Do lax immigration laws result in increased terror attacks on home soil? Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to think so. He shared his sentiments about America’s immigration regulations while at a press conference with Homeland Security. Sessions’ announcement comes just after two individual attempted terror attacks on domestic soil over the last few months. In the first attack, Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov careened through Halloween crowds in a truck in an attempt to kill as many people as possible. The second attack, carried out by 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant, Akayed Ullah, was an attempted suicide bombing meant to avenge Muslim deaths. Sessions believes both events could have been prevented by enacting tighter regulations around immigration.
▶ Sessions began by drawing attention to the fact that America’s immigration caseload has tripled since 2009. He called the system “overwhelmed,” suggesting that it was becoming impossible for judges to accurately try cases with such high volume. Nearly 50 new judges have been hired to accommodate the increase, with another 60 hires planned in the coming year.
▶ Although both of the recent terror attacks were committed by Muslim immigrants, Sessions was careful to caution Americans that immigrants from other countries may also pose a risk. He was especially concerned about illegal immigration by MS-13 gang members from Central America.
▶ Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen agreed with Sessions’ perception that America’s lax immigration guidelines are a problem, especially when it comes to MS-13 gang members. “These savage criminals are in our communities and they are a deadly consequence of our unsecured borders and our failed immigration policies.”
▶ MS-13 gang members are tied to at least a handful of murders over recent years, mostly in and around Maryland, Virginia, and other northeastern states. Attacks have largely been solitary and focused on individuals, failing to meet the criteria for a terror attack – but that doesn’t make MS-13 any less dangerous.
▶ Some analysts disagree with Nielsen and Sessions on the topic of MS-13 risks. Sociologist Robert Brenneman believes the link is little more than an opportunistic jab designed to give politicians a way to target immigrants. “Clearly, the MS-13 represents an opportunity for this administration to publicly herald his view of Central American undocumented youth as a menacing threat to the U.S.”
What can we do to make immigration less of a security threat?