It’s peculiar enough that in the years following 9/11, we’ve brought in a record number of legal immigrants from countries with a strong presence of terrorist organizations. It’s downright puzzling that there are 51,000 illegal aliens from countries flagged as terror hot spots who still remain in our country, even after receiving final deportation orders.
Last week, I reported that there are over one million illegal aliens who remain in this country despite having received final deportation orders after endless extra-constitutional “due process.” Another 1.5 million have pending final deportation orders and are on their final appeals. The lion’s share of them are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Clearly, ICE lacks the resources, or in some cases the broader department lacks the political will, to deport these people. For example, evidently, if an illegal alien becomes a flight attendant, she then has a “political” right to evade our sovereignty laws.
Be it as it may, the first concern of our immigration agents should be those illegal aliens who remain in the country who hail from global terror hot spots. According to the official DHS definition, Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) are individuals from 35 countries that “have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations,” aka countries from the Middle East or those in Africa and Asia with a presence of terrorist networks. While the list of countries has evolved over time and continues to vary from agency to agency, according to a 2011 DHS inspector general’s report, ICE lists the following countries as Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that are said to “promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members”:
Pairing those countries against the data I’ve obtained from the Immigration Reform Law Institute for my column last week concerning aliens with final and “pending final” deportation orders, here is the tally of “SIAs” who remain in the country even at this stage.
Notes: I added South Sudan, which is now considered a separate country. I also added Sri Lanka because Border Patrol has listed this country as SIA-designated in the past, and we’ve had a significant number of Sri Lankans come to our border in recent years.
It is mind-boggling to think that 51,000 illegal aliens from these countries could still remain here despite final deportation orders. Another 60,000 are still working their final appeal. Remember, we have had enough security issues with some legal immigrants from these countries who are better vetted. Can you imagine how little we know about these illegal aliens who remain in our country?
I asked ICE if there is a policy in place to “prioritize the deportation of those, say from Somalia and Iran, more than from countries without a presence of terrorist organizations.” Brendan Raedy, a spokesman for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office, replied, “I wouldn’t say any particular country or set of countries is prioritized for removals, but rather that ICE prioritizes its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Clearly, Border Patrol has a special modus operandi for dealing with those from these countries who are apprehended at the border. This might help us gather such intel for a threat assessment on the front end, but many illegal aliens from these countries also overstay their visas, which means that ICE, through deportation proceedings, will be the first agency to deal with them as illegal immigrants. It’s perplexing that there is no procedure in place to focus specifically on those from specially designated countries.
Jessica Vaughan, who has tracked interior enforcement issues for the Center for Immigration Studies for decades, expressed frustration about these numbers in light of how hard it is to even land a final deportation order these days. “The constant onslaught against immigration enforcement that is occurring in the courts, in sanctuary city council chambers, in state legislatures, and even in Congress is having an effect on ICE’s ability to do its job,” said Vaughan. “The dysfunctional state of our immigration courts makes matters worse. Even criminal aliens can milk our due process to stave off deportation for many years, through endless appeals, asylum applications, skipping out on proceedings, pop-up marriages, grievances against immigration officers, and more, and this can become a public safety threat. Equally concerning is the number of non-departed aliens from countries associated with terrorism. There is no way that ICE or other counterterrorism law enforcement agencies can stay on top of potential threats that might be lurking in this huge haystack of 50,000 cases.”
Astoundingly, all of these 2.5 million illegals with final or pending final deportation orders are still counted in the Census and distort our representation!
Vaughan believes the administration can do more to clear the backlog in the system. “The Trump administration needs to take steps to streamline the deportation process and not allow all these cases to languish. They have made great progress on getting uncooperative countries to take back their citizens, but there is more that can be done. Additional resources should be dedicated to working the docket of people who have absconded, especially the 300,000 criminals who are among the non-deported. In addition, ICE needs to try to keep more deportation cases out of court by using expedited removal and other accelerated forms of due process.”
Unfortunately, now some of the original progress in deportations is faltering because ICE resources are being drained to deal with the new gushing flow at the border on a daily basis. Interior arrests by ICE dropped 12 percent for the first three months of this fiscal year compared to the same time period in FY 2018. This is yet another reason why stopping this flow must be the number-one job of the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Senate.
It’s truly amazing to watch how we refuse to expend our resources to maintain basic sovereignty over our territory and protect ourselves from security concerns of foreign nationals, including those from terror-prone countries. In the context of the news of the day, when we now know that the Mueller investigation drained off 40 FBI agents, issued over 2,800 subpoenas and roughly 500 search warrants, and interviewed about 500 witnesses just for a political investigation, one is left with the disquieting thought that the political leadership in the federal law enforcement agencies are not exactly prioritizing the biggest safety concerns to America when parceling out their resources.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.