Friday, December 03, 2004

Washington Times: ICE is a disaster

By Jerry Seper and Guy Taylor
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
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U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement's ability to gather and share intelligence data, conduct the investigations needed to guard the nation's borders against terrorists and enforce immigration law is being challenged by a growing number of ICE supervisors and agents.
Both supervisory and rank-and-file personnel, in numerous interviews, said the Department of Homeland Security agency is overwhelmed by low morale, mismanagement and the lack of a clearly defined mission, and said the lack of effective leadership threatens its ability to defend the United States against a new terrorist attack.
At least two congressional committees are reviewing the accusations and have met with ICE supervisors and agents to discuss the matter.
"Serious accusations have been made and there is a concerted effort under way to determine their validity and, more importantly, find out how they impact the country's ability to fight the war on terrorism," said one congressional investigator. "The complaints are specific and widespread. We take them seriously."
ICE supervisors and agents say they are worried about, among other things, management decisions that have muddled long-standing chains of command; the assignment of patrol agents and inspectors to one agency and investigators to another; and the misuse of computer systems that had been effective for everything from inspections, investigations and data collection to in-house networking and personnel matters.
They questioned whether ICE has sought to maintain the legacy of its predecessor, the U.S. Customs Service, which developed an expertise in smuggling and money-laundering investigations, and said they doubted the new agency is committed to enforcing immigration law, particularly in the nation's interior, where 10 million illegals live.
Less than two years after ICE was created, discontent among supervisors and rank-and-file agents has spread from quiet chatter in locker rooms and patrol vehicles to open rebellion in its field and regional offices.
Letters and e-mails sent by ICE personnel to members of Congress show that many think significant leadership shortfalls have translated into low morale.
One e-mail delivered to congressional investigators said field agents "desperately require a set of goals that relate to terrorist investigations and protecting our borders," but because the ICE leadership has failed to accomplish that goal in the 20 months since the agency was created, they have "no respect or confidence in their ability to do so."
Much of the criticism targets Asa Hutchinson, Homeland Security undersecretary for border and transportation security, who oversees ICE, and ICE Assistant Secretary Michael J. Garcia, who heads the agency.
The supervisors and agents said the two had done little to help the complicated reorganization of several law-enforcement agencies into a single body, while others said they let the agency's investigative functions erode, even though ICE is billed as the investigative arm of Homeland Security.
Mr. Hutchinson has said ICE has made "great strides," despite problems associated with the complex merger of agencies. Mr. Garcia described the transition as "unprecedented," saying that regardless of a lack of adequate funding for manpower, resources and equipment, he was confident ICE was moving forward.
"It has taken time to find out ICE's role in preventing a new act of terrorism, where we fit in the overall picture, how we learn and adapt, what tools we need to get the job done, and how to use them more aggressively," Mr. Garcia said. "But look at the service they have performed despite those uncertainties. We have come a very long way in a very short time."
But an ICE supervisor who heads a major field office said agents assigned to combat terrorism think the dismantling of Customs has led to a serious breach of national security, one that top department officials have yet to address. He said at a time that Customs and the FBI were seeking to allow a freer flow of intelligence data, Homeland Security "is erecting walls and roadblocks between itself."
Matthew L. Issman, national legislative vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), which represents 25,000 federal agents in 57 agencies, including those at ICE, said that major "systemic issues and concerns" raised by agents and forwarded to members of Congress show the agency is suffering from a serious morale problem.
Mr. Issman said hundreds of agents transferred from Customs to ICE were "deeply troubled" by the merger and by what they overwhelmingly described as a system that has failed to provide adequate leadership.
In a letter to Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, Mr. Issman said ICE's creation had "separated and distanced investigators from the field entities that are on the front lines every day."
"This is akin to removing the detectives from the police department in your hometown, and creating another distant layer of bureaucracy that separates their chain of command, identity and esprit de corp, and then expects them to interact efficiently as if the new wall was not there," he said.
In a separate letter, Allen Martin, another FLEOA official, told Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that "morale in the field is at an all-time low and there is a real lack of identity, mission focus and direction."
Mr. Martin said the ICE leadership had transformed an agency from "a paperless trendsetter in the computer age, back to the Stone Age," adding that he has "received an increasing amount of letters from field agents claiming the merger is not working at their level."
He also said the agents are "too scared" to publicly challenge the management, so they write to FLEOA, saying the merger had significantly damaged the ability of former Customs investigators to conduct probes.
In one letter, an ICE supervisor said the agency is "so unwieldy that it's now an object of laughter -- even among some of our most important clients, such as the U.S. attorneys."
Another letter called ICE "ill-conceived, a Pavlovian response to a problem that Customs never created."
Mr. Issman also noted that fiscal mismanagement at ICE had resulted in the cancellation of basic- and advanced-training classes and a hiring freeze, adding that although agents "could not buy AA pager batteries in the last few weeks of fiscal 2004 or travel on government business, ICE Detention and Removal officials got a blocking code removed from their government purchase cards so they could continue to rent DVDs for detained immigrants."
ICE was created March 1, 2003, with the merger of U.S. Customs, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Federal Protective Service. With a work force of nearly 15,000, it is one of the largest law-enforcement agencies in the federal government.
Its mission ranges from terrorist financing, money laundering and illegal arms dealing to immigration fraud, illegal aliens and migrant smuggling. It also is responsible for the apprehension and removal of thousands of criminal aliens and "absconders" in the United States.
Hampered by a lack of adequate funding in fiscal 2004, including significant budget shortfalls this year explained by the agency as accounting problems, the ICE budget for fiscal 2005 is $4.01 billion -- up about $300 million. Mr. Garcia, who told employees in a Sept. 3 e-mail there was a need for deeper cuts "to ensure we operate within our budget while continuing to direct resources towards our national security missions," said the increases would help secure the agency's role in "ensuring the security of the American people and our way of life."
Numerous ICE supervisors familiar with the budget process said the new budget has significant deficits built in, but were not eager to talk about the matter, for fear of retaliation.
"I've heard nothing but bad things happening to people who speak out," one supervisor said. "There's a lot of senior management that wants to keep the lid on people speaking out about the problems. If we're identified, they could do a number of things to us ... and you don't have any way of fighting it."
The supervisors and agents noted that the ICE management is made up of former INS officials, including Mr. Garcia, whose failed financial systems were documented almost yearly by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General.
"Now that same mind-set is being used to run ICE into financial ruin, and when the dust settles after the election, Garcia, Hutchinson, [Homeland Security Secretary] Tom Ridge and others will be gone, and we will be left to rebuild the ruins," one agent said.
A major area of contention continues to be a May 13, 2003, memorandum of agreement sought by Attorney General John Ashcroft and approved by Mr. Ridge. It moved the nation's most successful terrorism-related financial crimes task force from U.S. Customs to the FBI.
"If ICE is the investigative arm of Homeland Security, how is it they would have allowed the FBI to take over these important terrorism-related cases without a note of protest?" asked an ICE supervisor, noting that Operation Green Quest, during its 19 months at Customs, made 79 arrests and seized $33 million.
Several ICE supervisors and agents independently cited as an example of the agency's demise its forced acceptance of a huge backlog of INS cases involving the handling of illegal aliens, known as "bagging and tagging."
They said two experienced Customs investigators -- now at ICE -- were pulled off a criminal case to guard for three days an illegal alien until he signed a pledge to show up for an immigration hearing in four months.
"So he signs a piece of paper and leaves, and we all know we won't ever see him again. We tied up all these resources for nothing," they said.
Meanwhile, they said, ICE has committed millions of dollars and untold resources and manpower to arrest more than 4,400 people nationwide since March 2003 as suspected pedophiles -- fewer than half of whom have been deported as foreign national sexual predators.
"It's good to get these people off the street, but they're not terrorists and that's not what we're supposed to be doing," said one agent. "But it's big numbers and these folks seem to like big numbers."

