home Border Security, Israel U.S. Can Learn A Lot From Israel About Secure Borders

U.S. Can Learn A Lot From Israel About Secure Borders

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary electoral defeat in the Commonwealth of Virginia is being attributed to many things. Political scientists and other analysts will plumb the many political nuances of this campaign for weeks, months, and possibly years. Indeed, the college professor who beat the Majority Leader, first time a Majority Leader has been unseated in this way, will be must-read material in universities for some time to come.

One of the reasons proffered for Cantor’s demise is his perceived support of “amnesty” or “comprehensive immigration reform.” I’ve known Rep. Cantor in a professional capacity for many years and I have never heard him advance that policy position. Whether this was a campaign issue, I’ll leave for the political pundits; however, these statements give folks like me who have dedicated their lives to the study of foreign affairs, an opportunity to talk about immigration as a national security issue.

I’ve been to Israel and folks there have a keen understanding of the importance that immigration is, first and foremost, a national security issue. It has always struck me how Members of Congress from both political parties have no problem conceptualizing and accepting the vetting mechanisms used by other nations to ascertain who enters, departs, or lives in a country. Yet, when it comes to the U.S. Congress and this Executive Branch, it is a completely different attitude.

For example, some of the strongest Congressional opponents of a U.S.-Mexico barrier, from 2004 to 2006 supported border protection proposals in foreign lands that included resolutions supporting “the construction by Israel of a security fence.” Members of Congress understood that countries such as Israel needed that barrier for protection not because it wants to erect a wall, but because the “security barrier is designed to make it difficult for unauthorized persons to cross the barrier without providing the Israeli authorities sufficient information and time to deal with the persons making the crossing.”

The Israel barrier is part of a comprehensive system of checks operating at various entry points throughout the country. Israel gets it right.

Members of Congress have expressed a great deal of support not just for the Israeli barrier, but for other Israeli border security measures including profiling, identification card requirements, facial recognition programs, drones, and much more. Why is it then, for example, too much to require the necessary documentation from those seeking access to or entry into the U.S. in order for U.S. officials to do their due diligence?

Some proponents of amnesty or “comprehensive immigration reform” contend that the Israeli and U.S. contexts are far too different for comparison. Are they really?
In April of this year, U.S. federal law enforcement officials discovered two very large tunnels leading into the San Diego area. Just a few weeks earlier, Israeli authorities found a tunnel spanning “several hundred meters into Israel” and described by Israeli army officials as “among the largest and most sophisticated ever found.”

The drug cartels operating in Mexico, Central and South America may not be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. However, these violent narco-trafficking networks constitute a serious threat to U.S. security and, in some instances, are facilitating terrorist financing activities in and through the Western Hemisphere.

Just two years ago, former DEA Chief of Operations Michael Braun, testified before Congress that terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah “understand that the Mexican drug trafficking cartels now dominate drug trafficking in our country – reportedly in more than 250 cities” and “these groups most assuredly recognize the strategic value of exploiting that activity, and all that has been built to support it, for moving their vision forward in this part of the world.”

Other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have confirmed that Hezbollah operatives and loyalists are using the drug trafficking routes to smuggle “contraband and people” into the U.S. illegally. News reports also cite several cases of convicted Hezbollah supporters having entered the U.S. illegally.

Granted, a large percentage of undocumented aliens entering the U.S. through the southwest border and who are the focus of “amnesty” proposals, are coming to this country to flee the poverty, corruption, and, in some cases, violence, in their countries. They are hard-working, caring individuals and it is regrettable that they are being used as political pawns by certain U.S. policymakers and groups, as well as by particular Latin American governments. Sadly, they are even using the troubling humanitarian situation of unaccompanied children illegally in the U.S. to manipulate the broader debate over “comprehensive immigration reform.”

My mother came to this country alone. My grandparents did not want her to grow up under the tyrannical regime that had taken over their ancestral homeland. Family members, neighbors, friends had been killed or arrested so they entrusted my mom to the care of the Catholic Church in the United States. Before my mother, an unaccompanied minor, was granted entry into the U.S., all appropriate certification and processing was undertaken.

The U.S. immigration system is one of the most generous and welcoming systems in the world. There are options for well-deserving victims of human trafficking, torture, political persecution, and many other categories of people seeking a better life in freedom. If conditions in home countries are such that they compel an individual to seek refuge in the U.S., there are multiple processes in the U.S. immigration system that they can avail themselves of to achieve the same ends legally and, in so doing, assist U.S. law enforcement in discerning the good from the significant number of criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors trying to do the U.S. harm.

President George W. Bush underscored in October 2003:

“Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland.”

Nor should we.

Congress overwhelmingly agreed and continues to rightly affirm its commitment to the safety and security of our critical ally, Israel.

Why then, do amnesty proponents, including Members of Congress, not support enforcement of current laws, documentation, monitoring, fortification of the borders as part of a multi-prong strategy to safeguard against those who threaten U.S. security and the well-being of the American people?

%d bloggers like this: