large part to the anti-borders movement that shields aliens from deportation and allows them to hide from accountability.

Would-be terrorists for Iran may not even be of Middle Eastern descent. Iran’s primary terror client, Hezbollah, has a growing presence in Latin America. Last year Navy Admiral Craig Faller, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, told Congress that “Iran has deepened its anti-U.S. Spanish language media coverage and has exported its state support for terrorism into our hemisphere.”

It doesn’t take a national security expert to connect the dots. Given their activity in Latin America, how easily could Iran slip Hezbollah-trained Latinos into a migrant caravan where the travelers have little or no documentation? Even the possibility makes the need for border security much more urgent.

Those who push for increasingly lax immigration laws suggest that illegal immigration is a victimless crime. To restrict anyone from entering the U.S., the theory goes, is mean-spirited and xenophobic. How will that logic hold up if foreign nationals, in our country illegally, were to execute a 9/11-scale attack in the U.S.?

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“Sanctuary laws are no longer a theoretical faculty lounge debate, they are causing very real threats to our safety as individuals and as a nation,” Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI, said last year. “If one of these aliens shielded from the law commits an act of mass terrorism, the politicians and activists who push for sanctuary laws will have a lot to answer for.”

Foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, is incredibly complex. There are many factors beyond our control. American immigration policy is not one of them. Immigration is unquestionably a national security issue. We need to start treating it like one.

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