Terrorist Sleepers?

By the Center for Immigration Studies, Special for US Daily Review.

The possibility of an attack on Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program, and the Iranian retaliation such an attack might prompt, again highlight the potential national security consequences of a sustained period of mass immigration.

A new Center for Immigration Studies report examines recent admissions of immigrants and temporary visitors from selected countries from the broader Middle East whose citizens could be involved in Iranian attacks on domestic targets in the United States, including Iran, its neighbors, and other countries with Shia populations. It finds a disconnect between current immigration policies and national security needs. While a number of important security-oriented improvements have been made to our screening systems, the sheer volume of the annual inflow of visitors and permanent residents has created a “haystack” so large as to overwhelm even the most sophisticated pre- or post-admissions screening or targeted enforcement programs.

The report is online at http://www.cis.org/immigration-policies-put-us-at-risk-in-post-9-11-world. Key findings include:

  • In just a single year, 2010, the U.S. admitted more than 300,000 visitors and immigrants from 16 selected countries. These individuals were admitted as non-immigrant visitors, refugees, asylees, or permanent residents.
  • Nearly 58,000 of these were admitted as permanent residents. The vast majority of permanent admissions from high-risk countries were on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen or as a refugee or asylee. Both of these categories are notorious for high fraud rates.
  • Over the last decade, well over 2.5 million people were admitted from these high-risk countries, with the largest numbers coming from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Iran. These numbers have been trending up over the last decade.
  • These numbers suggest a shift away from the mindset that a more restrictive admissions policy and consistently robust immigration law enforcement is a necessary component of national security.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institute that examines the impact of immigration on the United States.

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