Smith: Terror Plot is Failure of Immigration System

The terror plot in Texas underscores that the lax enforcement of our immigration laws is a gaping hole in our security system. According to the affidavit, Aldawsari has been planning to commit a terror attack against the U.S. for years. That is precisely why he applied for a student visa, in order to gain entry to the U.S. and carry out his plot.

We shouldn’t be surprised that terrorists continue to enter the U.S. on visas when our immigration laws are so loosely enforced. The 9-11 hijackers entered the U.S. after obtaining visas. And the Christmas Day bomber was able to board a plane en route to Detroit because he too had a visa.

History is only repeating itself because we are letting it. We must do more to screen visa applicants to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S. in the first place.

According to the affidavit, Aldawsari wrote in his journal that to avoid detection, he would need multiple drivers’ licenses and a forged U.S. birth certificate. The 9-11 hijackers fraudulently obtained more than 30 drivers’ licenses and identification documents. These allowed them to ultimately board commercial planes on September 11. That’s why Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which established national guidelines for the issuance identification documents to prevent terrorists from obtaining drivers’ licenses. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration continues to delay the full implementation of this law.

In addition to stronger enforcement of immigration laws, we need the PATRIOT Act to prevent attacks from both terrorist organizations and rogue terrorists acting alone. Provisions of the PATRIOT Act are scheduled to expire in May. We cannot afford to leave our intelligence community without the resources they need to keep Americans safe.

This was a victory for our law enforcement community, but a failure of our immigration system. We have not learned the lessons of 9-11. Until we crack down on our immigration laws that allow terrorists to enter the U.S., history will continue to repeat itself.


how are you ever going to get meaningful anti-illegal immigration bills, let alone legal immigration bills, thru the U.S.chamber of commerce types in congress?  you know the types, the ones who can never delineate just how many millions more of unskilled laborers we need to import every year...the ones who take what is called a 'narrow' view of security vs. commerce ( in other words, we are ok with whatever makes us money, security measures must not slow down 'the free flow of labor' ) - regardless of the social impact, and/or the cost to the middle class.  i wish you luck mr smith, you will need it.

We also need to fix our immigration system to ensure families of mixed status do not get broken apart and American children (yes they are Americans) do not lose a parent in the process, that aint right. Its also ain't right that immigration law is setup in a way that an American has to leave their own country to be with their loved one. Illegal immigration is wrong but we Americans have compassion.  I can understand if we deport unmarried illegal aliens with no ties here but the ones that have settled, made a family, and have contributed to American society, lets give them a chance.

Thank you, Congressman Smith, for speaking out on these issues, as well as for your obviously playing a key role in the House voting to block all funding for transfer (and U.S. detention facilities) to the U.S. of Gitmo detainees.
Well documented in the 9/11 Commission's Staff Monograph is how the 9/11 hijackers used those drivers licenses and state-issued identification cards to "scout" airline screening and airplane security, as photo ID to board many flights, to attend pilot training, to set up bank accounts, and received funding via wire transfers from overseas. In addition, they were issued 33 visas (only one of the 19 was out of status on September 11, 2001) as the then INS system was a mess. And we still do not have a visa exit system to determine if and when those with visas depart the U.S.
Please make a sustained effort to better inform the American people and Members of Congress on the Patriot Act. It is solely aimed at foreign enemies and agents of foreign powers. The investigative tools with the provisions that nearly expired were all subject to judicial approval prior to a federal agency using them, and all (including roving wiretaps) were already available under other statutes to law enforcement to investigate organized crime. The civil liberties of Americans have never been threatened by the Patriot Act. Unfortunately, both liberals and libertarians are either pandering or uninformed on this issue.

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