Malkin: Bush Worst President Ever on Homeland Security

Robert Stacy McCain and several other editors and reporters from the Washington Times sat down with Michelle Malkin and Bryan Preston to talk about the state of the blogosphere and several hot topics. They’ve presented the transcript into three parts linked here.

In Part 1, she contends that “every journalist now, in the context of the 21st-century information age, is essentially a public figure. Everything that you say, whether it’s under a byline or offhandedly at a party, is something that could potentially become a public issue.” Whether that’s a good thing, it’s probably a reality. It certainly has been for Malkin. As she’s become more of a lightning rod, she’s had to be more careful.

I won’t get into the details, but it’s sad that I can’t do things on my blog that I used to when I started out. I used to post pictures of my kids. I used to talk about going fishing with them. I would give people heads-up — I used to have this feature called “Where in the World,” and I would talk about where I would be appearing, what book events, signings, if I was going to be in some part of the country and wanted people to stop by or whatever — I don’t do that anymore.

This exchange, in part 3, though, will likely be the focus of most discussion:

Mr. McCain: You just mentioned your being accused of being a cheerleader for the Bush administration. Immigration — you have been harshly critical of President Bush’s immigration policy. Why?

Mrs. Malkin: Because his policy is open borders, and I think it runs exactly contrary to the lip service he pays to homeland security. And I would say that his tenure has been as bad or possibly worse than Clinton’s or anyone’s preceding him. And he is vigorously pushing an amnesty that will make the 1986 amnesty look like nothing. He’s holding hands with Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the libertarian open-borders lobbyists who want to see this happen, and apparently he doesn’t buy his own rhetoric that homeland security starts with border security.

He goes and does these dog-and-pony shows down at the border that tout drones, and then, at the same time looks the other way where his own Treasury Department allows [illegal aliens to send] billions of dollars of remittances back to Mexico. There’s no incentive there for Mexico to improve its economy, for them to improve conditions so people don’t have to risk their lives going through the desert to get here to be able to support their families.

And then we haven’t even started to talk about the national security implications of granting another mass amnesty. We already know for a fact that there have been dozens of al-Qaeda operatives who’ve been able to stay in this country over the last several years, some of whom took advantage of these very kind of amnesty programs — we talked about this when you interviewed me for “Invasion.” Things have only gotten worse now. When was that — 2002? Five years ago?

The conflation of the illegal immigration and terrorism issues is problematic. It’s true that border control is somewhat fungible and that, if no one gets across, no al Qaeda terrorists are, either. Still, there’s no evidence that terrorists are having a particularly difficult time coming across by other means. Certainly, the 9/11 hijackers didn’t wade across the Rio Grande and then ride to Logan Airport in the trunk of a car.

Whatever one thinks of fruit pickers and poultry factory workers sending money home to Mexico, they’re not a terrorist threat. It’s hard to feed yourself, send money to support your family back home, and foment terrorism on $2.50 an hour.

Further, it’s rather odd to say that Bush’s policies are worse than Clinton’s or his predecessors, given that he’s following the same policies. No doubt, some it this is the political calculation of an increasingly large and decisive Hispanic vote. Mostly, though, it’s the intractability of having a 3000 mile border with a much poorer country, little in the way of natural barriers, and an ever-increasing demand for the services those people are willing to provide.

UPDATE: It also occurs to me that, if “homeland security” is one’s chief concern, it would make sense to direct one’s limited resources to rounding up potential terrorists than migrant farmworkers.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Borders and Immigration, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. You are, of course, correct. However, there are a large number of persons, Malkin included, who seem impervious to the economic facts that drive the situation. They further ignore what you note: that al Qaeda hasn’t had to use the US-Mexican border, nor are they likely to. Indeed, if they were going to sneak across borders (not that they need to do so, as the 9/11 attackers prove), they would probably come from Canada where a Middle Eastern population exists. There isn’t exactly a large Arab population that could be used as cover in Tijuana.

    Minor correction: the US-Mexican border is more like 2000 miles.

  2. Further, while I think that we have to be vigilant about terrorism, it seems that many have created an al Qaeda bogeyman that lurks behind every corner. While in late 2001 we had every reason to wonder if more attacks were coming, the fact of the matter it is would seem that al Qaeda lacks the sustained global reach that we feared that they had developed.

  3. Anderson says:

    How unfortunate that when Malkin shows signs of taking an untethered step away from Bush, it’s on such shaky grounds.

    I’m much, much more worried about loose nuclear material, or uninspected cargo containers.

    (My pet fear, which may have no basis in fact, is a nuke on board a tramp steamer that sidles up to Manhattan or the port of Seattle, and then they blow it on board — no unloading required. That would seem to avoid the limitations of “suitcase nukes” for instance.)

  4. Triumph says:

    it seems that many have created an al Qaeda bogeyman that lurks behind every corner.

    “Many,” meaning, Bush and his cabinent of fearmongers?

  5. Anjin-San says:

    Anderson…

    RE inspected cargo containers.

    So you want to put national security AHEAD of Wal-Mart profits??

    Liberal douche bag!

  6. legion says:

    So, Malkin, descendant of immigrants, finally starts considering Bush’s horrible impact on national security because of… his insufficiently hard-line stance on immigration.

    Irony… meter… pegging…

  7. Anderson says:

    Liberal douche bag!

    Actually, liberals believe the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, & are thus opposed to douching on principle. Don’t pretend you’re not one of us, Honorable Pilot.

