The race to November is not just between Bush and Kerry. From AP:
WASHINGTON — More than 350 people who have committed crimes or are suspected of terrorist links have been arrested in a federal crackdown on foreigners with visa violations, part of a broader effort to prevent al-Qaida from disrupting U.S. elections.
Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a Homeland Security Department component known as ICE, are matching identities of visa violators nationwide with names on secret government terrorism databases in hopes of finding al-Qaida operatives.
“We’re intensifying it in the days leading up to the election,” ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said Friday.
Some groups representing Muslims and Arab-Americans are concerned some people may be targeted because of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.
“If somebody breaks the law in terms of their immigration status, they should pay the price,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We can only hope they are not targeting people based on whether they are Muslim.”
Yes, Ibrahim. Innocent people should not be targeted. But in view of the fact that Muhammad Atta and Co. were targeting people based on their being non-Muslim, and the realities of the jihad ideology that underlines global terrorism, it would be refreshing if you would bring your organization to be more helpful in efforts to identify terrorists within the Islamic community.
Special attention is being paid to the hunt for immigration violators because some hijackers involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks had violated terms of their visas.
One was Hani Hanjour, who never showed up for English classes as required by his December 2000 visa. About nine months later, he piloted American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
In its final report, the Sept. 11 commission said the government could have “potentially excluded, removed or come into further contact with several hijackers” if a better immigration tracking system had then existed….
Specific examples given by ICE of recent arrests include:
— A 32-year-old Jordanian, arrested after overstaying a visa, was living in an apartment in which agents found literature involving terrorist affiliations and Internet web sites. Deportation procedures are continuing.
— A 27-year-old Azerbaijani, attending a Maryland college, was arrested and deported after making violent threats against fellow students.
— A 22-year-old Pakistani who didn’t maintain his status as a college student in Oklahoma was found to have a loaded firearm, which is a violation for an illegal alien. He was deported.