Tulsa, hiding place for terrorists?


Syndicated columnist Terence Jeffrey writes today about the efforts of House Republicans, led by Tulsa Congressman John Sullivan, to increase immigration enforcement in parts of the country that are far from the nation's borders. Why does it matter? Here's Jeffrey's lead paragraph:

Were terrorists to sneak across our border today and need a place to hide, a rational analysis of U.S. immigration enforcement would point them toward Tulsa, Okla. There is little chance the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would look for them there.

The U.S. government rarely enforces immigration laws in Tulsa -- even though the government says there are tens of thousands of illegal aliens in Oklahoma. This could begin changing, however, if House Republicans get their way in ongoing negotiations with the Senate over the final language of the intelligence reform bill being crafted in response to the 9/11 Commission report.

The bill would double the number of Border Patrol agents from 10,000 to 20,000, triple the number of ICE investigations officers from 2,000 to 6,000, guarantee at least three new ICE agents in every state, and give the Department of Homeland Security more authority to quickly deport illegals from countries other than Mexico.

Sullivan is pushing specifically for agents for Tulsa, following two incidents in which van loads of illegal aliens had to be released because no ICE agents were available and there was nowhere that the suspected illegals could be detained while waiting for the agents. Although Sullivan had succeeded in tripling the number of ICE agents in Oklahoma from two to six, there still wasn't coverage in Tulsa when the latest incident occurred last month:

Just before midnight on Sept. 21, police from the Tulsa suburb of Catoosa stopped a truck for speeding on Interstate 44. There were 18 people on board, including teen-agers. Only two had valid identification. The others were suspected of being illegal aliens. One was arrested for possessing a substance thought to be cocaine. ICE told the police to let the rest go.

The Tulsa World reported: "Because no holding facility was available, [ICE regional spokesman Carl] Rusnok said, the individuals would have had to stay out on the road for several more hours before an agent could arrive at the scene. 'That's just geography,' he said."

More than three years after Sept. 11, 2001, Tulsa, Okla. -- in the heart of the heartland -- remains beyond the perimeter of U.S. immigration enforcement.

So John Sullivan has a bill that specifically requires the stationing of ICE agents in Tulsa. The ability to control our borders is crucial to our national security. If illegals get beyond our borders -- not tough, given the length of our borders -- we've got to be able to deal with them anywhere in the country we may find them. It's good to know that we have a Congressman in Tulsa who understands the importance of the issue.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 29, 2004 1:08 AM.

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