Adventures in Myth-Busting

By Mark Krikorian on January 6, 2010

The Washington Post's Outlook section has a regular "5 Myths about . . . " feature, this week about "keeping America safe from terrorism." The author was Stephen Flynn, who has long been scathing in his opposition to any use of immigration-control measures to protect the nation against terrorists. Predictably, myth number three was "Getting better control over America's borders is essential to making us safer," which was itself full of myths.

It starts: "Our borders will never serve as a meaningful line of defense against terrorism. The inspectors at our ports, border crossings and airports have important roles when it comes to managing immigration and the flow of commerce, but they play only a bit part in stopping would-be attackers." Really? Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, of the Brooklyn subway plot, was caught three times trying to sneak in from Canada; the third time Canada wouldn't take him back, we didn't have enough detention space, so we let him into the country. Abdelghani Meskini and Abdel Hakim Tizegha, both part of the Millennium Plot to blow up LAX, had been stowaways on ships from Algeria at different times. After having been denied asylum, Tizegha moved to Canada, but later returned to the U.S. by sneaking across the Washington state border. (For more, see "The Open Door: How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered and Remained.")

Flynn again: "Moreover, terrorists' travel documents are often in perfect order." Well, sometimes they are. But what about Ahmad Ajaj, who tried to enter using a false Swedish passport and was detained at JFK airport? Or Ahmed Ressam, who was caught at the Canadian border trying to enter using a false Canadian passport?

Flynn: "Complaints about porous borders may play well politically, but they distract us from the more challenging task of forging international cooperation to strengthen safeguards for our global transportation, travel and financial systems." Why should they distract us? I'm for strengthening transportation, travel, and financial systems too. The distracting is being done by members of a globalist elite who value open borders more than the nation's safety.

Finally: "They also sidestep the disturbing fact that the number of terrorism-related cases involving U.S. residents reached a new high in 2009." This isn't an enforcement problem, true — it's a result of too much immigration, both legal and illegal.

In short, what your common sense tells you is correct: Immigration control — both abroad at our consulates, at the borders, and inside the country — is one important part of any homeland-security strategy. To deny that is perhaps the most destructive myth of all.