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A left-wing monopoly on campuses

By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist

THE LEFT-WING takeover of American universities is an old story. In 1951, William F. Buckley Jr. created a sensation with "God and Man at Yale," which documented the socialist and atheist worldview that even then prevailed in the classrooms of the Ivy League institution he had just graduated from.

Today campus leftism is not merely prevalent. It is radical, aggressive, and deeply intolerant, as another newly minted graduate of another prominent university -- Ben Shapiro of UCLA -- shows in "Brainwashed," a recent bestseller. "Under higher education's facade of objectivity," Shapiro writes, "lies a grave and overpowering bias" -- a charge he backs up with example after freakish example of academics going to ideological extremes.

No surprise, then, that when researchers checked the voter registration of humanities and social science instructors at 19 universities, they discovered a whopping political imbalance. The results, published in The American Enterprise in 2002, made it clear that for all the talk of diversity in higher education, ideological diversity in the modern college faculty is mostly nonexistent.

So, for example, at Cornell, of the 172 faculty members whose party affiliation was recorded, 166 were liberal (Democrats or Greens) and six were conservative (Republicans or Libertarians). At Stanford the liberal-conservative ratio was 151-17. At San Diego State it was 80-11. At SUNY Binghamton, 35-1. At UCLA, 141-9. At the University of Colorado-Boulder, 116-5. Reflecting on these gross disparities, The American Enterprise's editor, Karl Zinsmeister, remarked: "Today's colleges and universities . . . do not, when it comes to political and cultural ideas, look like America."

At about the same time, a poll of Ivy League professors commissioned by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture found that more than 80 percent of those who voted in 2000 had cast their ballots for Democrat Al Gore while just 9 percent backed Republican George W. Bush. While 64 percent said they were "liberal" or "somewhat liberal," only 6 percent described themselves as "somewhat conservative' -- and none at all as "conservative."

And the evidence continues to mount.

The New York Times reports that a new national survey of more than 1,000 academics shows Democratic professors outnumbering Republicans by at least 7 to 1 in the humanities and social sciences. At Berkeley and Stanford, according to a separate study that included professors of engineering and the hard sciences, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is even more lopsided: 9 to 1.

Such one-party domination of any major institution is problematic in a nation where Republicans and Democrats can be found in roughly equal numbers. In academia it is scandalous. It strangles dissent, suppresses debate, and causes minorities to be discriminated against. It is certainly antithetical to good scholarship. "Any political position that dominates an institution without dissent," writes Mark Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory and director of research at the National Endowment for the Arts, "deteriorates into smugness, complacency, and blindness. ... Groupthink is an anti-intellectual condition."

Worse yet, it leads faculty members to abuse their authority. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has just released the results of the first survey to measure student perceptions of faculty partisanship. The ACTA findings are striking. Of 658 students polled at the top 50 US colleges, 49 percent said professors "frequently comment on politics in class even though it has nothing to do with the course," 48 percent said some "presentations on political issues seem totally one-sided," and 46 percent said that "professors use the classroom to present their personal political views."

