Former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, in response to the recent reports of terrorist acts in the UK, made an interesting statement connecting illegal immigration with terrorist activity, which I thought was rather dubious in nature:
“This is the United Kingdom”, he said. “They have security that is at least equal to ours; they have intelligence services that have even had more experience with terrorism than ours has, you know, they have to be subjected to this. We’re in an era in which we need to know everyone who’s in the United States.”
“We need to end illegal immigration,” he said. “If we do, a lot of things can happen, in terms of how you resolve everything here. But if you don’t end illegal immigration, almost nothing is possible, because no matter what you do, things are going to get worse.” – [Yahoo/AP]
Now given Mr. Giulianis great track record as mayor of NY, I found this a little disappointing. It almost seemed to me like he was attempting to use the terrorist acts in the UK as an opportunity to bolster his political position on illegal immigration ( and perhaps his candidacy for president). Now don’t get me wrong. I believe there needs to be a reform on illegal immigration, however the exact details on how to approach the problem are not as clear cut as everyone wants to believe. But I’m not sure that things like a “Universal ID” or a “tracking database” will actually do much more than give “big brother” more tools to in which to spy on citizens with.
I don’t believe there has ever been any link between illegal immigration and terrorism. All of the terrorists involved in 9/11 for instance, where here legally, on either student or tourist visas. In fact, any terrorist organization worth their salt would go to great lengths to stay under the radar and beyond reproach, including being here legally, having a normal job, normal life, even avoid speeding tickets, i.e. be a model citizen, until they are ready to strike. That’s just common sense. So to say that without ending illegal immigration, “nothing is possible” is pure conjecture, and simply a manipulation of peoples fears in order to achieve his goals.
Sadly, statements like these illustrate a common, subconscious misconception possessed by many Americans. That we have control over everything, and that with enough resources thrown at something, we can prevent anything. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Even if we could monitor every hushed bar room conversation, every phone call, every email, every IM, and know where every single individual was in the country at any given time, we still would not be able to guarantee that a terrorist act would not occur. None of us are omnipresent or omnipotent beings. I love this country. We are a great people, and I think that in many, many, ways, we are the greatest country in the world. But we are just people. No matter how hard we try, there are some things we will not be able to prevent or avoid.
Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t do everything in our power to prevent terrorist attacks from occurring. But I do believe that there is a point of diminishing returns on our efforts. A point where our actions will cross the line from over-protection to oppression. I do not wish to be a member of a bar coded society of sheep. I don’t want everything I say and do to be monitored 24/7/365, and have to worry that some little insignificant action or word will brand me a threat to national security. I’ve heard people say that things like this are necessary in the war on terror, and that we are fighting for our freedom, and that we have to make sacrifices in order to maintain our way of life. But if, in the process of protecting them, we give up our personal freedoms and our way of life, then what are we fighting for? The terrorists will have already won.
Giuliani links terror, border security – [Yahoo/AP]