    Irony… meter… pegging…

    Yah, I wanted to go there, but my doctor’s told me to cut my irony intake. I am just waiting for Malkin to propose that immigrants be rounded up & placed in remote camps. Maybe she’ll release a promotional cheerleader video touting that notion, and a certain work of history that will illuminate the prospect for us all.

  8. The problem with Malkin, O’Reilly, Dobbs, and the hard core immigration activists is they don’t talk about allowing people into the country. It’s all about sealing the borders and preventing people from coming into America. I don’t know about Malkin but I suspect O’Reilly and Dobbs don’t want more immigrants into the country period. Their wrong populist economics prevents them from seeing more people as a resource instead of a burden.

    I would like to stem the flow of illegal immigration simply because it’s illegal and the rule of law needs to be respected. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to fix the convoluted process that stops people from emigrating to the U.S.

    For the immigration activists seeking solutions to ease legal immigrants’ barriers to entry would soften their image and make it hard for them to be accused of being anti-Latino or xenophobic.

  9. LaurenceB says:

    “Amen” to what Sean said. Why isn’t streamlined legal immigration discussed more often as part of a solution to illegal immigration? It seems so obvious to me. If more Mexicans are able to migrate legally, less Mexicans will want to migrate illegally. Pretty simple really.

    Also “Amen” to what James said. This fixation on the Mexican border is getting really silly. It’s worth pointing out that not only will the big wall on the border not stop terrorists, but neither will it do anything to stop the estimated 50% of illegal aliens who enter by other (usually legal) means.

  10. Anderson says:

    Re: “streamlined legal immigration,” this NYT article was striking:

    A new coalition of more than 100 largely evangelical Christian leaders and organizations asked Congress on Monday to pass bills to strengthen border controls but also give illegal immigrants ways to gain legal residency.

    The announcement spotlights evangelical leaders’ increasingly visible efforts to push for what they say is a more humane policy in keeping with biblical injunctions to show compassion for their neighbors, the weak and the alien.

    Turns out the Bible isn’t exclusively devoted to the topics of abortion and gay marriage — who knew?

  11. Anderson,

    The call for reform is pretty inoccuous.

    Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform does not back particular measures, said Katie Barge, a spokeswoman for Faith in Public Life, the organizers of a news conference about the group.

    The group wants changes but nothing specific. Okay, that means nothing. It’s as useful a statement as me saying I want to eat, but not saying what food to consume.

    Amnesty is not acceptable to me because it was tried in the 1980s and didn’t work. We need a reform that encourages immigrants to respect U.S. laws and borders. Yet I want immigrants to come to the U.S. So while I shun amnesty I urge lifting HB-1 visa numbers, lifting immigration quotas, and streamlining the process to emmigrate. We need to make immigration law easier and more inviting while at the same time not condoning current lawbreakers.

    Turns out the Bible isn’t exclusively devoted to the topics of abortion and gay marriage — who knew?

    Anyone who has spent some time going to church.

  12. Anderson says:

    Anyone who has spent some time going to church.

    Which would seem to exclude many so-called evangelicals.

    And I think you may underestimate the value of their position — simply taking a moral stand can be as helpful as working out a specific policy package, sometimes moreso. Your own prescriptions sound sensible to me.

  13. Growing up in an old school, conservative Lutheran church I see some the services at those evangelical megachurches looking more like Oprah than church.

  14. Anderson says:

    Growing up in an old school, conservative Lutheran church I see some the services at those evangelical megachurches looking more like Oprah than church.

    Word. My ELCA church just got the new hymnal, and we are less than thrilled. I take it that you’re Missouri Synod or somesuch & thus spared such modernist misery.

  15. Michael says:

    Turns out the Bible isn’t exclusively devoted to the topics of abortion and gay marriage — who knew?

    Anyone who has spent some time going to church.

    Which would seem to exclude many so-called evangelicals.

    There is a difference between knowing and caring.

  16. Anderson, yes I grew up in the Missouri Synod. I’m a firm believer in traditional services and in good melodies so I only want to sing from the red hymnal not the blue one (you have to be in the Missouri Synod to understand). I’m not as conservative as the Wisconsin Synod where they established their own version of the Boy Scouts so members wouldn’t have to take oaths to God with non-Wisconsin Synod members. Doing so would be “too ecumenical.”

  17. Anderson says:

    I’m not as conservative as the Wisconsin Synod where they established their own version of the Boy Scouts so members wouldn’t have to take oaths to God with non-Wisconsin Synod members. Doing so would be “too ecumenical.”

    Whoa. Just “whoa.”

  18. tylerh says:

    Ms. Malkin may have a background in journalism, but her prominence is based on her vituperative commentator persona. Thus
    Ms. Malkin’s personal experience tells us little about the reality of the modern reporters, whatever that reality may be.

    If she wanted better treatment in public, perhaps she should have made some somewhat different choices in how she publicly treated others in her columns.

  19. Bithead says:

    (Sigh)
    I hate to have to do this, James, but I’m going to disagree, here.

    Mark Kirkorian as regards the FT Dix Jihad crew:

    They were doing jobs Americans won’t do — no, I don’t mean plotting to kill our soldiers. The three Kosovar illegal-alien brothers were roofers, precisely the kind of job that amnesty-boosters tell us we need immigrants for. In fact, I’ll be testifying Thursday before the House Small Business Committee, where one of the other witnesses will be someone from the roofing contractors’ association arguing for amnesty and even more immigration.