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.