Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Will Islamists check “member of terror group” on Green Card app?

From Fox News:

The suspect in the Times Square car bombing attempt is the latest in a series of U.S. citizens and green card holders to be implicated in a terror plot inside the United States, raising questions about the naturalization process that turns foreigners into Americans.

Several hurdles are in place for immigrants to attain U.S. citizenship and, in turn, its platinum-status passport. Pakistani-born suspect Faisal Shahzad, according to reports, passed clean through his security checks and became a U.S. citizen in April 2009. He first entered the United States on a student visa in the late 1990s.

While the citizenship process is rigorous and takes about four months, there are areas it can miss.

Take foreign travel.

The main citizenship form asks applicants for a five-year history of their travel outside the United States. It also asks a series of questions about the applicant's criminal and personal background, including whether they have ever been a member of a terror group; ever advocated for the overthrow of any government by force; ever been a part of the Nazi government; ever been a prostitute; ever been "a habitual drunkard"; ever been a polygamist; ever committed a crime but not arrested; or ever lied to get into the United States.

This section sounds a bit outdated.  The question, “ever been a part of the Nazi government” needs to be changed to “ever been affiliated with the Islamic religion or support the Islamic ideology?”

These questions rely a lot on the individual's honesty -- terrorists applying for citizenship probably won't check the box declaring their outlaw affiliations.

Probably not.

Similarly, if they've lied to get into the United States before, they are unlikely to admit it during the naturalization process.

A series of background checks, which apply to everyone, is meant to catch the liars. But while travel records may come up in the process, the immigration official said the process does not look in depth at foreign or domestic travel.

"It's just not something that we need to know a lot about," the official said.

And why not?  Another ignorant bureaucrat.

But as thorough as the process is, [you got to be kidding] the background checks cease once an individual gets his or her citizenship.

Peter Brookes, a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation, said a major goal of a group like Al Qaeda is to get people inside the U.S. system, where they can move freely.

"If you get somebody inside the wires, they would say in the military ... if you can keep somebody below the radar screen, allow them to operate without suspicion, they can get into Times Square with a van filled with explosives," he said.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., told Fox News that it would be going too far to re-examine naturalized U.S. citizens from select countries like Pakistan in light of this incident.

Joe, Joe, Joe.  You need to get out more.  That is a really really really ignorant comment.

"I wouldn't want to single out a group," he said, calling the majority of citizens of Pakistani descent "totally loyal to our country."

You need to start singling people out who have been here for less than a given period.  You need to single out the “frequent travelers” and those who have been here a short time. 

But he said an "old law" that allows the U.S. government to strip somebody of his or her citizenship if he is found fighting with an enemy military force should be amended to cover people found to be affiliated with foreign terror groups.

Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado shuttle driver and Afghan citizen, also was able to clear the immigration process and become a permanent U.S. resident. He pleaded guilty in a plot to bomb the New York subway system in February.

For those who come from outside the United States, the naturalization process is complicated and lengthy. 

Apparently not complicated and lengthy enough!

Click here to review the questions on the citizenship application form.

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