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I wonder if Tom Tancredo ever gets tired of being right.

Last week the Colorado Republican and head of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus lashed out against a provision in a new farm subsidy law supporters say was merely intended to protect churches where illegal immigrants work, but which Tancredo says could actually aid and abet terrorism. Upon an examination of the issue, I have to admit I couldn’t figure out how the provision got squirreled away in a farm bill, but I did have plenty of information available to see that, once again, Tancredo’s assessment is dead-on accurate.

The provision in question, authored by Sen. Robert Bennett, Utah Republican, protects “religious groups from a federal law against knowingly transporting, concealing, harboring or shielding an illegal immigrant,” the Denver Post reported.

“That law no longer applies to religious groups as long as the illegal immigrant is volunteering in a religious capacity, such as work as a missionary or in a soup kitchen,” said the paper.

Bennett, in rebutting Tancredo’s concerns, said his provision “does not under any circumstances allow a terrorist or any illegal alien any kind of special sanctuary.” And to bolster his argument, he was quick to point out the Department of Homeland Security signed off on this change.

Is Bennett serious? Did he really try to hold up a ringing endorsement from the Homeland Security department as a plus? He should get out more – specifically, he should go down to the U.S.-Mexico border, where his most-favored department is failing miserably to keep out those who should be kept out.

While the language of Bennett’s provision may not actually use the word “sanctuary,” it clearly creates one for illegals (and, by default, terrorists who want to exploit it – just like Tancredo says).

How so? According to Bennett’s provision, it says, specifically, religious organizations may provide “room, board, travel, medical assistance, and other basic living expenses” to illegal aliens. That’s pretty unambiguous.

Therefore, Bennett’s amendment obviously does provide special sanctuary to illegal aliens who are associated with religious organizations, because it allows those organizations to help aliens break U.S. law.

Here are the details. Bennett’s provision strikes parts of three paragraphs in Title 8, Section 1324 of the U.S. Code, which is the section of law titled, “Bringing in and harboring certain aliens.”

Specifically, if you’re claiming to be a religious organization, Bennett’s amendment allows you to:

  • “transport, or move” illegal aliens across the country (subparagraph ii)

  • “encourage or induce an alien … to reside in the United States” (subparagraph iv)

  • “conceal, harbor, or shield from detection” illegal aliens (subparagraph iii)

Yes, that’s right. As Tancredo asserted, religious organizations can “conceal” and “harbor” illegal aliens from the “detection” of federal immigration authorities.

And here’s the thing. With this kind of loophole, and with known members of terrorist groups either currently lying in wait in our country or trying to infiltrate, how can any lawmaker not take Bennett’s amendment as a direct threat to our national security?

According to a Washington Post report, some 500 people suspected of having terrorist ties have been arrested – anyone? – on immigration-related charges.

“When federal investigators suspect persons of plotting terrorist acts, but yet don’t have a complete case to convict them beyond a reasonable doubt, suspects are arrested on immigration violations, which buys prosecutors time and disrupts the terrorist plot,” says an analysis by Tancredo, posted on his immigration Reform Now website. As of this past week, “federal prosecutors cannot use immigration tools to go after front organizations that harbor terrorists.”

I realize lots of our illegal aliens don’t speak English, but I wonder if Sen. Bennett can comprehend it.

Tom Tancredo evidently does. And thank God for that.

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