Horowitz: The open border reveals our backward homeland security mentality 22 years after 9/11

News & Politics

The central lesson of 9/11 is that we had too many dangerous people who should never have been in the country who were able to operate and plot evil acts undetected. We needed to focus on our own border and immigration system rather than saving the world. Yet we did the exact opposite. We squandered two decades refereeing Sunni-Shia civil wars and then bringing in dangerous people from both sides of them. Here we are today, with an open and lawless border and millions of people pouring in every year, not just from Latin America but from all over the world, with zero accountability. We built a police state after 9/11, yet it’s nowhere to be found in protecting us from external threats.

To quote the 9/11 Commission staff report on terrorist travel in 2004:

It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy.

Two decades later, not only has border security not become a cornerstone of national security, it is nonexistent. As America became a police state after 9/11 (accelerating after COVID) with legal authorities, assets, and technologies surveilling and monitoring every aspect of our lives, we know nothing about the millions of people pouring over our border.

Never forget that every crime committed by an illegal alien is avoidable, especially when committed by someone already apprehended for a previous crime. Yet thousands upon thousands of these people remain in the country as ticking time bombs. There are now 4.8 million illegal aliens, mainly criminal aliens, who have outstanding “final deportation orders” after exhausting all appeals yet remain in the country indefinitely.

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By definition, ICE generally targets those illegal aliens who committed other crimes. So these are the ones we already know are problematic, yet almost none of them will ever be removed. It’s from this pool of repeat offenders that we will incur serious criminal activity, and it is all 100% avoidable because these people should have been removed.

The New York Post recently reported on 29-year-old Daniel Hernandez Martinez, who came to NYC from Venezuela via the conveyer belt at the border and has been arrested six times for 14 crimes in two months.

“This is not an isolated incident,” said a veteran NYPD officer to the Post. “These migrants are getting arrested quite often here, and we really don’t know who they are. They really don’t have ID. They’re not being vetted properly, but some of them are committing some of the most violent crimes here.”

Then there is Carlos E. Corrales-Ramirez, an illegal alien from Honduras accused of murder in Troy, New York. He was released from Clinton County jail just weeks before the murder even though he was wanted for a stabbing in Maryland in February. Border Patrol caught him in March near the Canadian border, but despite the outstanding warrant from Maryland, ICE dropped the detainer and Maryland never followed up on extradition. Another 100% avoidable murder.

Last month, Hermanio Joseph, an illegal alien who was released at the border by the Biden administration last month, was arrested for reckless driving that lead to the death of a child and injury of 23 other schoolchildren. His minivan recklessly veered into opposing traffic on State Route 41 in Clark County, Ohio, before he struck a bus carrying 52 schoolchildren, causing it to flip over and eject one child who died instantly. Like millions of others, Joseph was given a notice to appear before an immigration judge but remained indefinitely undetected.

We have not fully comprehended the long-term effects of this invasion of millions of unvetted, desperate, and volatile foreign nationals on crime, education, and health care in local communities. We will suffer needless deaths by external threats that our quite robust police state blithely ignores.

At its core, 9/11 was a reminder of the core social compact with government, particularly the federal government, in that it is responsible to protect the citizenry from external threats. Today, we have all the tools of government that were built in the wake of 9/11 primarily being used on its own citizens, as foreign nationals pour over the border in the millions every year. Many of those tools were used against us during COVID and have greased the skids for the biomedical surveillance state.

Thus, on this anniversary of 9/11, we must bring the discussion of external threats back to border security and endless visas. At the same time, we need to protect internal liberties by repealing the Patriot Act, refusing to reauthorize FISA when it expires at the end of the month, and ending the reign of terror at America’s airports. We must also repeal the draconian biomedical security laws passed in the wake of 9/11, such as the PREP Act and the 2002 Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, and allow the 2006 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act to expire at the end of the month.

We must remember how long-term prudent governance designed to protect against external threats has been replaced by governance via emergency and arbitrary power exercised against the people themselves. In other words, 9/11 is a reminder that the existential threat to our life, liberty, and way of life is not emanating from some cave in Afghanistan, but from the posh halls of the elite governing institutions right here at home. We empowered the very people responsible for the failure of 9/11 to clamp down on we the people while exacerbating our vulnerabilities to external threats. Now, 22 years later, the time has come to re-shift the balance between security and liberty back in favor of those of us who form the social compact.

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