ON-Lion Letter
A study from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in Washington, D.C., examines how foreign terrorists entered and remained in the country during the past decade.  To provide a more-complete picture of the threat, the report examines the immigration status not only of the September 11 hijackers, but of all 48 foreign-born, radical Muslim terrorists, almost all of them linked to al Qaeda, who have been charged, convicted, or admitted involvement in terrorism in the United States since 1993.

In "The Open Door:  How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered and Remained in the United States, 1993-2001," CIS director of research Steven A. Camarota compiles immigration histories for each of the terrorists.  Contrary to claims that foreign terrorists have come only as temporary visitors, research indicates that they have manipulated almost every possible means of admission to America. 

Some have indeed come as students, tourists, and business travelers.  Others, however, have been Lawful Permanent Residents and naturalized U.S. citizens, while yet others have snuck across the border, arrived as stowaways on ships, used false passports, been granted amnesty, or been applicants for asylum.

At the time they committed their crimes, according to the study, 16 (one-third) of the 48 terrorists were on temporary visas (primarily tourists), 17 (another third) were Lawful Permanent Residents or naturalized U.S. citizens, 12 (one-fourth) were illegal aliens, and three had applications for asylum pending.

Violations of immigration laws are very common among terrorists, the study also finds.  Not only were 12 of the 48 terrorists illegal aliens when they committed their crimes, but at least 10 others had significant violations of immigration law prior to taking part in terrorism.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports CIS's work on national security.
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