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A welcome-mat for terrorists

By Charles A. Morse
web posted April 17, 2006

In a Frontpage Magazine article entitled Immigrating Terror (4/4/06); columnist Rocco DiPippo writes about how Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank sponsored a series of immigration initiatives which were largely responsible for the influx of radical Islamic extremists and terrorists into this country in the years leading up to the 9/11 attack. I would like to follow up with a few observations.

Frank appears to have been motivated by the belief that there was something fundamentally wrong with a law that granted the U.S. Government the option to exclude foreigners based upon their ideological or political orientation. Frank seemed to have believed that as long as a foreign visa applicant was not proven to be involved in “terrorist activities,” he should be given a clean bill of health and granted entry. To do otherwise, in Frank’s view, would be politically incorrect.

Barney FrankAs his congressional opponent in the 2004 election, I debated Frank on his terror amendment and he responded to my questioning by stating that he had sponsored the  legislation because he felt that Americans had a right to be visited by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the author of Memories of my Melancholy Whores and a friend of communist Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Marquez had apparently been denied a visa because of his communist affiliations. As a sitting member of Congress, Barney Frank had the option to personally sponsor a visit from Marquez, not a security risk, and by doing so take responsibility for the tour. Instead, he chose to steward legislation through Congress that would make it more difficult for our government to deny visas to anyone with anti-American ideologies or associations.

He apparently wanted to help a foreign left-wing poet come to America so that he could make a ton of money selling books to gullible college students attending bourgeois institutions but, instead, he opened the door to anti-Semitic Islamic extremists who proceeded to flock to our shores after the passage of his law in 1990. The Islamic radicals would arrive legally, post Frank amendment, and proceeded to recruit potential terrorists, raise funds for overseas “charities,” and, eventually, to engage in “terrorist activities.” This according to the congressional testimony of terrorism expert Steven Emerson, as well as according to the writings of homeland security advisor Yossef Bodansky, Gerald Posner, the author of Why America Slept, and many others. Thanks to the misguided Frank immigration legislation, the Islamic extremists were able to enter with greater ease and less scrutiny where they operated under the color of the law. It would henceforth be more difficult for our government to investigate, coordinate, detain, and deport potential foreign terrorists.

Referring to the Frank Amendment, the crown jewel of Frank's quarter century career that included no less than 12 similar immigration initiatives, President Bill Clinton’s Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey stated in a Wall Street Journal article that “Congress had made it illegal to deny visas to members of terrorist groups.”

In compliance with the Frank amendment, the State Department, in it’s published manual to consular officers responsible for granting visas, would henceforth state that simply being a member of a terrorist organization or even applauding terrorism would not necessarily disqualify someone from entering the United States.

It is impossible to calculate the damage done by these laws and it will take years, possibly decades, to correct the damage. Foreign terrorists, several of whom had legal visas according to Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), blew up the twin towers and the Pentagon on 9/11 killing 3000 Americans. Ringleader Mohammed Atta entered with a legal visa on several occasions before 9/11. Zacarias Moussaoui entered with a legal student visa.

In 1995, the Republican Congress modified the Frank amendment but the ban on political and ideological exclusion remained. After 1995, however, the government could once again exclude an applicant for political incitement. Apparently, Frank thought incitement was ok for foreign visitors and not grounds for exclusion as he voted against the modest Republican reform.

The Department of Homeland Security reports that Radical Islamic sleeper cells are operating within our borders today and could act on a directive emanating from overseas. This is primarily why it is now necessary for law enforcement to tap suspicious overseas communications.

By removing the ideological and political exclusion from the books, settled law that dates back to the founding of the Republic, Barney Frank struck a blow to one of the most basic aspects of the sovereignty of this nation, and by extension, of all nations. That is the inherent right and responsibility of governments, any government, to deny entry to any foreigner who is perceived to be a potential enemy of the state. There is no such thing as a right to visit another country nor has there ever been such a right in international law or custom until Barney Frank decided that it was time for a change. The consequences of that change were and remain disastrous and predictable.

If we draw the concept of what the Frank amendment did into a microcosm, such a law would be akin to one that would deny the right of an individual to deny entry to another individual into his home simply because he didn’t like the person. One would have to prove that the unwanted visitor might pose as a direct threat in order to deny entry. Governments are charged with the moral and practical responsibility of protecting the national home and the lives and property of the citizens who reside therein.

During my 2004 campaign for Congress in Massachusetts, I was constantly told by friends and neighbors that Frank was “brilliant.” Former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA), not known as a friend of the congressman, told me that he was “the smartest member of Congress” and that he wished Frank “had been a Republican.” This is why it is difficult to understand the appalling stupidity underlying his immigration legislation.

Chuck Morse is the Republican Congressional candidate for the Massachusetts 4th district.

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