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The Collective
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Fox News: Brothers Charged in Terror Plot Lived Illegally in U.S. for 23 Years

Three brothers charged in the alleged Fort Dix terror plot have been living illegally in the U.S. for more than 23 years and were accepted as Americans by neighbors and friends who had no idea they would scheme to attack military bases and slaughter GIs.

A federal law enforcement source confirmed to FOX News that the three — Dritan “Anthony” or “Tony” Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 26; and Eljvir “Elvis” Duka, 23 — also accumulated 19 traffic citations, but because they operated in “sanctuary cites,” where law enforcement does not routinely report illegal immigrants to homeland security, none of the tickets raised red flags.

The brothers entered the United States near Brownsville, Texas, in 1984, the source said, which would put their ages at 1 to 6 when they crossed the border.

The source said there is no record of them entering by way of a regular border crossing, so they are investigating whether they were smuggled into the country.

Now, I will confess that I am surprised to learn that they possibly came across in Brownsville (although how this is known is unclear), not because I don’t see how it could happen (I can), but more because Brownsville is a long way from Jersey (and because there are so many ways to get in that going via Brownsville seems like a lot of trouble). Still, the fact that they were brought in as children hardly shows some vast al Qaeda plot to use the Mexican border as a means of penetrating the United States. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Michelle Malkin from crowing about how the Duka brothers came across the Mexican border (which is one of her great areas of interest). It is noteworthy that Malkin’s post doesn’t comment on the fact that the alleged crossing took place when the brothers were still in diapers (her update does have the information in a block of quoted information, and it is, to be fair, highlighted along with some other bits of information). Debbie Schlussel, not surprisingly, also finds the case to be evidence that terrorists are entering via the South and that we need a law that requires all traffic stops to result in immigration status checks (which would likely translate into checks of mostly darker hued persons with funny accents, not checks of everyone stopped). Indeed, since I carry neither my passport nor my birth certificate around with me at all times, I must confess that I couldn’t prove that I was in the country legally were I to be stopped. Indeed, unless Schlussel wants a national ID card to go along with her law, I am not sure how it could work.

There is a legitimate debate to be had about border security, but to date the notion that the southern border is letting in droves of terrorists continues to be a fear rather than a reality. That some kids were smuggled across the border who then lived in the USA for two decades and ended up being part of a plan to attack Fort Dix hardly proves that the southern border is a major problem in regards to counter-terrorism.

Indeed, if al Qaeda is so smart that it was able (before it even existed, mind you) to smuggle in toddler sleeper agents who would one day be poised, in the post-911 world, to wreak havoc on New Jersey after some paint-ball training, well then we are as good as doomed and might as well quit now.

BTW, I am betting that the lack of immigration checks were as much about bureaucratic inefficiency and inadequacy as was some issue of giving sanctuary to illegal aliens who commit traffic violations. Further, the issue of whether city police are concerning themselves with immigration status has more to do with the fact that they don’t have the resources to be the INS and the local police at the same time as it does with any specific desire to create “sanctuary” per se (I know that some will object to my characterization, but there it is-indeed the whole question of what local law enforcement can and should do with illegals is a long and involved discussion and not as simplistic as many think that it is, but that is a side issue to this post).

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  1. I’m not inclined to automatically link these guys to Al Qaida directly - looks more like, if anything, they could have been inspired by the Bin Laden types.

    But - that they were here illegally, and (ostensibly) getting ready to launch a terror-type attack, does, at least at some level, validate the idea that terrorists can enter the country through the Mexican border. They may not have been card-carrying Al-Qaida opperatives, and may have come here as infants, but the facts remain (or appear to be) that these guys were here illegally, got here through Mexican border, and planned an attack on US soil.

    So if they can do it, why couldn’t Al Qaida opperatives? If they could gain entry to Mexico (and I’ll admit I do not know how hard that would be, or how porous Mexico’s borders are), why would it be any harder for a real group of UBL sponsored agents (or Iranian/Hezbollah agents, or fill in the blank agents)? If you can smuggle a child - how much harder is it, really, to smuggle an adult? At least an adult can control his or her bowels and knows not to cry at an inopportune time.

    I can understand the desire to keep the incident in perspective, this was a small group of guys with no known direct link to overseas terror, but it seems entirely legitimate to me to raise some red flags about border security when you start catching illegal aliens involved in this sort of thing, regardless of what their connections are.

    Comment by CPT D — Wednesday, May 9, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  2. I don’t think this event says much, if anything, about illegal immigration. The real concern is that several of the suspects have lived in the US their entire lives and that over that time (perhaps more than just the six years since 9/11) they built up such hatred for America.

    I am still a little confused as to why they would target a military base unless they hold a particular grudge against the US military and perhaps public officials. Fort Dix doesn’t seem like the most likely target to produce mass casualties.

    Comment by Mike — Wednesday, May 9, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  3. There was an interesting article a few weeks back in the NYTimes, I believe. It was an interview with a couple of Iraqis who had worked with the US in Iraq and were subequently targeted for assassination by one of the many insurgent groups there.

    These guys fled to Jordan, thinking they could get asylum from the US and move to the States. The US envoy, however, gives very few visas to Iraqi war refugees.

    These guys apparently found their way to Spain where they, in turn, flew to Mexico, and made it over the border where they were granted some temporary refugee status.

    These guys obviously had money, but it showed that there are some folks from the Middle East successfully getting to the US through the southern border.

    Comment by Ratoe — Wednesday, May 9, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

  4. I don’t know how the Duka boys got to the U.S. But I do know that they lived in Brooklyn Ny years ago. I went to elementary school with them!

    Comment by melanie — Tuesday, May 15, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

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