Prudent Immigration, Assimilation Keys to Deterring Homegrown Terrorism

Published on January 14th, 2015

By Joe Guzzardi
January 14, 2015

The United States should learn valuable lessons from last week’s tragedy in France that ended up with 17 dead and promoted the State Department to update its “Worldwide Caution” advisory to Americans traveling abroad. While many theories have been advanced about the killings’ root causes, few deny that the French immigration policy fell victim to political correctness, and lost control of what terrorists were plotting.

Consider the 751 French “no-go” zones, technically called “sensitive urban zones,” that ban law enforcement officials and tourists from entry.  Poor and increasingly alienated immigrants intimidated government leaders to cede authority, thus allowing the disaffected to have free reign. More than five million people live in the zones, and the majority is made up from France’s 10 percent Muslim population. Second and third-generation Muslims have French passports, and some have traveled to terrorist hot zones for training.

Because so many Middle Eastern and African immigrants have come to France during a relatively short time period, the government has had trouble keeping up with those who posed a risk to national security. The Kouachi brothers, two of the perpetrators of the Charlie Hedbo killings, were once under French surveillance, but were eventually dropped because of the growing numbers of potential terrorists that require watching.

America may itself be on the verge of violent radical shootings. ISIS re-released a threat it originally issued last September promising that it would kill police, soldiers, and citizens. Although disregarding the warning is folly, the Obama administration seems determined to ignore it. The FBI, shackled by the Justice Department-imposed political correctness, has identified 22 jihad camps located in nine different U.S. states, but is powerless to probe into their activities.

One reason the U.S. is at much as risk as France is because the two countries share the same open door, welcoming-without-question or the threat-of-enforcement immigration policy. Millions enter the U.S. each year. About one million immigrants arrive annually who become legal permanent residents, nine million more come on legal non-immigrant visas that they often overstay and additional millions illegally cross the Southwest border. In some cases, the Department of Homeland Security has little idea who they are or where they can be located. The Obama administration deports only a small percentage of illegal immigrants while the pro-immigration lobby has grown more powerful and better funded.

As long as America and other Western nations continue to admit high levels of worldwide immigrants, assimilation is critical to a harmonious future. Until the 1965 Immigration Act, more than 75 percent of America’s immigrants arrived from Europe. But that’s changed, Today’s immigrants come from far and wide, bring with them their own languages and cultures that, without assimilation, will eventually erode traditional America.

While immigrants to America are further along in their assimilation process than those who migrated to France, overall, more could be accomplished. Using the two most common barometers for assimilation, English language proficiency and citizenship, the results are disappointing. Among the 41 million immigrants who live in America, 13 percent of the total U.S. population, more than half have limited English proficiency and 54 percent of those eligible have not become citizens.

Immigrants can live more fulfilling lives with less animosity toward their new homelands if they learn English and work toward becoming fully integrated citizens. When left in their enclaves, as happened in France, deadly trouble eventually festers.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]

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