Academic freedom is not only meant to protect professors; it is also supposed to ensure students' right to learn without being molested. When instructors use their classrooms to indoctrinate and propagandize, they cheat those students and betray the academic mission they are entrusted with. That should be intolerable to honest men and women of every stripe -- liberals and conservatives alike.

"If this were a survey of students reporting widespread sexual harassment," says ACTA's president, Anne Neal, "there would be an uproar." That is because universities take sexual harassment seriously. Intellectual harassment, on the other hand -- like the one-party conformity it flows from -- they ignore. Until that changes, the scandal of the campuses will only grow worse.

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

WMD Attack Likely

William's Note: I have warned of this for quite sometime and have received a lot of "where's the beef?" from friends and foes. This is the number one, behind-the-scenes fear of every thinking counter-terror person.

Etgar Lefkovits, THE JERUSALEM POST

An al-Qaida attack on the US with non-conventional weapons is virtually "inevitable," and the organization is likely "tying up the knots" for such an attack, Yossef Bodansky, former director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

"All of the warnings we have today indicate that a major strike – something more horrible than anything we've seen before – is all but inevitable," he said.

Bodansky, here for the second annual Jerusalem Summit, an international gathering of conservative thinkers, added that "the primary option" for the next al-Qaida attack on US soil would be one that would use weapons of mass destruction.

"I do not have a crystal ball, but this is what all the available evidence tells us, we will have a bang," Bodansky said.

He said that al-Qaida has not carried out a second major attack on the US until now for internal psychological and ideological reasons, but after the reelection of President George W. Bush, it has gotten "the green light" to do so from leading Islamic religious luminaries, as well as from "the elites of the Arab world."

According to Bodansky's reading of Osama bin Laden's mind-set, after the elaborate attacks of 9/11 there was no need for the "bin Ladens of the world" to carry out a second major attack in the US, both because the target audience of the attacks – the Arab and Islamic world – had gotten the message that America could be penetrated, and because a second attack would necessarily have to be more grandiose.

Following the attacks and the US-led war on terror, a debate started within the operational arm of the organization over the potential use of weapons of mass destruction, Bodansky said.

If, in pre-9/11 days, the theme used by bin Laden was that perpetual confrontation and jihad against the US was the only way to protect Islam, the argument now used is the ability to punish American society, Bodansky said.

"Just as the West was challenging the quintessence of Islam by means of the globalization era, there was a parallel need by Islamic extremists to strike at – and hurt – the core of American society, this time with weapons of mass destruction," Bodansky said.

A subsequent theological debate emerged within the organization, and its supporters in the Arab world, he said, over whether the mass killing of innocents is permissible.

While bin Laden and his associates argued that by virtue of their participation in US democracy, US citizens were enabling their rulers to fight, other Islamic luminaries contended that this does not permit such massive attacks, Bodansky said. The reelection of Bush in November, he said, was viewed by bin Laden and his cohorts as a decisive answer to this deliberation, with Americans now "choosing" to be the enemies of Islam. In bin Laden's mind-set, he said, the stage was set for a non-conventional attack.

Bodansky said that while there may still be some vestiges of debate and doubt within Islamic circles, he believes that planing for such an attack is finished. "They got the kosher stamp from the Islamic world to use nuclear weapons," he said.

Moreover, Bodansky said that America is losing the war against terrorism, noting the number of recruits bin Laden is able to count on, as his call to arms gains widespread support throughout the Muslim world.

In the pre-9/11 world, Bodansky said, jihadists could count on 250,000 individuals trained and willing to die, and 2.5 million–5 million people willing to help them in one way or another. He cited intelligence estimates from this summer that suggest that as many as 500,000-750,000 people are willing and trained to die, 10 million are willing to actively support them, short of killing, while another 50 million are willing to support such a movement financially
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Spreading Islam in American Public Schools

by Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2236
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16094

Not only do Islamists want to censure the handling of Islamic topics at U.S. universities, as I noted in "Islamists Police the Classroom [at the University of South Florida]," but they also wish to do the same at grammar schools. More ominously yet, they wish to transform public schools at all levels into venues for spreading Islam.

An undated posting at www.SoundVision.com posts a page titled "18 Tips for Imams and Community Leaders." The 15th tip, "Establish a parents' committee to monitor public schools," has special interest. It starts by asking if the local public school is teaching 10-year-olds that Muslims are terrorists and misogynists? If so, parents are advised to set up a committee "to monitor public school curriculum and developments" and arrange for Muslims to deliver talks about Islam and Muslims. For instance, as Ramadan approaches, a parent should explain the holiday to the school or in a social studies class. When a high-profile "incident of terrorism where Muslims are the perpetrators" takes place, the committee should ask to discuss Islam and terrorism. More broadly, the committee should lobby on behalf of Muslim concerns.

Another website points to a far deeper agenda, that of da‘wa, or using taxpayer-funded schools to proselytize for Islam. www.DawaNet.com's goals are summed up by an article it hosts: "How to Make America an Islamic Nation." But what concerns us is a page, "Dawa in public schools," that portrays public schools as "fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students. Muslim students should take ample advantage of this opportunity and present to their schoolmates the beautiful beliefs of Islam." This, the website asserts, is best achieved through both direct and indirect steps. Direct means overt da‘wa:

Host Islamic exhibitions.
Start an Islamic newsletter.
Set up "Dawa tables" offering Islamic literature.
Carry "Dawa flyers" from the Islamic Circle of North America and pass them out to non-Muslims.
Place advertisements in the school paper with a toll-free telephone number for non-Muslims to call to learn more about Islam.
Establish one-to-one contacts with non-Muslim students (along gender lines: "It is advised that brothers work with non-Muslim boys and sisters work with non-Muslim girls").
Indirect partially means creating a good image for Islam:

