For a while now I have meant to write a post on immigration and terrorism, specifically to refute the argument made by anti-immigration folks that cracking down on immigration is an important part of the war on terror. Now, I tend to agree that we are too slow in kicking out visitors who commit crimes. I've always thought in fact that if Mexico found itself send millions of productive workers to the US only to get back a stream of the small percentage who were thugs and criminals they might finally address the root causes of why their own country can't offer productive people any opportunity.
But the guard-the-border folks go further than this, arguing we must stop all immigration with troops and "minutemen" at the border as part of the effort to defend ourselves from terrorism. I've always thought that this was a fabricated argument, since its so easy to prove that fear of terrorism is not their real motive for troops at the border (if it were, then why are all the troops going to the Mexican border - shouldn't the long stretches of empty land on the Canadian border be just as vulnerable to terrorists? In fact, it is Canada and not Mexico where Islamic terrorist cells have been found in the last month).
Open and legal immigration would make finding illegal entry of terrorists much easier. Right now, by pushing Mexican immigrants out into desert, rather than marked border crossings, one gives terrorists a very large haystack to hide in. Terrorists with violent intent must somehow be sorted out from millions of perfectly peaceful immigrants looking for work. Arizona Watch quotes James Valliant:
If every person who wanted into America in order to find work was legally
permitted into America, I'll bet they'd be happy to stop by the front gate, show
some i.d., get checked against a terrorist watch-list, etc. Only those with
criminal records, or reasons to flee justice, those with contagious diseases,
and, well"¦ terrorists would have any reason to "jump the gate" at all.
This would concentrate our resources on those who actually posed a threat to
the country. Thousands of border patrol agents would, then, not be going after
thousands "“ ultimately, accumulated millions "“ of people everyday, but just a
few hundred "“ ultimately, a few thousands. I, personally, prefer those odds when
it comes to catching terrorists and mass-murders.