The solons of Herndon have identified the problem: not immigrants, but illegal aliens. Do they really think that the activities of suspected jihadists such as “the Safa Group, a Herndon-based conglomerate of more than 100 interrelated businesses, think tanks and charities suspected of funneling money to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and al-Qaida” will be stopped by measures against illegal immigrants? Has it ever occurred to them that the jihad ideology could be held by natural born and naturalized American citizens?
And even worse is that this editorial praises them for their courage. Such is the state of the jihad resistance, October 13, 2006.
“Editorial: Herndon does a 180-degree turn,” from the Examiner of Washington, DC:
WASHINGTON – Since making national news last year for the controversy surrounding its taxpayer-subsidized day laborer center, the tiny town of Herndon has done an abrupt about-face. In May, angry voters ousted Mayor Michael O”Reilly, who supported the center, an elected Steve DeBenedittis, who did not. Only two incumbents on the Herndon Town Council survived their wrath; five candidates publicly committed to reversing the town’s illegal immigrant policy were swept in with DeBenedittis.
The day labor center was founded by Muslim activist Mukit Hossain, whose office is located right next door to the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a think tank that was raided by federal agents after Sept. 11 and is now the subject of a grand jury investigation in Alexandria’s federal court. Hossain also has close ties to the Safa Group, a Herndon-based conglomerate of more than 100 interrelated businesses, think tanks and charities suspected of funneling money to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and al-Qaida.
Just five months after their election, Herndon’s new leaders kept their promise. On Sept. 26, the Town Council voted 6 to 1 to send police officers to a five-week 287(g) training program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that will allow them to process and detain illegal immigrants identified during criminal investigations. The training program was created by Congress in 1996, but Herndon is one of the first in the nation to take advantage of it. Officials in Manassas and Loudoun County are now considering doing likewise.
Opponents claim it will allow local police officers to round up people merely suspected of being here illegally, but what the training really does is enable them to keep felons and gang members who are in this country illegally “” and also pose a significant threat to public safety “” off Herndon’s streets until they can be deported. No more “catch and release.”
On Thursday, the Herndon Town Council went even further, approving a measure that requires applicants for business licenses to swear “” under penalty of perjury “” that they are U.S. citizens. The town manager will also have to start obeying a Virginia state law that forbids the hiring of illegal workers for large construction projects by extending the illegal hiring ban to subcontractors working on town contracts.
Last year, Herndon “” population 23,000 “” suddenly found itself at the epicenter of the national immigration debate. Herndon residents are not xenophobic; their town has the highest percentage of foreign-born residents in the Washington region. But it’s also where three of the Sept. 11 hijackers stayed the night before they flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. So they”ve experienced firsthand the consequences of the nation’s experiment with uncontrolled immigration “” and decided the problems outweigh the benefits. “The town has no issue with immigrants,” Vice Mayor Dennis Husch told WTOP Radio after the ICE vote. “The town has issues with illegal aliens.”
And unlike many policymakers in Washington, Herndon’s elected officials and residents apparently have no problem differentiating between the two. The town’s amazing transformation from a magnet for illegal aliens last year to a jurisdiction on the cutting edge of federal and local law enforcement efforts this year also proves that even on supposedly intractable issues like immigration, voters at the grassroots level really can make a difference.