As we watch the widespread Islamic terror attacks unfold in France, many Americans are undoubtedly taking comfort in the thought that we are well protected by our strong military and distant proximity to the Islamic bastions in the East. However, as we learned from the 9/11 terror attacks, our geography and military may protect us from a naval or air invasion, but they cannot protect us from suicidal immigration policies. Based on recent immigration trends, we have clearly learned nothing from the ominous attacks and thwarted terror plots that have taken place since 2001.
While America has not approached the dangerous levels of Islamic immigration that France has incurred in recent years, our increase in Muslim immigration coupled with lax visa tracking has exposed us to a huge security risk. As National Review noted in a riveting piece on the growth of domestic Islamic terror threats, “as the Muslim population in the country has expanded, so has the incidence of radicalism.”
While it’s hard to ascertain the exact level of Muslim immigration, it’s very clear the level of immigration is rapidly increasing. According to numbers crunched by the Center for Immigration Studies based on data from the Census Bureau’s Factfinder database, the immigrant population from predominantly Muslim countries has grown from 1.7 million in 2000 to 2.7 million in 2013.
The sharpest increases from the Muslim world are from volatile countries such as Iraq, Iran, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This tracks closely with Pew’s estimates of 100,000 new Muslim immigrants per year, almost twice the level of the previous decade. It is also 10% of our annual immigrant population. If this trajectory continues, we will eventually reach the level of saturation France is currently experiencing with Muslim immigrants – roughly 10% of their population.
Additionally, there are serious concerns about the number of student visas that are granted to young males from these countries. According to data compiled by the Brookings Institute, Saudi Arabian nationals – who accounted for 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 – were granted more student visas between 2008 and 2012 than all but three other countries. Indeed, Arabic is the fastest growing language on U.S. college campuses and among the immigrant population in general.
It would be one thing if we had an effective visa tracking program and vetting process in place to weed out the radicalized elements from the Muslim world. It certainly would have suited countries like France well over the past few decades. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has repealed the National Security Exit-Entry Registration System (NSEERS), which was implemented after 9/11 to properly vet and track those who come here from risky countries on a student visa. Last year, ABC news discovered that 58,000 foreign nationals have overstayed their student visas, of which 6,000 represent a “heightened concern.”
Additionally, we have a gaping hole in our immigration system through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP allows people from 38 countries to travel here without a visa. While the VWP does not include countries from the Middle East, so many European countries have become a bastion for Islamic terror that places like France and England now present a huge problem. If we don’t have an effective biometric exit-entry system in place, we must certainly be able to weed out security risks before they enter in the first place. Even liberal Sen. Dianne Feinstein called the VWP “the Achilles Heel of America,” following the Islamic attacks in Iran.
Do you feel safe now?
Instead of focusing on amnesty or expanding our legal immigration system while Obama is president, Republicans should focus on the national security aspects of immigration. Legislation should include the following:
- Implementation of a program similar to NSEERS in which we non-immigrant visas from risky parts of the world must be monitored by a local ICE office. If someone is here on a student visa and drops out of college to work on creating bombs, we should know about it.
- A complete overhaul of the Iraqi and Syrian refugee programs to ensure that we don’t continue letting in persecutors who claim to be persecuted.
- An act which would suspend the Visa Waiver Program until we establish control over the number of terror threats we let into the country.
- An act which would revoke the citizenship of those who fight for foreign terrorist organizations, such as ISIS.
When terror groups like ISIS threaten attacks on our homeland, they are not referring to an air or naval invasion. They are referring to current and future sleeper cells that have penetrated our vulnerable immigration system.
We can either follow France in their credulous immigration policies of national suicide or we can learn from their mistakes – before it’s too late.
Daniel Horowitz is Senior Editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on twitter @RMConservative.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Conservative Review.