Backsliding on National Security: The Immigration Connection

Executive Summary

In a public relations campaign that evokes the image of Orwellian “newspeak,” the Department of Homeland Security has announced a long list of accomplishments in improving national security while at the same time it has adopted a number of measures that represent a significant backsliding on national security. If only the rhetoric is heard, the public may think its safety is in good hands. If, however, recent actions concerning the illegal alien population and the flow of foreign nationals into and out of the country are examined, a very different picture emerges.

The areas in which rhetoric and action widely diverge include:

  • A willingness to abandon progress on implementation of a secure identification system based on state-issued driver’s licenses using national standards for verification of “breeder” documents and electronic exchange of information among the states and the federal government.
  • Restriction of federal-local cooperation in the apprehension of foreigners illegally in the country.
  • Abandonment of a system to discourage further illegal immigration based on curtailing job opportunities for those in the country illegally.
  • Pursuit of an amnesty for foreigners illegally in the country which will work at cross-purpose to efforts to gain greater border control by deterring illegal immigration.

While talking toughness on national security, the Obama Administration appears to give a higher priority to its relationship with narrow political interest groups that it courted in the last election than to reducing the nation’s exposure to the threat of international terrorism. And, while President Obama’s efforts to assure foreigners around the globe that Americans are their friends is commendable, it is no substitute for enhanced homeland security.

If the Obama Administration were seriously interested in advancing national security, it would:

  • Reverse course and welcome the assistance of local jurisdictions that aggressively identify illegal aliens for deportation.
  • Push for the E-Verify system to be adopted as a national requirement for all employers and all workers. In the meantime, implementation of the “no-match” letter screening system would represent a significant deterrent to the mass illegal immigration that compromises border security.
  • Withdraw support for an amnesty for illegal aliens and, thereby, convey the message abroad that the United States is serious about enforcing its immigration laws.
  • Rapidly pursue implementation of a comprehensive electronic database that matches entry and departure of foreign visitors, and expand the special tracking database for students to include all long-term visitors.
  • Reverse the recent expansion of the Visa Waiver Program that allows the entry of nationals of 35 countries to enter without consular screening and gradually eliminate it.
  • Tighten the criteria for admission of nationals of countries with active terrorist organizations in the refugee and asylum programs.

The full report is available in pdf format.