The Threat from International Terrorism Persists

On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we remember the horror of the attacks, the tremendous loss of innocent lives, and the bravery of the first responders who lost their lives or their health. Over the 11 years since the attacks, we have carefully monitored efforts of the national government to close loopholes in our immigration laws and enforcement policies that exposed Americans to terrorism.

Progress has been made, but unfortunately gaps remain and momentum for adoption of necessary changes is ebbing. In a report last year “Ten Years Later: We Will Not Forget” we highlighted four of the most needed remaining reforms needed to provide the greater security from international terrorism that the American people deserve. Those reforms are:

  • Full implementation of the comprehensive electronic entry-exit system for foreign visitors is a high priority for identifying and collecting information on foreigners who overstay their visas and remain at large in the country.
  • The Visa Waiver Program should be terminated, or, at the very least, it should be suspended until the comprehensive electronic entry-exit matching system is fully operational.
  • Secure identity documents are fundamental to national security. Implementation of the REAL ID requirements for recognition by the federal government of state-issued identity documents and birth certificate standards are long overdue and must not be further delayed.
  • Assuring that all foreigners entering the country do so legally based on a screening system designed to protect the American people must be a primary objective in reducing the threat to the homeland. Reducing illegal entry and the size of the resident illegal alien population requires effectively denying employment opportunities for illegal workers, and adoption of the E-Verify system as a national requirement for all employers. It also requires effective enforcement by the federal government supplemented by cooperative state and local government policies.

Make sure to read the full report for explanations why each of those reforms is needed and the change that their adoption would bring. As we do not forget those who lost their lives or were crippled by the 9/11 attacks, we owe it to them to make sure that the nation’s policymakers also do not forget.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    Folks, we are completely vulnerable to terrorize. Nothing has improved in 11 years. Illegal aliens can get legitimate drivers’ licenses in New Mexico and Washington. California is about to grant them there. Obama keeps extending the Real ID Law. Obama wants more illegal aliens to build up the Democrat Party, but the downside is we are wide open to terrorist attack.

  2. avatar

    Employers benefit from the over abundance of workers. Workers work for less wages and benefits and are less likely to have government and union protection. Consequently their services and products are likely to cost less for the consumer. Who benefits? Who loses? Government provides food stamps shelter and health needs. Right?

    The visa program also allows guest workers that are trained by the employed persons to later replace that person/ citizen. at reduced wages. Refugees are allowed to immigrate because of their dire circumstances in their own country.

    This is the American way.