Found Muslim groups that portray Islam "in a positive way," such as a Muslim Students Association, Islamic Circle, or Quran Study Group.
Engage in "simple actions that reflect living Islam," such as saying "Insha Allah" (God willing), praying, and wearing Islamic-style clothing.
Take advantage of disasters to set up a disaster relief assistance booth to give "a very positive picture of Islam and Muslims."
Or indirect means increasing consciousness of Islam:

Make use of the school newspaper: "Being a writer will give you ample opportunity to provide Islamically oriented articles which will Insha Allah [if God wishes] open the hearts and minds of readers." Ideally, an article on Islam should appear in each issue. If the school does not allow overt preaching, "Alhamdu lillah, there are ways to circumvent this problem," such as reporting on Islamic events or writing about Islamic holidays. "This way, you are still presenting an aspect of Islam without coming across as a preacher." DawaNet.com also coyly instructs its adepts "to have a good rapport with the editor and the writing staff of the paper."

Lobby to include Islamic dates on the school calendar.

Add books and magazines on Islam written by Muslims to the school library; if the library does not purchase them, raise the money to donate them.

Incorporate Islam into class projects. For example, "for a speech class, if there is freedom to choose a topic, an Islamic topic should be selected. Similar opportunities can be created in history, social science, writing and other classes."

DawaNet.com concludes by reminding Muslims that the will of Allah, faith, and Muslim creativity combined to win victories in the past and can again in the future:

Schools and campuses are no exceptions as places where Islam can be victorious. … We should use every opportunity to sensitize non-Muslim peers and school staff to Islam and to establish an environment in which everywhere a non-Muslim turns, he notices Islam portrayed in a positive way, is influenced by it and eventually accepts Islam.

Comments: (1) This is a total perversion of the American public space, a blatant effort to suborn it to serve Islamic missionary purposes.

(2) Such an attempt by Islamists hardly comes as a surprise but rather complements their already in-place campaign to exploit textbooks and curricula supplements for da‘wa purposes.

(3) The "multikulti" spirit so prevalent in American schools today means that too many parents, teachers, and administrators find themselves virtually helpless to stand up to this assault on the traditional values of the public school.


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FAIR Legislative Update

In this update:

Negotiations on 9/11 Bill Set to Resume This Week
Negotiations on the 9/11 bill are set to resume this week as the battle continues to get critical identification security and immigration enforcement reforms included in the final bill to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
We won a temporary victory on Nov. 20 when House Speaker Hastert (R-IL) refused to bring the bill to the floor after House Republicans, led by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI), banded together to voice their displeasure with the lack of immigration provisions in the final conference report.

Rep. Sensenbrenner is facing immense pressure from the White House to drop his insistence on the identification security and immigration provisions and conferees hoping to exclude these important reforms are calling him an obstructionist. (Read yesterday's New York Times article for details.)

Rep. Duncan Hunter has also forcefully objected to the legislation, fearing some of the changes to the intelligence apparatus would endanger American troops deployed in combat if deprived of timely satellite intelligence data. Rep. Hunter has a strong record favoring tough steps against illegal immigration, having introduced his own bill earlier this year to block states from issuing licenses to illegal aliens.

Your Calls Are Making a Huge Impact

Your phone calls are helping Rep. Sensenbrenner stay the course. He recently told NewsMax.com that calls to his office have been 30-to-1 in favor of the immigration provisions. The message is loud and clear - Americans agree that preventing terrorists from getting driver's licenses and asylum is critical to preventing another 9/11. Please keep those calls coming! (202-225-5101)

The Week Ahead

The back and forth jockeying this week over the 9/11 legislation is a prelude to action next week when the House and Senate return for another short lame duck session.

This week, supporters and opponent alike will speak out about including the immigration-security provisions.

Members of 9/11 Families for a Secure America will hold a Capitol Hill press conference tomorrow to urge Senate conferees to accept the driver's license and border security provisions of H.R. 10. Location: Rayburn House Office Building, 11 a.m. (November 30, 2004)

Conversely, the 9/11 Family Steering Committee and the 9/11 Commission Caucus will hold a news conference with Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to urge House Republican leadership to forgo these important reforms. Location: Cannon Terrace, Cannon House Office Building. 10 a.m. (November 30, 2004)

Stay Tuned…

Your help will be critical to the outcome of the 9/11 legislation when the House and Senate return on December 6 and 7 for another lame duck session. Look forward to hearing from us late this week and early next week for further updates and alerts.


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Monday, November 29, 2004

Immigrant Population at Record High in 2004

This From Center For Immigration Studies

Total Up 4 Million Since 2000, Half of Growth from Illegal Aliens

WASHINGTON (November 2004) — An analysis of data not yet published by the Census Bureau shows that the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a new record of more than 34 million in March of 2004, an increase of over 4 million just since 2000. The fact that immigration has remained so high indicates that immigration does not rise and fall in close step with the economy, as some have imagined. The report, entitled Economy Slowed, But Immigration Didn’t: The Foreign-born Population 2000-2004, is available online at the Center’s Web site: www.cis.org.

Among the findings:

• The 34.24 million immigrants (legal and illegal) now living in the country is the highest number ever recorded in American history and a 4.3-million increase since 2000.

• Of the 4.3 million growth, almost half, or 2 million, is estimated to be from illegal immigration.

• In the data collected by the Census Bureau, there were roughly 9 million illegal aliens. Prior research indicates that 10 percent of illegal aliens are missed by the survey, suggesting a total illegal population of about 10 million in March of this year.

