OP-ED: Don’t wave the flag in my face, close the border

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Don’t wave the flag in my face, close the border

If you are one of the tens of thousands of Americans who bought a flag this week, my column is dedicated to you.

Or if you’re among the millions who linked hands in church to sing “God Bless America” then pay special attention to what you are about to read.

The unhappy message that I have to deliver to almost of you who are now bursting with patriotism is that you have helped — through your passivity — make this horrible moment possible.

By refusing to become involved in the democratic process and by steadfastly turning your back on the compelling issues that surround you, you have helped make it possible for terrorists to carry out their heinous mission.

If only you had paid as much attention to what goes on in Washington regarding your freedoms as you did to Jon Benet Ramsey, O. J. Simpson, Princess Diana and Gary Condit, then possibly — just possibly — things might be different.

Had you put down your remote to pick up a pen, we might have had some changes in our immigration laws that would have made such a blatant infiltration of our country impossible.

Instead, we have terrorists mingling among us with complete ease. They open checking accounts, attend our community colleges and send their children to our schools.

For 12 years, my column has urged you to demand of your Congressional representatives that United States immigration laws be reformed. I have called for a common sense approach to immigration that would be fair to immigrants and native born. Such a policy would have had the best interests of the country at heart.

But you couldn’t spare the time.

Lax airport security is not the main cause behind the attack. The planes were hijacked because the terrorists were in the country. If we had kept them out, then the rest of the scenario would never have played out. The U.S. has open borders. Anyone can get in. And once you’re in, you’re home free.

The indiscriminate distribution of visas has been badly in need of review for years. The U.S. issues about 6 million visas annually. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can get a visa for any half-baked reason.

If you enter the U.S. on a business or student visa, as some of the terrorists did, when your visa expires, so what? No one will chase you. According to some experts, thousands of individuals determined to do harm to the U.S. are roaming about the country.

No nation serious about its security would give business visas to foreign nationals from the Middle East without at least tracking their activities.

What democratic country in its right mind would give student visas to college-age students from Syria?

Any analysis of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attack has to begin with some hard questions:

How did the terrorists get into the U.S.? What compelling reason allowed them to remain in the U.S.? Why weren’t they sent home when their visas expired?

You won’t be comforted by the answers. What you will learn instead is that, despite what you are currently hearing, U.S. leaders have not given your safety one instant of thought until now.

Ironically, on that fateful Tuesday, I was on a tour of the Arizona/Mexico border with a retired Border Patrol agent.

What struck me as I drove along miles of unprotected land was not how hard it would be to secure the border but how easy it would be.

A mere 1,700 border patrol agents protect our entire southwestern border

If the U.S. can station thousands of military personnel in Germany or Bosnia, surely the government can find a way to protect was is known along the border as “Cocaine Alley.” But according to one rancher, “The government just isn’t interested.”

And George Bush’s sudden passion to protect us is a cruel joke, too. Two weeks ago, I called Bush a gold-plated phony. Although the country has rallied around him and while I am pulling for him to rise to the occasion, I stand by my statement.

With death and destruction all around him Bush is talking the talk. But look at what his agenda was until the World Trade Center came tumbling down.

Bush met five times with Mexican President Vicente Fox to push through, against the will of the American people, an amnesty/guest worker program. I do not recall hearing one single word about security or background checks for any who might qualify for amnesty.

His silence on security was odd since the last amnesty legalized hundreds of criminals.

On the very day of the terrorist attacks, Congress was poised to vote on an extension to Section 245i. That provision states that any illegal immigrants who have been working in the country or have family ties may apply for a green card for $1,000 fee. Again, I heard nothing about background checks.

Let’s be clear. Immigration doesn’t equal terrorism. But stupid immigration laws have lead to terrorism.

Now that you’re awake, take the next step. Become involved. Our porous borders have made this terrible event possible.

And until you express your feelings to Congress, please don’t wave your flag in my face.

Joe Guzzardi, an instructor at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly opinion column since 1988. He can be reached via e-mail.

-- K (infosurf@yahoo.com), September 21, 2001


Response to OP-ED: DonÂ’t wave the flag in my face, close the border

Altho I agree immigration is a problem , its not the reason we are under attack by terrorists,its our goverments meddling in other countries affairs.

-- Edward Carlton Elliott (eell@webtv.net), September 21, 2001.

Response to OP-ED: DonÂ’t wave the flag in my face, close the border

I agree on the porous border issue. But all of this neglect started well before Bush, who has only been in office 9 months.

I think now EVERYTHING is about to change.

I have just been watching the TV telethon. Miracle of miracles, it seems like the Hollywood left is becoming patriotic, at last.

Maybe there is some hope for this country yet.

-- JackW (jpayne@webtv.net), September 22, 2001.

Response to OP-ED: DonÂ’t wave the flag in my face, close the border

I agree somewhat by your border control points and the fact that our citizens are not engaged... However, it is the disarming of our passengers that makes them victims to terrorists.

-- Justo Perez (jujumon@earthlink.net), September 22, 2001.

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