The Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based advocacy group, says the Census Bureau findings, which are based on preliminary estimates of the 2000 census, are ‘‘especially troubling given the role failures in immigration control played in September's terrorist attacks.'' Three of the Sept. 11 airplane hijackers were illegal aliens, but a number of other terrorists also have come here illegally from Middle East nations, including Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, who tried to bomb the New York City subway system in 1997, and Mohammed Salameh, who took part in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.
The census figures do not include illegal aliens from Pakistan. The Immigration and Naturalization Service had previously estimated that more than 40,000 Pakistanis are living illegally in the United States. Africa, including Sub-Saharan Africa, accounts for an estimated 243,000 illegal aliens, according to Census Bureau figures..
The Bush administration is scrambling to begin deportation of some people here illegally, but the Justice Department's focus on 6,000 Middle Eastern men who already have been ordered out of the country only begins to address the problem. Even if all left today, as many as 58,000 non-Israeli Middle Eastern men, not including aliens from Pakistan or North African countries, would remain.
If we do not toughen immigration laws and stop granting amnesty to those who break them, we will encourage more people to come to America by any means possible. That's what occurred following previous amnesties. Inevitably, this means more terrorists will be admitted. The pre-occupation of some in the media — and of self-styled human rights groups — with the way Taliban prisoners are being treated (which is better than they have treated us) reveals that too many among us are still not willing to do what it takes to combat terror.
Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, says, ‘‘It is difficult to overstate the implications of this new (Census Bureau) report for the security of our nation. While the vast majority of illegals from the Middle East are not terrorists, the fact that tens of thousands of people from that region and millions more from the rest of the world can settle in the United States illegally means that terrorists who wish to do so face few obstacles. We can't protect ourselves from terrorism without dealing with illegal immigration.''
Members of Congress from both parties have failed to provide the political and monetary support the INS needs to enforce immigration laws. There is no constitutional right to come to America. It is a privilege to be admitted. It is disgraceful, as well as harmful to our personal safety and national health, that we have allowed 9 million people to come here illegally.
If we are going to be hit again by our enemies, let's make sure we've done everything possible to protect ourselves, beginning with the deportation of everyone from nations who breed terrorists, followed quickly by those from other nations who are not entitled to be here.