• The same data also show that in the years between 2000 and 2004, nearly 6.1 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) arrived from abroad. Arrivals are offset by deaths and return migration among immigrants already here, so the total increased by 4.3 million.

• The 6.1 million new immigrants who arrived in the four years since 2000 compares to 5.5 million new arrivals in the four years prior to 2000, during the economic expansion.

• The pace of immigration is so surprising because unemployment among immigrants increased from 4.4 to 6.1 percent, and the number of unemployed immigrants grew by 43 percent.

• States with the largest increase in their immigrant population were Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

'The idea that immigration is a self regulating process that rises and falls in close step with the economy is simply wrong,' said Steven Camarota, the report’s author and the Center’s Director of Research. 'Today, the primary sending countries are so much poorer than the United States, even being unemployed in America is still sometimes better than staying in one’s home country.'


Other findings in the report:

• Unlike current immigration, evidence from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries indicates that economic downturns in the United States did have a very significant impact on immigration levels.

• As a share of the nation’s total population, immigrants now account for nearly 12 percent, the highest percentage in over 80 years.

• Recent immigration has had no significant impact on the nation’s age structure. If the 6.1 million immigrants who arrived after 2000 had not come, the average age in America would be virtually unchanged at 36 years.

• The diversity of the immigrant population continues to decline, with the top country, Mexico, accounting for 31 percent of all immigrants in 2004, up from 28 percent in 2000, 22 percent in 1990, and 16 percent in 1980.

No Major Change in Policy After 9/11. It is important to realize that there has been no major change in the selection criteria used or numerical limits placed on legal immigration, even after September 11th. Moreover, immigration enforcement efforts have actually become more lax in recent years. While visa applicants from some parts of the world may have to wait a little longer for approval and a tiny number of illegal aliens from selected countries may have been detained, this does not constitute a major change in policy and has no meaningful impact on the number of people settling in the United States.

Disconnect from Economy. The primary sending countries today are much poorer relative to the United States than were the primary sending countries in the past. The much higher standard of living in the United States exists even during recessions. Moreover, people come to America for many reasons, including to join family, to avoid social or legal obligations, to take advantage of America’s social services, and to enjoy greater personal and political freedom. Thus even a prolonged economic downturn is unlikely to have a large impact on immigration levels. If we want lower immigration levels it would require enforcement of immigration laws and changes to the legal immigration system.

Data Source: The information for the report comes from the March Current Population Surveys (CPS) collected by the Census Bureau, also called the Annual Social and Economic Supplement. The March data include an extra-large sample of minorities and is considered one of the best sources of information on immigrants, referred to as the foreign- born by the Census Bureau. The foreign-born are defined as persons living here who were not U.S. citizens at birth. Because all children born in the United States to foreign born are by definition natives, the sole reason for the dramatic increase in the foreign-born population is new immigration.


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Sunday, November 28, 2004

Daniel Pipes Weblog

Catholic Cardinal Praises the Reformation and French Revolution! In what may be an historic first, Belgium's Cardinal Godfried Danneels, said to be one of a small group of papabile, on Nov. 24 argued that:

Muslims should engage in a more flexible interpretation of their scriptures, even if this prompts changes akin to the Protestant Reformation. "That is fundamental, the willingness of Islam to interpret its texts, the Koran in particular.
Muslims can integrate into Europe only they separate "church" and state, as Roman Catholicism did in the course of the French Revolution. "I think, I hope that it is possible to create a European Islam which has gone through its own French Revolution. It can already be found here or there."
Comment: Catholic clergy rarely see the French Revolution in a positive light, but the Islamic challenge can turn things upside-down. (November 26, 2004) Permalink


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Does Learning Arabic Prevent Moral Decay? So argues Akhtar H. Emon, president of an outfit called the Arabic Language Institute Foundation (or ALIF, which is the name of the first letter of the Arabic alphabet), based in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. His interesting argument can be found on an undated webpage, "Bringing Arabic to U.S. / Canadian High Schools," that begins by making the case for Arabic instruction for purely materialistic reasons:

The necessity for a greater number of Arabic speakers is obvious, given the amount of trade the United States does with countries in the Middle East and that region's growing economic importance in world trade. Many big companies have business over there, and all this requires knowledge of Arabic. …

As Arab nations gain more of a global presence, especially in non-oil related economic areas, knowing Arabic and understanding the Arab culture will be more valuable for American businesses seeking to tap that growing market. … Knowledge of Arabic will promote investments here since there are a lot of revenues from oil. The lack of knowledge has stagnated investments into this country.

This is a bit over the top, especially when one recalls that the entire GDP of the Arabic-speaking countries is less than that of Spain, but at least it's an argument that an American or Canadian can relate to.

The final paragraph then presents a quite different – and arguably more sincere – reason for wanting Arabic taught in North American high schools:

Arabic is the language of the Qur'an. In order to convey the message of Qur'an in North America and Europe, we have to first deliver its language. Knowledge of Arabic can then help the Western countries recover from the present moral decay. Shootings of the likes in Columbine High School, and an Diego schools are the symptoms and the signs (Ayah) from Allah. High School students in North America deserve better than the metal detectors to protect them. The whole system of education needs a moral shake-up. The Arabic Language Institute Foundation (ALIF), a Los Angeles-based organization is committed to this goal.

So there you have it – "Knowledge of Arabic can then help the Western countries recover from the present moral decay."

