Naturalization Hall of Shame Keeps Growing

By Dan Cadman on February 4, 2015

Once again the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — the folks who are supposed to keep us safe — have shown that they can't distinguish wheat from chaff. A few days ago, the FBI announced that its newest most-wanted suspect is one Liban Haji Mohamed, a Somali-born naturalized citizen who was brought to the United States as a refugee.

When Mohamed took the required oath of allegiance at the time he was granted citizenship, he used these words:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

Liban Haji Mohamed

As is obvious, he wasn't terribly serious about that oath, but then apparently neither is our government, given its dismal record in granting citizenship to a variety of terrorists, war criminals, and the like; almost never terminating citizenship when that step would seem like a given to most reasonable people; and taking so long to go about it that it becomes clear that the step is only taken when the force of public opinion becomes too great to ignore.

One might understand if DHS and its subordinate agencies, in this case U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — which shares responsibilities for refugee matters with State and HHS, as well as handling naturalization and a host of other immigration benefits — occasionally got it wrong. But the granting of citizenship to people who manifestly do not deserve it keeps happening again and again and again, which prompts the question: Why are such people admitted to begin with?

I know of no law or international obligation that requires the United States to take in individuals who put our society and its people at risk. The problem would seem to be one of philosophy and policy as much as law or regulation. The adjudicators at USCIS, or perhaps their leaders in this administration, who have endlessly pushed for a culture of "yes", don't understand that in a balancing test between granting shelter and protecting American society in a post-9/11 world, whenever there is any doubt whatever it is society that must win.

Wasn't that supposed to be the lesson from 9/11? Wasn't that also supposed to be the lesson from the Boston marathon bombing? When will the people in charge of our security and safety begin to absorb these lessons, which continue to be paid for with the blood of innocent victims?