How do we fight terrorism at home?
Unlike America's past wars, the war on terrorism transcends traditional political boundaries. It is impossible to say that since we are fighting in the Middle East, we are safe at home. We have to reorient our perspectives on longstanding ideas of offense and defense, as we must practice both on a domestic and a global scale. At home, it is essential to secure buildings, borders, and other assets that are likely terrorist targets. At the same time, we must be proactive, seeking out those who would cause us harm and preventing them before they can be successful. This is a complex challenge that demands a complex response. The government alone cannot fulfill the dual demands of homeland security. The American people must assume some responsibility for their own safety and contribute their individual and collective strengths to the government's effort. Working together, we stand a much better chance of keeping our families and communities safe.
Federal, state, and local level action plans . . .
The United States has always been a nation of immigrants. The entrepreneurial courage of someone who would leave the country and culture they had always known to take their chances in a new world has greatly shaped the American experience. Our population has grown immensely since our founding, but we still welcome newcomers to our shores. Our commitment to an equal opportunity and equal treatment for all, with no consideration for ethnic background and place of birth, remains strong.
Of course, there are other people, those who would do us harm, who are not so welcome in the United States. Technological developments exercised alongside our own precious freedoms provide a lone actor with malevolent intent the tools required to cause immense devastation to the American homeland. Our law enforcement capabilities are poised to detect and prevent such an act before it could occur, but our resources are necessarily limited. It is much easier and safer to stop such individuals before they even enter our country. Preventing individuals with threatening backgrounds or a blatant disregard for our laws from entering the United States is an important step in preventing further attacks. Equally important is having an accurate record of who is here, for what reasons, and for how long, to assist in law enforcement investigations. This is not a question of keeping out those who are different or reserving the wealth of the United States only for those who are native citizens. A balance must be struck that respects the role of immigrants in our national culture and gives an opportunity at the American dream to as many people as possible, while preventing the entry or continued residence of those who would do us harm or disrupt our system of government.
APRIL 9, 2015
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