Threats to Homeland Security Immigration Laws in Combating CBRN

Terrorism
The importance of security of a country can never be gainsaid as far as
its wellbeing is concerned. In fact, security has been recognized as one
of the most crucial and fundamental pillars to the growth, development
and sustainability of a country. This is especially considering its
bearing on the capacity or ability of an individual to undertake
economic activities as it tends to guarantee the enjoyment of other
fundamental human rights. Needless to say, it would be impossible for
individuals to engage in any activity, economic or otherwise unless they
are guaranteed of a certain level of security. This explains why many
governments have been spending an enormous amount of their budgets in
averting threats to their national securities both inside and outside
their borders. It goes without saying, however, that the threats of
terrorism have increased in the 21st century. This has especially been
enhanced by the advanced technology, which has not only enhanced the
lethal nature of the weaponry but also complicated or hampered the
capacity of security organs to combat such insecurity. These have taken
the form of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. The
increased threats of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear
weapons triggered the United States into forming Homeland Security,
charged with the responsibility of securing the United States from the
numerous security threats that it faces. Its vision is stated as
ensuring that the homeland is safe, secure, as well as resilient against
any acts of terror or any hazards. In attains this vision through the
prevention of terrorism and improving security, enforcement and
administering of the immigration laws, securing and management of the
borders, as well as securing and safeguarding cyberspace, alongside
ensuring resilience to terrorism and other disasters.
Scholars note that the United States currently does not have a
comprehensive or all-inclusive strategy for countering terrorism threats
that involve nuclear, radiological, chemical, and especially biological
weapons. As much as local, federal and state governments may have
undertaken impressive strides in preparation for terrorism that involves
these weapons, the sum of parts remains significantly larger than the
whole. The United States is at crossroads on strategies that could
comprehensively or ultimately eliminate the threats posed by terrorism.
Nevertheless, Homeland Security, while concentrating on the entirety of
the CBRN threat, has paid close attention to the issue of immigration.
As its mission states, Homeland Security aims at administering and
enforcing immigration laws. The department has concentrated on effective
and smart enforcement of the United States laws pertaining to
immigration while facilitating, as well as streamlining the legal
immigration process. It has taken measures that reform the enforcement
of immigration, while placing its priority on the identification, as
well as removal of criminal illegal immigrants who threaten public
safety.
The question of illegal immigrants has been a contentious one since
time immemorial. It is known to be an emotive issue even during
political campaigns with different political factions calling for
different measures pertaining to immigrants. Questions emerge as to the
connection between immigration (especially illegal immigrants) and
terrorism.
While there is no obvious or explicit link between the two, security
experts are quick to point out that in the September 11 bombings, the 19
terrorists involves were foreign citizens. It is worth noting that while
13 of them may have gotten into the United States as students, tourists
or business travelers, no data could be traced accounting for the entry
of the rest. This is also connected to the fact that the perpetrators of
other terrorist attacks were from abroad, most of whom may have entered
the United States through legal means. For example, Ramzi Yousef who
masterminded the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, Sheik
Omar Abdel- Rahman who was convicted for plotting acts of terror in New
York in 1995 and Amal Kasi, the individual who, in 1993, murdered two
employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. Scholars note that, as
much as it is essential that illegal immigrants (more so Muslim
immigrants) are not used as scapegoats, it is imperative that policy
makers acknowledge that the current threats of terrorism in the United
States emanate, almost exclusively people who come from abroad. In
essence, the immigration policy including border control, permanent and
temporary visas issuance, as well as efforts that will deal aliens or
illegal immigration are crucial in alleviating or lowering the
likelihood of an attack in the future.
In addition, scholars have attempted to show how terrorists use almost
every possible means to get into the United States including acquisition
of legitimate visas and passports for entry or even stowing away
illegally on gas tankers. Apart from seeking to to link immigration to
terrorism, scholars focus on political refuges and asylum seekers as
potential terrorists. They note that the political asylum comes as an
appropriate route through which terrorists enter the United States. It
is worth noting that the asylum keeps such individuals from being
deported quickly, in which case they are presented with an opportunity
to traverse the country. On the same note, a large percentage of asylum
decisions are not founded on hard evidence, rather they are based on the
words or the statements that applicants make. In essence, terrorists
find it easy as they can make fraudulent claims and get into the United
States.
In a detailed study that examined 212 known terrorists who had been
killed or arrested in Europe and North America, Martin and Martin (2004)
noted that all of them were visitors or 1st or 2nd generation
immigrants. They hold the opinion that terrorists take advantage of the
generous immigration policies in the West in order to infiltrate the
United States so as to carry out the recruitment of new members,
establish facilities that will promote their cause, as well as form
sleeper cells in readiness for terrorist attacks.
While terrorism experts note that most illegal aliens have gainful
employment in the United States, pat taxes and even have established
roots and families in the society, they note that the current upsurge of
illegal aliens and individuals who overstay their visas has increased
the difficulty for the interior and border enforcement agencies in
focusing or organized criminals, terrorists and violent felons. This is
because such individuals make use of the anonymity that came with the
current chaotic situation. On the same note, such individuals are seen
to be fundamentally crucial in ferrying weapons as they are extremely
difficult to track and net using the current laws. This underlines the
importance of reexamining the immigration aspect in combating terrorism
especially involving CBNR threats.
