A leading immigration-reform group has released a new study blaming states and local governments for weakening “the immigration-related dimensions of U.S. national security” by adopting and practicing policies that provide “safe haven” for illegal aliens.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform says those local policies are at conflict with border security measures, “despite the federal government’s increased push to tie immigration enforcement to national security.”
Truckful of illegal aliens. Some cities are becoming refuges for illegal border crossers.
The report, titled “State of Insecurity: How State and Local Immigration Policies are Undermining Homeland Security,” says local jurisdictions, “under pressure from foreign governments, some employers, and open-borders activists” provide “safe harbor to illegal aliens.”
“While the federal government has not yet slammed shut the doors to illegal immigration,” says Dan Stein, executive director of FAIR, “it is the states and local governments that are rolling out the welcome mat for illegal aliens once they are here.”
Barring White House leadership on the issue, “the state patchwork of inconsistent and incompatible policies will continue to be a primary avenue used by foreign terrorists to exploit weaknesses in our national immigration system,” Stein commented.
Among the findings cited in the study:
- Cities and communities have adopted policies “designed to shield people who are violating federal immigration laws.” They include instructing police not to question or arrest suspected illegal aliens.
- At least 165 communities around the country have gone public with their condemnation of the USA Patriot Act – “which requires federal intelligence agencies to work with local governments and law enforcement to monitor terrorism suspects,” said the report. Instead, these communities have adopted non-cooperation policies against such efforts; Arcata, Calif., has even said it will punish municipal employees who cooperate with federal officials.
- Though local and state governments are seeking federal funds to assist them in preparing for future terrorist attacks, “state policies that grant driver’s licenses and other benefits to illegal aliens unwittingly improve the chances that terrorists will succeed in unleashing another attack.”
- More often local and state governments are accepting foreign-issued identity documents, such as matricula consular cards, which are issued by foreign consulates in the U.S. and which cannot be verified by U.S. law enforcement. Such cards pose “a new and growing threat to homeland security,” though they are accepted now “by 800 police and sheriff’s departments and numerous city and county governments. …” The cards, FAIR says, allow illegal aliens, “potentially including terrorists,” to reside openly in the U.S.
“The members of the next team of al-Qaida terrorists who find entry into the United States will have an easy time obtaining false documents,” says the 15-page report, “because they are easily and inexpensively available to illegal aliens.”
The release of the report comes days after the chief Border Patrol agent for the San Diego sector, William Veal, was forced to rescind a memo he issued instructing agents under his command not to conduct “interior enforcement” of immigration laws – that is, to find and arrest illegal aliens outside of immediate border areas.
It also comes just weeks before the second anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. As a result of those attacks – and later revelations that at least some of the 19 hijackers were in the country illegally – some improvements to border security were made, including the hiring of more Border Patrol agents and the folding of the Immigration and Naturalization Service into the larger Department of Homeland Security.
Bush administration officials, as well as lawmakers, are reviewing the issuance of matricula consular cards, thousands of which have been provided by Mexican consulates. Critics say the cards are generally given to illegal aliens because migrants in the country legally have U.S.-issued documents and identification.
FAIR said in its report the responsibility for shoring up security at the borders didn’t rest solely with the White House. “Congress must also act with an unswerving resolve to ensure strong, reliable immigration controls.”
“Without direct guidance from Washington on these issues,” the report concluded, “states have been left to patch together their own policies, many times driven by concerns far removed from security considerations.
“As a result, the work being done at the federal level is being undone and undermined at the local level,” the report said.