Bringing Illegal Aliens “Out of the Shadows” Enables Terrorism

Granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens at once is bound to diminish, not promote, national security. Yet, perhaps in response to the ironic timing of a terrorist attack carried out by immigrants in Boston the day before S. 744 was introduced on the Senate floor, amnesty proponents have latched onto the backward argument that granting amnesty to illegal aliens will actually improve our national security.  Yes, that’s right. Somehow legalizing those who broke our laws are supposed to make us safer.

Case in point, last June Gang of Eight Leader Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) claimed immediate legalization was needed because “We cannot wait another four years with 11 million people living in this country illegally without knowing who they are or why they’re here.” Likewise, the recent House principles endorsing amnesty make the same argument: “our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law.” The new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Jeh Johnson, has also taken to emphasizing this argument when he urges amnesty, saying again in a recent address “[a]s a matter of homeland security, we should encourage these people to come out of the shadows of American society, pay taxes and fines, be held accountable.”

These claims are nonsense. Giving millions of illegal aliens the option to obtain legal status is far different from actually requiring they register with the government. Do Senator Rubio, Secretary Johnson, and House Republican Leaders really think that those who are trying to do us harm would hand over their identities to the Feds? Common sense begs to differ. And for those who opt into whatever amnesty program the House establishment cooks up, far from preventing them from committing terrorism, it would actually enable potential terrorists to better blend in with American society. The more integrated into a society a person is, the easier it is to attack from within. Thus many terrorist attacks against America were carried out by immigrants who were permanent residents or naturalized citizens such as the Boston marathon bombers, the DC metro bomb plotter, the New York subway bomb plotter, the attempted Times Square car bomber, to name only some recent examples.

Giving illegal aliens more rights therefore does not protect the homeland. In fact, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) has already shown us why. During IRCA, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) probably approved hundreds of thousands of fraudulent amnesty applications because it did not have the capacity to check them. One of these fraudulent approvals was Mahmud Abouhalima, a cabdriver from Egypt who overstayed a tourist visa and applied for amnesty under the IRCA’s agricultural worker provisions, and then went on to help perpetrate the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  He got his right to work papers in 1986, and his green card in 1988, which allowed him to take several trips to Pakistan for combat training.  Thus the amnesty, far from protecting us, enabled his terrorism by facilitating his free movement. Ironically, in the same speech where Jeh Johnson, “from a homeland security perspective,” argued for an amnesty that would repeat the security mistakes of 1986, he alerted the audience to present homeland security threats from individuals currently living in the West traveling to Syria to fight and potentially returning to America after being radicalized abroad, just as Abouhalima did!

Considering that the number of illegal aliens whose applications the government would now have to process has quadrupled to nearly 12 million (compared to the roughly 3 million illegal aliens amnestied under the 1986 law), it can only be imagined that any future amnesty would stand even less chance of being safely administered. In fact, DHS has already given us a preview of future problems with the (unlawful) DACA directive, implemented by Alejandro Mayorkas, now DHS’s second ranking official. In administering DACA, whistleblowers revealed Mayorkas operated under a “get to yes” philosophy whereby adjudicators were instructed they could not issue denials without his personal approval. Secretary Johnson’s assurances that an amnesty would not grant legal residence and eventual citizenship to those who are security threats simply have no credibility.

Amnesty proponents should stick to arguing that an amnesty would be appreciated by illegal aliens and the employers who hire them.  That it could somehow make this country safer defies both common sense and all of the lessons we should have learned from recent history.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    Why don’t we just enforce the immigration laws. And abide with the constitution? What the hell is so hard about enforcing our laws

  2. avatar

    Why is it that NO ONE discusses the drain that all the illegals have on our country Other than jobs? They over crowd our jails, cost our school systems, have high gang rates, some areas already have to ration water, what will that be like in 10 more years as their families grow? There are areas that have landfill problems and no where to put it all, they drive without insurance so now WE have to carry uninsured motorist insurance, they break the law getting here, go to places that set them up with fake driver licenses (there is one in Wichita, Ks) then file for income credit for all their kids, food stamps etc that they are NOT entitled to, VOTE (so no one wants voter id because of that) go in stores let the kids tear everything up, eat doughnuts etc, don’t pay for it so WE have to pay higher prices for all the theft. I could go on for an hour with all the negative for having millions of illegals here, while they try to cram down our throats how them paying taxes would help the economy. All a big fat lie. Most of them work for CASH, spend it at the bars and expect us to feel sorry for the family and take care of them, which we do even though they aren’t supposed to be able to use our system. We are getting fed a bushel of what they want us to believe, not the ACTUAL consequences.

  3. avatar

    I sometimes get calls from a federal agency or a bank, or a loan shark, looking for individuals of Mexican origin, who put down my phone number on loan applications. I don’t have the same last name as them, but they all share the same last name. The address they put down on the applications they fill out is not valid. How they sometimes get these loans without valid information stumps me, because if American citizens did this we would be put in jail. Our government can’t find these people, and they have been looking for them for years! Our Government does not know who is in this Country, and I’m not sure they really care to know. The 9/11 Commissions recommendations are being ignored, and this Country is not protected. It saddens me that our politicians would want to grant blanket Amnesty, all for cheap labor. We Americans are not being protected or represented by our politicians or our Government. When did this Country sell itself out?

  4. avatar

    Bringing illegals “out of the shadows” is one of those phrases that send me screaming into the night. They have never, ever been in the shadows. They can be found in grocery aisles, schools, welfare offices, working jobs taken from others, in emergency rooms, or marching in the street demanding they reap the benefits of citizens. So, hopefully, politicians will get another mantra to try and convince us that we should accept these lawbreakers.

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  6. avatar

    It’s frightening to think that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security(Insecurity?) and our politicians are so incompetent. How many more Americans have to be killed and maimed in terrorist attacks before our government does its job of protecting the American people?

    • avatar

      They don’t care how many more Americans die, the Democrats want 12 million new voters for their base and the Republicans are trying to please their corporate masters who have been kicking millions into these politicians slush funds. These corporate and special interest groups are now demanding that the Republicans pay up for all that graft the have been given.

      • avatar

        It’s sad, but you are right. All our politicians really care about is staying in power. They could care less about the American people.

  7. avatar

    Until BO & his utterly useless administration and cabinet posts are history, the rule of law regarding immigration in the U.S. will be just words, and nothing more!

  8. avatar

    We couldn’t even lift the high security clearance of the Washington Navy Yard shooter, after there were numerous flags on his record. And we are going to untangle the multiple false ids of 12 million [or more] people here illegally? Nah, won’t ever happen. To begin with, who would pay for it? And you go ahead and “encourage” those drug cartel members in this country to “come forward”. Good thinking, Sherlock.