Another Terrorist Attempt, Another Illegal Overstay

By Janice Kephart on February 18, 2012

While the Obama administration continues to advance "homegrown terrorism" as the biggest threat to homeland security, another reminder came Friday that we must be vigilant about who it is we let in our country, and whom we let stay. Amine el-Khalifi, a 29-year-old Moroccan man, was arrested yesterday for attempting a suicide bombing in Washington D.C. He was two blocks away from the U.S. Capitol he intended to attack when arrested in an FBI sting operation. The Capitol was the one building the 9/11 terrorists had targeted but failed to destroy, and, along with the White House, is the most important political symbol in the United States and thus prime terrorist target.

The man was exiting a parking garage near the Department of Labor with what he thought was a suicide bomb vest and an automatic weapon (both provided by the FBI and rendered inoperable). Who was he? According to the Post:

Khalifi arrived in the United States when he was 16 and was living as an illegal immigrant in Northern Virginia, having overstayed his visitor's visa for years, officials said.

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Yet according to her testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is still primarily concerned that terrorist attacks evolve from those legally in the United States, "citizens and residents". This man was a 13-year overstay, a prime example of a failure of our immigration system that dates to before 9/11, and is exacerbated the current Obama policy of administrative amnesty. Khalifi, if it were not for his desire to carry out a terrorist plot, is just the type of illegal overstay that the Obama administration wants to keep around. However, because he showed his terrorist side, the administration is touting how tough they are on illegal immigration by making clear to the public his illegal status. Yet the only difference between Khalifi and the rest of the illegal alien population is that he was (finally) caught; the rest of the illegal population, as long as they are not caught, are free to stay. This is exactly the policy I've addressed in a long series on administrative amnesty that began in October 2011 with the memo "Amnesty by Any Means: Memos Trace Evolution of Obama Administration Policy".

In December 2011, I released another memo primarily on the secretive world of watchlisting. My analysis concluded that even in the way watchlisting is discussed by this administration, the amnesty strategy plays a role. In "Connecting the Dots: Administrative Amnesty and Thousands of Watchlisted Terrorists Living in the United States", I showed that "more than 98 percent of those individuals on the federal government's sole Terrorist Watchlist are associated with international terrorism (foreign nationals or Americans attacking Americans based on international extremist ideologies)." Moreover, my FBI sources put the number of current terrorists residing in the U.S. conservatively at 20,000 to 30,000 of the approximate 550,000 individuals listed on the FBI's official terror watchlist. 10,000 to 20,000 of those in the United States are foreign-born. Many more details are highlighted in the watchlist report mentioned above, including a listing out of the major terrorist attempts from 2009 to now by immigration status. This attempt will bring the numbers to five cases involved native-born U.S. citizens, while seven involved foreign nationals, five of whom had received multiple U.S. immigration benefits and two of whom were illegal overstays.

The point is, 98 percent of those the United States is concerned about with regard to a terrorist attack against American interests are not "Americans or residents" as the Obama administration would like us to believe. The facts show that attempted attacks occurring on U.S. soil in the past few years involve more foreign-born individuals than native-born Americans. These foreign-born have either taken advantage of a weak legal immigration system, or have simply stayed here illegally, the same way the rest of the illegal alien population stays here – through a strategic policy of this administration not to enforce immigration law.