The WaPo’s Sebastian Mallaby argues that national security concerns don’t belong in the immigration debate. Aside from the fact that the evidence he adduces isn’t to the point, the logic of his argument could also be used to abandon all concern with airline security. After all, only an extremely small proportion of airline passengers actually want to use the jets as weapons.
Update: This WaPo article might be cited as evidence for Mallaby’s contention, but only if you ignore the "broken windows" theory of dealing with crime. Here’s the report on which the article is based, and here’s a description of the agency that’s supposed to administer whatever program comes out of Congress.
I’m willing to draw four conclusions. First, the federal immigration bureaucracy is not currently up to the ask of dealing with the enormous paperwork flow comprehensive immigration reform will generate. Second, rhetoric to the contrary, it’s unlikely that the culture of the immigration bureaucracy has changed all that much since 9/11. Bureaucratic cultures are notoriously resistant to change, so this isn’t surprising. Third, nevertheless, anyting that makes the agency better and enables it to identify potential or actual security risks more efficiently and effectively helps make the country safer. We’ll catch a few and deter a few more, which is, needless to say, a good thing. Finally, and most importantly, all this suggests that turning the terror threat into a "law enforcement" problem and going on the defensive is folly. By all means, enforce the law, but that can be only a part of what we do.