Loopholes in the immigration policies
In examining the link between immigration reform and the proliferation
of the CNBR terrorism, scholars have examined the challenges in the
immigration policy that leave loopholes exploited by terrorists in
gaining entry into the United States. This reexamination is carried out
using the case of the 9/11 attacks, noting that the same strategies
could be used by future terrorists. First, it is noteworthy that when
the 9/11 hijackers entered into the United States, they presented travel
documents to the immigration officers at the port of entry. As much as
their names and details were checked against the computerized systems,
they had easy time obtaining the visas at the United States consulates,
as well as pass through the inspection at the entry points. In this
regard, it is apparent that intelligence pertaining to at least two of
the hijackers was not shared between the consulates and the immigration
authorities until these criminals had entered into the country.
Secondly, tightening the procedures that are used in screening
individuals entering in the United States using legal means would not
necessarily have averted the possibility of these criminals entering the
US. This is especially considering that illegal entry’s backdoor in
the borders of Canada and Mexico is considerably open and accessible to
any would-be immigrant. As much as the a large percentage of individuals
getting into the United States through illegal means may be doing it for
purposes of work and even pose no substantial security threat, the same
vulnerabilities in regulation and control of borders that allow
large-scale unauthorized migration may be taken advantage of by
terrorists. Third, it is evident from terrorists’ activities that the
United States does not track the activities and movements of immigrants
and foreigners. This is especially considering that one of the hijackers
had gained entry into the United States after being admitted to study
English. However, he did not attend or go to the school in which he was
admitted yet no consequences befell him. This is blamed on the fact that
the procedure followed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) in notifying schools about the arrival of a student into the
United States takes at least 6 months, not to mention the additional
months taken for the response of the school to reach the INS. In essence
the INS is supposed to make a decision on the priority it should place
in locating a foreigner who entered the United States but failed to
participate in the activities that are permitted in his or her visa. It
is noteworthy that tracking foreigners in real-time would not only be
expensive but also expensive in such instances. Forth and most important
is the fact that the hijackings underlined variations in the manner in
which foreigners are treated across countries as shown by the variation
in the manner in which a number of the hijackers in the US, Germany and
Canada were treated, as well as the inability of the data systems of
immigration and law enforcement agencies to share information between
and within governments.
The flaw of focusing on ethnic groups in immigration reforms combating
CBRN threats
Numerous governments have, for a long time, underlined the importance
of undertaking sweeping measures that would reform the Immigration
Policies so as to avert the possibility of CBNR terrorist attacks.
However, it is noted that focusing on certain religions and ethnic
groups undermines the legitimacy that western governments have in
fighting against terror. Scholars note that the al-Qaeda among other
CBNR terrorists tend to characterize the war against terror as the
United States against Arabs or the West against the religion of Islam.
The more the United States acts in a manner that paints the picture of
West vs. Islam, the higher the likelihood that terrorist groups would
attract support (and sympathy) for their terrorist cause. It is worth
noting that an international response is required to meet international
terrorism, in which case it is imperative that the broadest coalition
between different governments is maintained. However, counterterrorism
policies that seem to target certain religions or ethnic communities
based on their nationality may antagonize their home governments or even
the nationals counterparts at home, whose cooperation may be imperative
in combating terror. In fact, countries may respond to measures that
seem to target its citizens through withdrawing or a reduction in their
support for initiatives that combat international terrorism.
On the same note, harsh measures related to immigration have
reverberated in the immigrant community lowering the will of Muslims and
Arabs to cooperate with the agencies in fighting terrorism. Immigrant
populations have faced antagonism from these measures, in which case
they fear law enforcement. This has hindered investigation efforts on
terrorist activities the communities as they have increased
government’s mistrust, in which case there is the likelihood of
alienating immigrant populations that would be willing to cooperate.
Recommendation and conclusion
Despite the ineffectiveness of immigration policy frameworks, Homeland
Security must use them in preventing CBNR terrorism. Of course, reforms
in immigration policies may not prevent terrorism but they come as
fundamental in combating it. These policies are aimed at identifying,
deterring the entry of, as well as apprehending terrorists.
First, it is imperative that Homeland Security synchronizes its data
systems pertaining to criminal records. This data should be freely
shared among all agencies that are charged with the admission of
immigrants and foreigners, so as to allow the agencies to carry out
comprehensive searches before allowing a foreigner to enter into the
country.
Second, the Mexican and Canada borders come as crucial in the fight
against CBNR terrorism. This is especially considering its porous nature
that allows for the entry of illegal immigrants into the United States.
While it may be costly and ineffective to close it, eliminating the
possibility of entry for terrorists of any nature would be imperative.
In this regard, it is recommended that the refugee and immigration
policies between the United States and Canada, as well as Mexico are
harmonized. This will allow for the preservation of a considerably open
border without antagonizing immigrant communities and even without
compromising on the security of the United States.
