"Naturalized Citizen Terrorist" = "Systemic Immigration Failure"

By Dan Cadman on December 10, 2014

Adnan al Shukrijumah, a Saudi-born al Qaeda leader, was killed recently by Pakistan's military in a raid conducted in South Waziristan, one of the notoriously restive areas in the mountainous northwest of the country. Shukrijumah was known for his involvement in hatching plots against the West, including one to blow up the New York City subways. At the time of his death, there was a $5 million bounty on his head.

The FBI's wanted poster describes him as a Guyanese citizen — a curious assertion when one digs into the circumstances under which he obtained that passport. More than a few troubling questions have arisen about the Bureau's handling of information tying Shukrijumah to the 9/11 attackers and a wealthy Saudi businessman whose Sarasota, Fla., home they and Shukrijumah visited; that businessman has ties to the Saudi royal family.

Most of the news articles I've read about Shukrijumah speak to his having spent several years in the United States (see, for instance, this CNN article). But what many of them have downplayed is that Shukrijumah was a naturalized U.S. citizen. From an immigration perspective, this should ring a loud, clear warning bell about the inadequacy of our system — both in granting and in taking away inappropriately given benefits. Surprisingly, for once, the New York Times got that one right — clearly, the journalist handling this article isn't the same one who handles the usual immigration beat for the Times. (Of course, the flip side of this surprising candor is that perhaps it's because the newspaper doesn't seem to make the connection between "naturalized citizen terrorist" and "systemic immigration failure".)

I have beaten this dead horse repeatedly, but will continue to do so as long as needed: When will the Department of Homeland Security begin to take its responsibility to protect the homeland seriously? When will it undertake the needed reforms to its vetting and benefits-granting (and revocation) and institute a regimen of examination of cases like this to stop people like Shukrijumah from using our immigration and nationality system against us? It is outrageous in the extreme that the only advantage this administration seems to see from that system of laws is to trash them, except where they can be used to create a "culture of yes" for aliens seeking immigration benefits.