DHS Secretary: Amnesty Background Checks Wouldn’t Catch Terrorists

Proponents of amnesty often claim that it would make the country safer by bringing illegal aliens “out of the shadows” and helping law enforcement apprehend “the bad guys.”

But this week, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, grudgingly acknowledged that background checks conducted on those pursuing some form of amnesty wouldn’t identify known criminals and potential terrorists.

During a hearing on “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland,” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) questioned whether background checks conducted, as a component of any amnesty program, would effectively identify public safety or national security threats.

Barletta noted the 9/11 Commission found that as many as 15 of the 19 hijackers behind the September 11th attacks violated existing immigration laws and could have been stopped.

Using the example of Mahmud Abouhalima, the terrorist convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Barletta pressed Johnson on the issue. In 1986, Abouhalima was given amnesty as an agricultural worker despite working as a taxi driver in New York City.

Barletta: “Do you believe that Mahmud Abouhalima would have come forward for a criminal background check in 1993?”

Johnson: “Most criminals do not subject themselves to criminal background checks. I agree with that.”

While we know that terrorists took advantage of weaknesses in the U.S. immigration system in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the attacks of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, recommendations from the 9/11 Commissionas well as FAIR—to enforce existing immigration laws have yet to be followed.

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  1. avatar

    I am glad that someone in Congress is actually doing the job that they are paid by the taxpayers to do, and are looking out for the best interests of the citizens of this country.

  2. avatar

    It’s my understanding that there’s a difference between mere background checks and the SECURITY checks done on legal immigrants. The former consist mainly of CRIMINAL background checks in THIS country, and even then are complicated by the fact that many illegal aliens commit fraud and identity theft. How are you ever going to know who you’re really checking up on. Security checks, on the other hand, involve not only criminal background checks on would-be immigrants in every country they’ve lived in, but also check into ties to terrorism in those countries. Fact is, though, that this administration is not even doing background checks on most applicants for DACA, preferring instead to go “lean and lite” in order to process half a million applicants in a short period.

    • avatar

      There was a study done after the 1986 amnesty, financed by the Ford Foundation, that found that at least half, probably more, of the applications were fraudulent. A lot of them involved those who claimed to have worked in agricultural jobs in California. Many were approved in spite of the fact that they were clearly lying. Some people said strawberries grew on trees.

  3. avatar

    Oh, the shadows part: my neighbor said that he plans to stay silent if an immigrant supervisor hires people from his/her own country. He (the neighbor) needs to keep food on his table and a roof over his head.

  4. avatar

    “Out of the shadows” is a ridiculous phrase re illegal immigrants. I’ll tell you who’s in the shadows – Americans. A neighbor was looking for a job, and I cautiously mentioned that many employers prefer immigrants, as they may work harder to get a toehold in the U.S., and they’re not likely to speak up about potential health/safety issues. He nodded, adding, “Not only that, but when immigrants become supervisors, they tend to hire people from their own countries. Anyone who complains is labeled a racist and harassed in ways that are almost impossible to prove until he/she quits.”

  5. avatar

    Yeah, that’s always the phony excuse: “Reform” will let us know who’s here. Right, all those drug cartel members and gang bangers are going to flock to register with the government.

      • avatar

        You missed my point. As usual. That’s the usual argument from people who support “reform”. They say it will let us know who’s here. In fact, Johnson himself made that argument but then he was forced to admit that criminals won’t come forward.

        • avatar

          The Only Immigration Reform We Need

          Is go back to being a sovereign nation again with real immigration laws, instead of this lawless open border organised crime we’re immersed in, apparently running things, that also has CLEARLY demonstrated they could care less about America’s security.