Twelve Years Later: What We Don’t Know Can Still Harm Us

Twelve years ago this morning, most of us woke up to the horrifying reality that not paying attention comes with catastrophic consequences.

There were many things we, as a nation, were neglecting in the years leading up to September 11, 2001, not the least of which was enforcement of our immigration laws. The terrorists who killed some 3,000 Americans and reduced the World Trade Center to a twisted pile of smoldering rubble were easily able to violate U.S. immigration laws, obtain government-issued identity documents, and move significant amounts of money through our banks.

Terrorist attacks may happen even with increased security measures, but our refusal to enforce our own immigration laws in a serious manner made it easy for the terrorists to carry out a large scale attack in American on 9/11.

Could it happen again? Sadly, the answer is yes. In spite of clear and present dangers here is what we face today:

  1. The Obama administration openly refuses to enforce many immigration laws. They have all but ceased seeking out and removing illegal aliens they deem to be “low priority,” under the rubric of prosecutorial discretion. It is likely that every one of the 19 9/11 terrorists would have met the administration’s criteria as low priority for removal.
  2. The Obama administration is further relaxing the standards for admission of foreign nationals. The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General described the modus operandi at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency as “Get to yes.” This prevailing culture at USCIS increases the likelihood that the next perpetrators of a terrorist attacks will be allowed to enter the United States legally.
  3. Since last year, the Obama administration, without authorization from Congress, has been granting illegal aliens under the age of 30, who have not been convicted of a serious crime, the right to live and work legally in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. So far, more than 99 percent of DACA applications have been approved. Less than a month ago, the administration announced that it would add parents and caregivers of children to the list of illegal aliens whom they intend to exempt from immigration enforcement.
  4. In response to the DACA program, many state and local governments have begun issuing valid government identification documents to beneficiaries, while the federal government is issuing them valid Social Security numbers.
  5. The Obama administration is encouraging people to abuse our asylum policies. DHS publishes information on its website coaching potential asylum abusers about what they need to say to get themselves admitted and released into the country, pending a formal hearing. The result has been a significant increase in the number of people showing up at ports of entry seeking political asylum.
  6. The United States Senate has already approved a massive amnesty bill, and the House leadership is under heavy pressure to follow suit. The legislation calls for legalizing most illegal aliens in the U.S. with no conceivable way of carrying out adequate background checks on perhaps as many as 11 million applicants.
  7. The world has become an even more dangerous place than it was 12 years ago. Much of the Middle East is in turmoil, and the United States is, once again, contemplating military action in the region. As National Security Advisor Susan Rice has warned, the current state of affairs in that part of the world increases the risk of another strike against the United States.

As we mark the twelfth anniversary of 9/11 (and the first anniversary of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya) Americans must be asking their leaders if we are truly honoring our commitment never to allow such an attack to happen again, or are we sacrificing the security of our nation to political expediency?


About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    This is a terrible situation and our ‘leaders’ are hell bent on making things WORSE. What drives them? More people to pay for aging bb’s (baby-boomers)? But that ‘problem’ will eventually solve itself as bb’s die out. Their “solution” of unfettered immigration is to create a pyramid scheme requiring more people to support the immigrants after they age – pyramid schemes ARE ILLEGAL! Unbelievable stupidity bordering on insanity – sad to say, it may take another 9/11 type attack to motivate these idiots to enforce our current laws, which are not broken, just un-enforced. Our leaders are assuming full irresponsibility for this problem with their inaction, but they take enough responsibility to know that they have to change the law to cover for themselves and each other.

  2. avatar

    So, was Bush great at this, both parties have the Hispanic lobby groups or business lobby groups. Obama wants the Dems to have more votes.

  3. avatar

    The hijackers should never have been admitted on visas, according to the rules. They were single males with no jobs waiting for them here and they were from countries that were of special concern when it came to terrorism. We’re repeating that pattern.

    Point 6 makes a valid argument that there is no way that any significant background checks will be done on any of these people. It’s expensive and time consuming to do such checks on a person with a valid identity. We were promised these applicants would undergo “strict background checks”. Which of course was just another lie, another forgotten promise, because there is no way anyone is going to untangle all the various fake IDs and stolen or made up SS numbers.

    Why do we even want to make citizens of people whose very presence here is flouting our laws? And we expect that these people are going to become honest law abiding citizens? No, they will be the same cheats and scammers they are now.