Third, it is imperative that communication between Immigration and
Naturalization Service and other bodies is enhanced so as to allow for
tracking, as well as early and easy detection and prevention of acts
that would jeopardize the security of the United States. Individuals who
seem to have stopped or diverted from their initial goal stated in their
visas and passports would be detected early enough and either deported
or investigated, which would allow for early detection and prevention of
terrorism acts.
Needless to say, terrorism involving Chemical, Biological, Radiological
and Nuclear weapons is rife and an immense threat to the stability of
the United States. With homeland Security being charged with ensuring
safety of United States, it is imperative that it reexamines its
policies pertaining to immigrants and seeks their reform so as to
enhance cooperation with immigrants and make it difficult for terrorists
to exploit the loopholes to get to the United States.
Bibliography
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nuclear terrorism: A comprehensive strategy : a report of the CSIS
Homeland Defense Project. Washington D.C: CSIS. 2001
Martin, Susan and Martin, Philip : “International Migration and
Terrorism: Prevention, Prosecution and Protection”, Georgetown
Immigration Law Journal, Vol. 18, pp. 329-344. 2004
Pickering, Sharon. “Border Terror: Policing, Forced Migration and
Terrorism”, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2004.
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Enhanced Role for the Federal Courts Post 9/11”, Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, Vol. 7, 2003
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Threat Perceptions and Policies,The Hague: Kluwer International, 2003
Zard, Monette. “Exclusion, terrorism and the Refugee Convention”,
Forced Migration Review, Vol. 13, 2002
Cilluffo, F. J., Cardash, S. L., Lederman, G. N., & CSIS Homeland
Defense Project. Combating chemical, biological, radiological, and
nuclear terrorism: A comprehensive strategy : a report of the CSIS
Homeland Defense Project. Washington D.C: CSIS. 2001
Cilluffo, F. J., Cardash, S. L., Lederman, G. N., & CSIS Homeland
Defense Project. Combating chemical, biological, radiological, and
nuclear terrorism: A comprehensive strategy : a report of the CSIS
Homeland Defense Project. Washington D.C: CSIS. 2001
United-Nations. Trends in Total Migration Stock: The 2003 Revision, New
York: United Nations Population Division. 2003
Zard, Monette. “Exclusion, terrorism and the Refugee Convention”,
Forced Migration Review, Vol. 13, 2002
Zard, Monette. “Exclusion, terrorism and the Refugee Convention”,
Forced Migration Review, Vol. 13, 2002
United-Nations. Trends in Total Migration Stock: The 2003 Revision, New
York: United Nations Population Division. 2003
Martin, Susan and Martin, Philip : “International Migration and
Terrorism: Prevention, Prosecution and Protection”, Georgetown
Immigration Law Journal, Vol. 18, pp. 329-344. 2004
Spencer, Alexander. “Questioning the Concept of „New
Terrorism‟”, Peace, Conflict and Development: An Interdisciplinary
Journal , Vol. 8, 2006
Spencer, Alexander. “Questioning the Concept of „New
Terrorism‟”, Peace, Conflict and Development: An Interdisciplinary
Journal , Vol. 8, 2006
Pickering, Sharon. “Border Terror: Policing, Forced Migration and
Terrorism”, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2004.
Tudge, Colin. “When men have lost their reason: is the war on
terrorism working?”, New Statesman, April 12, 2004.
Walker, Clive. Policy Options and Priorities: British Perspectives. In
Van Leeuwen, Marianne (ed.) Confronting Terrorism: European Experiences,
Threat Perceptions and Policies,The Hague: Kluwer International, 2003
Martin, Susan and Martin, Philip : “International Migration and
Terrorism: Prevention, Prosecution and Protection”, Georgetown
Immigration Law Journal, Vol. 18, pp. 329-344. 2004
Pickering, Sharon. “Border Terror: Policing, Forced Migration and
Terrorism”, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2004.
Tirman, John. “Introduction: The Movement of People and the Security
of States” in John Tirman (eds.) The Maze of Fear – Security and
Migration after 9/11, New York: The New Press, 2004
Martin, Susan and Martin, Philip : “International Migration and
Terrorism: Prevention, Prosecution and Protection”, Georgetown
Immigration Law Journal, Vol. 18, pp. 329-344. 2004
Sidebothom, Theresa. “Immigration Policies and the War on
Terrorism”, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 32,
No. 3, 2004
Tirman, John. “Introduction: The Movement of People and the Security
of States” in John Tirman (eds.) The Maze of Fear – Security and
Migration after 9/11, New York: The New Press, 2004
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Marianne (ed.) Confronting Terrorism: European Experiences, Threat
Perceptions and Policies,The Hague: Kluwer International, 2003
Sidebothom, Theresa. “Immigration Policies and the War on
Terrorism”, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 32,
No. 3, 2004
Romero, Victor C. “Decoupling “Terrorist” from “Immigrant”: An
Enhanced Role for the Federal Courts Post 9/11”, Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, Vol. 7, 2003
Romero, Victor C. “Decoupling “Terrorist” from “Immigrant”: An
Enhanced Role for the Federal Courts Post 9/11”, Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, Vol. 7, 2003
PAGE * MERGEFORMAT 2
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