Known Terrorist Centers in the U.S.

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New York Post, January 30, 2002

When Justice Department officials decided recently to go after some 300,000 deportation-dodgers - starting with 6,000 men from al Qaeda host countries - the predictable cries of "racial profiling" flew, almost on cue.

As it turns out, the 6,000 are the tip of the iceberg.

According to new estimates by the Census Bureau, some 58,000 men from Middle Eastern nations are here illegally. Women from those countries make it 115,000.

Another 40,000 hail from Pakistan. And who knows how many come from Arabic states in North Africa?

All told, officials figure that some 8.7 million foreigners are here illegally.

Sure, many of them harbor benign intentions; they seek work and a better life here. But even assuming that 99 percent of them have no anti-American impulses, that still leaves 87,000 who do.

And that doesn’t even count the terrorists who, like most of the 9/11 hijackers, sneak in legally.

If America were like any other sane country, it would know just what to do: G-men would immediately track down all 8.7 million illegals - and arrest those that pose a threat. They’d launch a fierce war to block terrorists from entering the country, legally or otherwise.

Resources sufficient for such a huge task would be marshaled. In the meantime, targets would be prioritized.

Which is why Justice’s plan to pursue those who’ve already gotten deportation notices, starting with the 6,000 from terrorist lands, makes good sense.

Next up should be illegal Middle Easterners, Pakistanis and natives of other suspect nations who have not yet been sent notices. (Think mass-mailing: "You may have already won . . . a trip back to where you came from.")

In America, of course, it’s not always easy to rally the kind of support needed for such a war, given its costs - and concerns about issues like "profiling."

But with potentially thousands of sleepers hiding out on American streets, draconian measures are called for.

Costs and "profiling" are the least of it.