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Once Again, We Are Reminded

Reader comment on item: Terrorist Profs

Submitted by Dr. James M. Buccigross (United States), Feb 24, 2003 at 09:35

This article yet again reminds us first & foremeost of the the need to completely re-examine & overhaul our immigration policies and procedures. The dangers of an irresponsible, though well-intentioned immigration philosophy are repeatedly demonstrated with an alarming frequency. In this day & age, we can no longer afford the luxury of a liberal & lax attitude toward the influx of individuals who seek to enter the U.S.

While it is true that the majority arrive seeking a better life by truly sharing in the American vision and open to participating fully in our culture, there is a significant number who have no such intentions, who seek to breach our borders in order to do us harm because they wish to see our culture humbled, defeated, and destroyed. And while this may be true of the most extreme end of the continuum, there are also those who, while not directly wishing us such harm, are drawn to our country in order to exploit it in numerous ways, who do not wish to be contributers to our society. The bottom line is, we have been harmed by our current policies and practices, based upon the laudible, but perhaps out-dated philosophy of offering santuary to all, and we need to seriously and soberly re-examine this philosophy in the light of 21st century reality.

I am not ignoring the issue of academia being hijacked to provide a haven for terrorists - I believe strongly in open & free academic discussion and debate, even if many so-called "liberal" academics appear to have a narrower view of freedom of expression when applied to those who disagree with them. But our attitude toward, and policies regulating immigration are still the first line of defense in safeguarding our borders from maurauders masquerading as innocents. Academia has the right to present any point of view - but with such a right comes the responsibility to try to guard against just the type of situations that are discussed in the article. That job would be made easier if our immigration policies were overhauled. But the final responsibility would remain with the academic community itself - I, for one would not like to see legitimate programs of study lose the subsidies that should be available for them. But how to accomplish this task remains the crucial question in this sphere.

Our British, Continental European, and Canadian allies who have even more liberal policies toward immigration than we have are starting see the peril thus engendered. But it is one thing to recognize there is a problem, and another to do something about it. Hopefully, it is not too late & we can shake off the paralysis brought about by an overly-idealistic - though again, well-intentioned - philosophical position toward immigration & have the courage to make the changes that will benefit both our nation & legitimate immigrants who enrich our culture and contribute to our shared society. Perhaps this seems like a tall order, but it is one that we can no longer put off - only at our own peril.

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