Comment: Even innocuous-looking groups like ALIF (a project partially sponsored, wouldn't you know it by the Council on American-Islamic Relations) has an intent to transform the United States into a majority Muslim country. (November 26, 2004) Permalink


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Were Investors in "Bridges TV" Misled? The Buffalo News carries a puff-piece today on the Nov. 30 opening of "Bridges TV," a new cable channel aimed at American Muslim viewers. Its founder and chief executive officer, Muzzammil S. Hassan, 40, says he chose the name because its purpose is "to build bridges of friendship and understanding." It all sounds great until one learns that the project's $5-$10 million in backing from more than fifty investors seems to be based on an error: "Hassan was able to sell investors," the Buffalo News's Jay Tokasz reports, "on key demographics for the nation's estimated 7 million Muslims." A more accurate population figure of U.S. Muslims would be less than half that large.

It is hard to imagine that hard-headed investors would put their funds into an operation premised on the mythical but faulty figure of 7 million Muslims in the United States, but if they really did, then I suspect it won't be around very long. (November 26, 2004) Permalink


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Censor Anti-Islamic Books? On April 25, 2004, FaithWorks publishers issued a 992-page book by Craig Winn, Prophet of Doom: Islam's Terrorist Dogma, In Muhammad's Own Words. So eager are they to get Winn's thoughts out that the book is both available in hardback and downloadable from the Internet.

As the title suggests, the study is a relentless attack on the Prophet Muhammad. As a summary puts it: "Islam is a caustic blend of regurgitated paganism and twisted Bible stories. Muhammad, its lone prophet, conceived his religion solely to satiate his lust for power, sex, and money. He was a terrorist." Strong stuff, to be sure, but also part of a Christian polemical legacy going back to the very origins of Islam.

Islamists have responded by trying to censor the book. An online petition, "Stop Hatred & Misinformation about the Best of Creation (peace be upon him)" with (as of today) 56,713 signatures finds that the book

is outside the pale of America's freedom of expression as it contributes towards the provocation of hate and the fraying of the fabric of its multi-cultural society by offending the sensibilities of a large segment of its population.

The petition was sponsored by members of the "Islamic Educational and Cultural Research Center," which describes itself as an organization "following the principles, methods and scholarship of the early Muslim." It goes on to call for "the removal of all copies of this book from all bookstores – regular or online and for the cessation of its publication immediately."

The above petition soon spawned a response titled "First Amendment freedoms include the right to criticize Islam and Muhammad." Currently signed by 3,116 petitioners, it reads in part:

We the undersigned are shocked and appalled by recent Muslim attempts to stifle circulation of Craig Winn's Prophet of Doom. … As firm supporters of First Amendment freedoms, we demand that authors critical of Islam (or any other religion) be given full First Amendment protection. … we demand that all bookstores ignore such scare tactics and make Mr. Winn's book readily available, in accordance with customer demand.

The assault on Prophet of Doom also takes more threatening forms. Here is a review posted at amazon.com on Nov. 21:

Good use of this book, November 21, 2004

Reviewer: Proud Muslim "Proud Muslim" (Fairfax, Virginia USA) – See all my reviews.

There is good use of this book, in our FIREPLACES
trashed and burned and along with the author!!

Comment: The virtues or faults of Prophet of Doom are not the issue here. The question is whether Islam may be publicly critiqued or not in the United States. (November 22, 2004) Permalink


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State Acknowledges Its Terror Untruths "

In "State (Dept.) of Confusion [when It Comes to Palestinian Terror against Israel]," I documented the deeply deficient 199-page Department of State Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2003, released on April 29, 2004, then the revisions to it, released on June 22, by looking specifically at the Palestinian-Israeli theater. I concluded that the Department of State,

even in revising its basic research document on terrorism, does such a shoddy job points to its inability to carry out this task which needs to be handled by some other department or agency, one that can properly do objective work.

Now the full weight of State's Office of Inspector General has been brought to bear on this travesty. And what does the OIG find? As Josh Meyer sums it up in the Los Angeles Times, it

blamed the problems on sloppy data collection, inexperienced employees, personnel shortages and lax oversight. Investigators also concluded that the procedures used by the State Department, CIA and other agencies to define terrorism and terrorist attacks were so inconsistent that they couldn't be relied upon. … The department's independent investigative unit concluded, however, that politics played no role in allowing so many mistakes to be published in the original version.

The OIG reassuringly concludes that those errors were fixed in a second version.

Comment: The State Department is just digging itself in deeper and deeper, covering up, apologizing, and doing anything but admit to its inaccurate, politicized, and negligent "research." (Nov. 21, 2004) Permalink


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The MSM ("Mainstream Media") on the Cause of Arafat's Death One has to grudgingly tip the hat to what is now despairingly called the mainstream media, or MSM, and how it can cause unwelcome news simply to disappear. Case in point:

John Ward Anderson has a piece titled "Conspiracy Theories Persist on Arafat's Death" in today's Washington Post which begins with the question "What, or who, killed Yasser Arafat?" and then in 730 words discourses learnedly on the various theories about the demise of the man born as Muhammad ‘Abd ar-Ra'uf ‘Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husayni. Anderson recounts the role of Suha the wife, the French government, the rumors of poison, the Palestinian leadership's effort to get the facts out, and so on. It includes quotes like this from Hishad Ahmed, said to be a political scientist at Bir Zeit University: "If people found that Yasser Arafat was poisoned, it would be a volcano here—a big earthquake." Ahmed goes on to state that he "strongly" believes Arafat was in fact poisoned, then he speculates about the respective roles of the Israeli government and Arafat's cronies. Hussein Sheikh, the general secretary of Fatah in the West Bank is cited saying that he is "totally convinced it was an abnormal and unusual cause of death."

