Political Correctness vs. National Security

By Patrick J. Buchanan – January 11, 2002

Is political correctness acquiring such a hold on the American mind as to constitute a threat to national survival? The question is not asked in jest. For consider, if you will, the latest charges of “racial profiling” laid at the doorstep of John Ashcroft.

At issue are the “absconders.” These are illegal aliens who, after being ordered deported for serious reasons, disappear into American society and hide. After Sept. 11, the nation awoke to learn that among the 8 million to 11 million illegal aliens here, some 300,000 were absconders who had ignored or defied their deportation orders.

Discovering that 6,000 of these absconders were citizens of countries with a history of harboring terrorists, the anti-terrorist task forces of the Department of Justice decided to put them at the top of the list for immediate deportation. These 6,000 young men, said The Washington Post, “hail from nations that U.S. authorities consider havens for Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network, and some have criminal backgrounds, authorities said.”

To most Americans, the first question might be: Why did it take Justice three months after the massacre of 3,000 Americans by Middle Eastern terrorists to establish such an obvious priority list for deportation from the United States?

However, the Post reports, the Justice Department “plan to give priority to a group of Arab and Muslim men over other foreign nationals has raised concerns among some Arab American and immigrant advocates groups that the Bush administration is practicing racial profiling in its war on terrorism.” To Wade Henderson of the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, Justice is using a “dragnet approach” of “rounding up men based on national origin rather than suspicious behavior or credible evidence.”

But what did Henderson expect? That for each young Arab male from Yemen who was here illegally and ignored a deportation order, Justice would run down one Finnish nanny and one Mexican cleaning woman to maintain an ethnic balance? This is carrying the principle of equality of treatment to absurdity.

Lest we forget, the Justice Department is trying to protect the American people by apprehending and removing from our society terrorists and their collaborators whose goal is to run up the body count of American civilians in their war to terrorize our people. And thus far, the suicide bombers and their accomplices seem to hail from the same region of the world.

As Barry Goldwater said, you go hunting where the ducks are. And these ducks are not in Guatemala. If it had been Mexican drug lords who had crashed the Boeing 767s into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Justice would rightly be running down Mexican males connected to drug trafficking to deport. But it was not.

A basic point needs to be established here. If a man commits a crime – be it murder or breaking and entering into the United States – he has no claim to justice just because he is forced to pay the price of the crime, while another evades it. The equal justice under law principle of the 14th Amendment does not mean that if one criminal goes free, all must go free – or if one group of illegal aliens is not deported, all have a right to stay in the United States. We the people of the United States, through the government, decide who stays and who does not, and when they go. Salus populi, suprema lex – the safety of the people is the highest law.

And whatever became of that self-confident nation some of us grew up in during the era of Dwight Eisenhower? In his first days in office in 1953, President Eisenhower determined that all aliens in the United States who had entered illegally would go back where they came from. And he ordered them all deported. The program carried the title of Operation Wetback. Imagine the reaction of the Washington establishment if, tomorrow, George W. Bush announced to the nation he was launching Operation Wetback II.

Americans understood, half a century ago, that if people came into your home who had not been invited and sat down at your table and demanded to be fed, you told them to leave. If they refused, you threw them out of the house. Or called the cops.

Are we a better country because we have allowed perhaps 10 million illegal aliens to walk in, demand the benefits of American citizenship – without being American citizens – and then protest the fact they were not being given equality of treatment in being sent back where they came from? Is it a better country – because it surely is not a safer one, is it?