Among Michelle Malkin's many virtues as a columnist is her keeping tabs of patterns that the rest of us might have missed. In today's column she notes a particularly distressing one: immigrants claiming "political asylum" who are later accused or indicted on terrorism charges. She points to four instances:
- Ramzi Yousef: He arrived from Pakistan with an Iraqi passport but no U.S. visa. Claiming political asylum, he was briefly detained for illegal entry, then allowed to enter the United States because the immigration authorities lacked space to hold him. Yousef went on to plot the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, for which he now sits convicted in a U.S. jail.
- Mir Aimal Kansi: A Pakistani who received a business visa in 1991 to enter the United States, despite his known history as an Islamist. After arrival, he claimed political asylum based on his ethnic minority status in Pakistan. He obtained a driver's license and an AK-47, then went on a murderous rampage outside the CIA headquarters in January 1993, killing two employees and wounded three others. He was convicted in 1997 of capital murder and nine other charges, for which he was executed on November 14, 2002 by lethal injection.
- Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer: A Palestinian who entered the United States illegally from Canada in about 1996, claiming political asylum based on alleged persecution by Israel. Released on a $5,000 bond (posted by a another illegal alien), he skipped his asylum hearing. In June 1997, a federal immigration judge ordered Mezer to leave the country on a "voluntary departure order," which Mezer ignored. He was arrested in July 1997 as he was about to bomb the New York City subways, for which he now sits convicted in a U.S. jail.
- Nuradin M. Abdi: A Somali, whom prosecutors allege received a bogus "refugee" status in 1999, then fraudulently obtained a refugee travel document which he used to fly to Ethiopia for Al-Qaeda's jihad training. On returning he began plotting to blow up a shopping mall in Ohio, for which he now sits accused in a U.S. jail.
In addition, here are more "political asylum" immigrants whom Malkin does not mention but who fit the same pattern:
- Omar Abdel Rahman: The blind Egyptian sheikh who, although already on a terrorism "watch list" when he arrived in the United States, nevertheless acquired a tourist visa and then permanent residency. When it was understood who he was, this was revoked and Abdel Rahman applied for political asylum. He was allowed to remain while his application was being considered, which time he used to guide his disciples who blew up the World Trade Center in 1993 and then plotted to blow up New York City landmarks in 1995; he now sits convicted in a U.S. jail for the latter offense.
- Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet: An Egyptian who entered the United States as a tourist in 1992, he then applied for political asylum, claiming discrimination on account of his religious beliefs – shorthand for being an Islamist, indeed a member of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya ("the Islamic Group"), a group engaged in terrorism since 1981 and listed in the State Department's 1992 edition of Patterns of Global Terrorism. The immigration authorities ruled against his asylum application in March 1995 and formally began the deportation procedures but Hedayet disappeared. In July 2002, Hedayet engaged in a shooting spree against the El Al counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two before being shot dead himself.
There are also related cases, for example that of
- Nasser Ahmed: An Egyptian associate of Omar Abdel Rahman who applied for political asylum in 1996, spent three years in American jail on charges kept secret for reasons with "national security implications," and then set free.
As Malkin sardonically puts it, "The feds deserve credit for tracking down asylum abusers suspected of terrorism. But homeland security would be easier to achieve if they did a better job of keeping murderous frauds out in the first place." (June 16, 2004)