On August 1, 2017, Fox News reported the worrying headline, “Pentagon investigators find ‘security risks’ in government’s immigrant recruitment program, ‘infiltration’ feared.”
Military bases are among the most sensitive facilities to be found in the United States. Classified materials, weapons and, of course, our members of the armed forces, can all be found on every military base. Time and again, we have seen terrorists in the Middle East carry out “Insider Attacks” by joining the military or police and then, when the opportunity presents itself, turn their weapons on their trainers and other soldiers.
Military training is highly prized and sought after by terrorists and criminals. Many terrorists travel around the world to attend terror training camps. Undoubtedly, the training our military recruits receive is a quantum leap above anything that terror training camps provide. Additionally, our soldiers learn the “playbook” employed by our military forces on the battlefield.
The thought that foreign terrorists may have successfully infiltrated our military and gained access to all of the above is highly disturbing, to put it mildly. One recruitment program, known as MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to National Interest), has especially raised serious concerns in this context. Under this program, according to the Defense Department:
The Secretary of Defense authorized the military services to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest. Those holding critical skills – physicians, nurses, and certain experts in language with associated cultural backgrounds – would be eligible. To determine its value in enhancing military readiness, the limited pilot program will recruit up to 5,200 people in Fiscal Year 2016, and will continue through September 30, 2016.
The Fox News report on MAVNI began with this excerpt:
EXCLUSIVE: Defense Department investigators have discovered “potential security risks” in a Pentagon program that has enrolled more than 10,000 foreign-born individuals into the U.S. armed forces since 2009, Fox News has learned exclusively, with sources on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon expressing alarm over “foreign infiltration” and enrollees now unaccounted for.
After more than a year of investigation, the Pentagon’s inspector general recently issued a report – its contents still classified but its existence disclosed here for the first time – identifying serious problems with Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), a DOD program that provides immigrants and non-immigrant aliens with an expedited path to citizenship in exchange for military service.
Defense Department officials said the program is still active but acknowledged that new applications have been suspended.
First of all, it is extremely important to not forget the honorable and dedicated service of many foreign nationals who have served in our nation’s military. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard America and Americans, while others have suffered grievous injuries. Those are facts that we must never lose sight of.
However, I ask that you stop and take notice that none of the aliens who participated in MAVNI were illegal aliens. All of the aliens in this program — among whom are those who have apparently gone missing and may have used this program to infiltrate the United States and gain access to military bases and military training — were, as a requirement, legally present in the United States.
Nevertheless, even as you read this, Congress is considering the creation of a similar program for illegal aliens under the auspices of the ENLIST Act (H.R. 60) The term “ENLIST” is an acronym for: “Encourage New Legalized Immigrant to to Start Training.” This dangerous and wrong-headed program would provide illegal aliens who, in the parlance of the open borders/immigration anarchists, entered the United States “Undocumented.”
The cold, hard, irrefutable truth is that these are illegal aliens who entered the United States surreptitiously, without inspection. In other words, they are undocumented. And you cannot tell a “good guy” from a “bad guy” without a scorecard. Undocumented aliens have no scorecards.
If there is a serious problem in vetting aliens who entered the United States with passports and visas, how in the world could our officials begin to vet aliens who evaded the inspections process conducted at ports of entry to prevent the entry of criminals, fugitives and terrorists?
Of course my question is not a really a question in search of an answer, but a rhetorical question. The answer should be self-evident. There is no easy or effective means of vetting such aliens.
I addressed the threats that these aliens pose to national security and public safety in my recent article, When “Compassion” Endangers National Security. The lack of integrity to the vetting process for aliens who are admitted into the United States has created a deadly nightmare for America and for those who fall victim to crimes and terror attacks that these failures facilitated.
It is this lack of integrity to this vetting process that prompted President Trump to attempt to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States who are citizens of six countries associated with terrorism and whose identities and backgrounds cannot be determined with certainty. Incredibly, the Supreme Court has decided against the President’s law-based Executive Order that the media has described as a “Travel Ban,” refusing to use the actual name of that Executive Order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.
That very title of that Executive Order makes its purpose crystal clear. It is a purpose that the vast majority of American’s would undoubtedly accept and, indeed, support. Because of the de-facto censorship of “journalists”, many Americans have likely never heard the actual title of President Trump’s Executive Order. The term “Travel Ban” for citizens of “Six Muslim Majority Countries” has evoked an emotional response from many Americans who have been snookered by the media. Those six “Muslim Majority” countries have been properly identified as having an association with the threat of terrorism.
President Trump has stated that because of his concerns about the entry of potential terrorists and criminals into the United States, he has called for subjecting aliens seeking entry into the United States to “extreme vetting” when they are citizens of certain countries.
Given the unsettling findings of the Pentagon investigators — along with many other findings in the investigations conducted by a long list of other investigative agencies — the entire vetting process for aliens seeking visas and entry into the United States needs to be tightened dramatically.
This problem is not a new one. Back on May 20, 1997, I participated in my first Congressional hearing on the topic of Visa Fraud And Immigration Benefits Application Fraud. That hearing was conducted by the House Immigration Subcommittee and was predicated on two deadly terror attacks carried out in 1993 at the CIA Headquarters in Virginia in January of that year, followed the next month by the deadly bombing at the World Trade Center.
All of the perpetrators of those terror attacks were aliens who had, in one way or another, gamed the immigration system by securing visas through fraud, including the use of aliases and/or counterfeit and altered passports, by making false claims to political asylum or by committing fraud in applications for participation in the massive amnesty program that was an integral part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).
Many terror attacks in the years after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 involved aliens who had entered the United States through ports of entry and then embedded themselves in communities around the United States as they went about their deadly preparations.
Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is far more concerned with head counts on airliners than body counts at the morgue. Consequently, they and their allies in industry, special interest groups, government and the media, have been pushing hard to dismantle our nation’s borders, expand the Visa Waiver Program and flood America with cheap foreign labor, foreign students and foreign tourists.
That Visa Waiver Program, incidentally, should have been terminated, not expanded, after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
The sobering report about possible foreign malevolent infiltrators in our military must serve as a warning and a reminder that, if our leaders err, they must err on the side of caution, putting national security and public safety first.
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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.