Exclusive: Should U.S. Citizens Convicted of Terrorism Have their Citizenship Revoked?
by MICHAEL CUTLER
May 11, 2010
There’s been recent talk about the idea of stripping U.S. citizens of their citizenship if convicted of terrorism.
What’s causing all of the ruckus is that Faisal Shahzad, the "Times Square Bomber," was a naturalized United States citizen.
It’s an interesting idea. I have no problem with this concept but I would add one more item for consideration: how about making certain that we also don't provide United States citizenship to aliens involved in terrorism in the first place? How would we accomplish that?
The way that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made the rapid processing of massive numbers of applications for various immigration benefits, including the conferring of lawful immigrant (resident alien status) and United States citizenship upon aliens, quality control has gone out the window. The way that the hapless adjudicators at USCIS are prodded, cajoled and otherwise induced to move the bureaucratic conveyor belt as quickly as possible is reminiscent of the way that Lucy and Ethel in a classic episode of I Love Lucy were expected to wrap morsels of candy delivered to them on a conveyor belt. At first the conveyor belt moves at a reasonable pace, but then the belt begins to pick up speed and the fun begins as the two women try to keep up but are quickly unable to deal with the onslaught of candy. They try to eat some of and stuff more down their clothes while the belt continues to go ever faster, ultimately causing the candy to hurtle at them at warp speed.
As the belt picks of speed, Lucy is heard to tell her friend Ethel, "I think we are fighting a losing game!"
The segment is extremely funny, but now imagine that Lucy and Ethel are adjudicators at USCIS and instead of being inundated with candy, they are inundated with applications for various immigration benefits including citizenship. Consider how United States citizenship given to a terrorist has severe national security implications. The adjudications officers at USCIS are also "fighting a losing game!" If they lose – we all lose.
Today, USCIS processes more than six million applications for various immigration benefits. Imagine USCIS suddenly being inundated with 40 million applications for amnesty filed by illegal aliens. Remember that as the advocates for open borders and massive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens refer to these illegal aliens as being "undocumented." Here is how the Online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term "undocumented:"
: not documented: as a : not supported by documentary evidence <undocumented expenditures> b : lacking documents required for legal immigration or residence <undocumented workers>
Just as Lucy and Ethel did not have enough time to wrap the candy, the adjudicators would not have time to attempt to verify the true identities of the aliens whose applications they would have to process.
You may be wondering how I came up with the number 40 million: When the Amnesty of 1986 was sold to the Congress and the American people, we were told by Sen. Kennedy and others that somewhere between 1 million and 1.5 million aliens would be enticed into stepping "out of the shadows." Of course, we were also told that this would be a "one shot" operation, never to be repeated again. When the bureaucratic dust settled, it was estimated that between 3.5 million and 4 million aliens stepped out of the shadows.
There are two factors that probably contributed to this – first, there may well have been a drastic miscalculation as to the true number of illegal aliens, intention or unintentional. There is, of course no way to know. The second factor is that just as it was impossible to determine the true identities of these millions of illegal aliens – indeed, because there was no readily available way of knowing their true identities – there was no way of knowing how long any of these aliens had actually been present in the United States. If an alien who applied for amnesty under the 1986 program had used multiple identities, how would you even begin to determine when, where or how they entered the United States?
Today we are told that there are between 12 million and 20 million illegal aliens present in the United States living in "the shadows." (It sure must be getting crowded in those shadows!) What if history repeats itself? Do the math.
There is virtually no integrity to the process by which applications for citizenship are processed by USCIS now. How about dedicating more resources to USCIS now and stop the nonsense of insisting on placing God knows how many illegal aliens on a "Pathway to United States Citizenship" to aliens who never should have entered our country in the first place?
Remember that immigration benefit fraud was determined by the 9/11 Commission to be a tactic employed by terrorists to enter our country and then embed themselves in our country.
Smoke and mirrors may be useful to magicians who are trying to deceive their audience in order to entertain them, but he time has come to understand that smoke and mirrors may keep the magician's audience from seeing what is going on but it does not keep Americans from understanding how they are being betrayed by those who purport to serve them.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Michael Cutler is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a recognized authority who addresses the implications of immigration on national security and criminal justice.