All this blather – yet not a single peep in Anderson's article about the really interesting question in Arafat's unnamed illness: is it AIDS? I have already quoted David Frum on this topic pointing to the symptoms being consistent with this most embarrassing disease. I can understand why the Palestinians want to brush the topic under the rug, but the Washington Post? Why does it regale its readers with nonsensical conspiracy theories and hide what is really on the minds of serious people? It's one more dereliction of duty chalked up by the MSM. (November 18, 2004)

Nov. 19, 2004 update: How interesting that the tabloids so often venture these days where the broadsheets no longer dare to go. Uri Dan reports in the New York Post that Dr. Ran Tur-Kaspa, an expert in infectious diseases at the Rabin Medical Center in Petakh Tikvah, discussed Arafat's symptoms on Israeli radio: "Yes, it might be the symptoms of AIDS." Permalink


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"Before Arafat, there was no Palestine" That's the opinion not of a die-hard Zionist disputing the existence of a "Palestine" before the 1960s, but of a Palestinian nationalist quoted by her admiring son, one Ahmed Moor, in the context of mourning Arafat and celebrating his achievements. Inadvertently, of course, the mother is telling the truth – that the idea of Palestine is a modern one. (She dates it to the start of Arafat's career; I more liberally go back to 1920, but we agree on the key point that this is not some hoary notion.)

Oh, and it bears noting that Moor makes this statement in the context of a memorial service for Yasir Arafat held in the Ben Franklin Room in a hall on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The student newspaper reports that "the 45-minute service was packed with passionate poems and assorted anecdotes from the course of Arafat's life. … The service consisted of a eulogy, followed by a moment of silence, and concluded with the reading of three poems and a prayer from the Quran." Many of those attending wore kaffiyehs. The event was sponsored by the Muslim Law Students Association, the Arab Law Students Society, the Penn Arab Student Society, and the Free Palestine Action Network. As you'd expect - more good sense and smart politics from the campus. (November 16, 2004) Permalink


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Further Developments Concerning Theo van Gogh and Holland's "Education by Murder" In the pre-Internet days, I would write a newspaper op-ed and then wait for days or weeks for reactions, which barely ever came. Now, as my webmaster sends out over twenty thousand copies of each column, response comes in fast and furious, often warranting additional comments by me. Here are some on today's piece, "[Theo van Gogh and] ‘Education By Murder' in Holland."

(1) The murder of Pim Fortuyn was in some sense the first Islamist terrorist act in recent Dutch history. Here is a report by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Joan Clements in the Daily Telegraph of March 28, 2003:

A Left-wing activist confessed in court yesterday to Holland's first political assassination in 400 years, claiming that he shot Pim Fortuyn to defend Dutch Muslims from persecution. Volkert van der Graaf, 33, a vegan animal rights campaigner, said he alone was responsible for killing the maverick protest leader last May, days before a general election in which the Fortuyn List party vaulted into second place and shattered Holland's consensus.

Facing a raucous court on the first day of his murder trial, he said his goal was to stop Mr Fortuyn exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" to try to gain political power. He said: "I confess to the shooting. He was an ever growing danger who would affect many people in society. I saw it as a danger. I hoped that I could solve it myself."

Van der Graaf, 33, added that the idea of killing Fortuyn "was never concrete until the last moment, the day before the attack." MilitantIslamMonitor.org points out that van der Graaf intially claimed his motive was to prevent Fortuyn from reviving the mink trade in Holland and only later admitted that his goal was to protect Muslims.

Adding a note of levity to an otherwise grim proceeding, Fortuyn's relatives who attended the high-security court scorned the animal rights fanatic by donning their fur coats. "I want to cause him maximum pain," said Jolanda Fortuyn, a sister-in-law. "I will make sure he notices me." The gallery shouted their abuse at van der Graaf with what the Telegraph reporters term "a vehemence unusual for the Dutch," at least until they were expelled from the courtroom.

(2) A few readers worry that I am giving advice to the enemy in my penultimate paragraph:

Islamist terrorism in the West is counterproductive because it awakens the sleeping masses; in brief, jihad provokes crusade. A more cunning Islamist enemy would advance its totalitarian agenda through Mafia-like intimidation, not brazen murders.

I worried too about this, especially as I know that the Islamists read my articles. But I went ahead with the paragraph (and might write in more depth on the same topic) because I believe the most valuable service I can render in this war is to make anti-Islamists aware of the problem they face.

(3) The backlash against radical Islam continues. Today's Telegraaf reports (as does Expatica) that a two-thirds majority of the Dutch Lower House supports the abolition of the blasphemy law introduced in the 1930s that bans religious insults. (November 16, 2004) Permalink


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Acknowledging the Issue is Israel's Existence Voices of authority – governments, the media, academics, religious figures – nearly all concur that the Palestinians back in September 1993 accepted the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, that that is now a done deal. I disagree, as I have written many times, notably in a December 1997 article titled "On Arab Rejectionism." This weblog entry cites, in reverse chronological order, others who have come around to my point of view, especially those who once believed in the Oslo negotiations and other soi-disant "peace process" diplomacy.

Bernard Lewis: "the clear message from the Palestinian camp and from many of their Arab and other supporters is that the issue is the legitimacy, that is to say the existence, of Israel as a Jewish state. ("To Be or Not to Be," The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15, 2004)

Charles Krauthammer: "Yes, he [Yasir Arafat] signed interim deals to get a foothold in Palestine. But that was always with the objective of continuing the fight from a better strategic position. It was never to conclude a lasting compromise or real peace with Israel. That is why he died so far from his promised land. This promised land was never the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat founded Fatah in 1959 -- eight years before Israel even acquired these territories. His objective then, and until the day he died, was a Palestinian state built on the ruins of an eradicated Israel." ("Arafat's Legacy," The Washington Post, Nov. 15, 2004) Permalink


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"I Need Your Assistance; Suha Arafat" Like everyone on the Internet, I have received my share of Internet scam letters, the so-called Nigerian 419s. "Please excuse my intrusion into your private life as I write you this letter in good faith and to the glory of almighty God …" is a typical start, followed by an intricate financial proposition. This fraud may look idiotic but it is so serious that even the U.S. Secret Service is involved in stamping it out.

Most of these spams supposedly come from no-name individuals, usually lawyers, but some come from widows of known leaders, such as the many from Mrs. Sani Abacha of Nigeria ("I am Mrs. Mariam Abacha, the widow of late Gen. Sani Abacha …").

I reflexively and immediately delete these nuisances. But not today. Somehow, receiving a spam today with the subject line "I Need Your Assistance; Suha Arafat," caught my attention. It's actually well done and savvy, despite several typos, so much so that I cannot resist providing the text of the letter here:

Dear Friend,

This mail may not be surprising to you if you have been following current events in the international media with reference to the Middle East and Palestine in particular.

I am Mrs. SUHA ARAFAT, the wife of YASSER ARAFAT, the Palestinian leader who died recently in Paris.

Since his death and even prior to the announcement, I have been thrown into a state of antagonism, confusion, humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the new Prime Minister. I have even been subjected to physical and psychological torture. As a widow that is so traumatized, I have lost confidence with everybody in the country at the moment.

You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet on the discovery of some fund in my husband secret bank account and companies and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband in my name of which I have refuses to disclose or give up to the corrupt Palestine Government. In fact the total sum allegedly discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of about $6.5 Billion Dollars. And they are not relenting on their effort to make me poor for life. As you know, the Moslem community has no regards for woman, hence my desire for a foreign assistance.

I have deposited the sum of 20 million dollars with a security firm abroad whose name is withheld for now until we open communication. I shall be grateful if you could receive this fund into your bank account for safe keeping and any Investment opportunity. This arrangement is known to you and my personal Attorney. He might be dealing with you directly for security reasons as the case may be.

In view of the above, if you are willing to assist for our mutual benefits, we will have to negotiate on your Percentage share of the $20,000,000 that will be kept in your position for a while and invested in your name for my trust pending when my Daughter, Zahwa, will come off age and take full responsibility of her Family Estate/inheritance.

Please note that this is a golden opportunity that comes once in life time and more so, if you are hornet, I am going to entrust more funds in your care as this is one of the legacy we keep for our children.

In case you don't accept please do not let me out to the security and international media as I am giving you this information in total trust and confidence I will greatly appreciate if you accept my proposal in good faith. Please expedite action.

Yours sincerely,
Suha Arafat

Tempted to follow this up? Sorry, I'm not giving out the return address. (November 13, 2004) Permalink


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Turkey's Malleability Atatürk instituted a series of reforms between 1923 (when he made Ankara the capital) and 1935 (when he made Sunday the weekly day of rest) that touched nearly all aspects of life and stand unique in history; their only rival were the quite different Meiji reforms in Japan. In the course of a dozen years, Atatürk singlehandedly changed the nature of his country, becoming personally involved in the details of the modernization process.

An echo of this dramatic, driven overhaul is felt in the past two years, in the era of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his crushing parliamentary majority. Susan Sachs reports in the New York Times on the sweeping changes that have led to the rewriting of hundreds of laws and one third of the articles in the constitution:

An avalanche of new laws, geared to bring the nation closer to European Union norms, has altered the way the state treats everything from police brutality and juvenile delinquents, to commercial transactions and industrial pollution. … Turkey abolished the death penalty and the feared state security court. It created intellectual property courts, consumer courts, juvenile courts and family courts. Treason was redefined, police powers limited, criminal penalties revised, trademark laws created and press laws revamped. In short, just about every field of law changed. Even the most experienced lawyers and judges have found themselves cramming like first-year law students and signing up for training seminars while cases pile up by the tens of thousands at courthouses.

(October 24, 2004) Permalink


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Making Sure the Palestinians Remain Refugees Since 1949, the Arab regimes have consistently resisted the settlement and assimilation of Palestinians, wanting instead to maintain them as a dagger aimed at Israel. Today sees a stunning new confirmation of this ugly pattern, this time from Saudi Arabia. P.K. Abdul Ghafour reports in the Jeddah-based Arab News that senior Saudi officials are indicating that 8.8 million expatriates of all nationalities who have lived in the Kingdom for ten years can, according to an amended law, passed by the Council of Ministers on Oct. 18, apply for Saudi citizenship. Degree holders in medicine, computer science and other branches of science and technology will have priority when the new law goes into effect in four months.

Shubaily ibn Majdoue Al-Qarni, chairman of the committee that supervised this amendment, emphasized that all workers, regardless of nationality, are eligible for Saudi citizenship. "The law does not aim at a particular nationality. On the other hand, it covers all expatriates in the country."

Well, almost all: "the naturalization law would not be applicable to Palestinians living in the Kingdom as the Arab League has instructed that Palestinians living in Arab countries should not be given citizenship to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland. Diplomatic sources have estimated the number of Palestinians in the Kingdom at about 500,000." (October 21, 2004) Permalink


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