It seems that Krikorian looks at immigration almost exclusively through the lens of war. To him, we are at war with “the enemy,” and our battlefield is the border. His strategy: “block and disrupt the enemy’s ability to carry out attacks on our territory…then…find, pin down, and kill the enemy overseas” (289). His goal? Prevent terrorist attacks in the US. Danticat’s shows this mentality put in practice: immigrants seeking asylum are treated like terrorists. Are all? Probably not. The examples mentioned are most likely extreme examples. But I have to wonder. Who do they screen more carefully for terrorists: the immigrants or the immigrant-screeners?
The United States’ border is thousands of miles long, and we have hundreds of thousands of citizens. If terrorists are decently funded and moderately intelligent, they can sneak into the US without the government knowing. We can make it difficult for them by cutting off the obvious entry routes (the Mexico border, airports, seaports, etc), but this will not stop them. If what Krikorian says is true, that we can only stop terrorism by stopping terrorists from entering the country, we are quite frankly screwed. We cannot feasibly defend a many-thousand mile border.
If Krikorian is wrong, though, there is hope. And I think Krikorian is wrong. I think there is an easier solution. How do we stop terrorism? The same way you stop a little kid from hitting his big sister with a stick: you take away his stick.
There are wonderfully few ways to commit large-scale acts of terrorism. Biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons are tremendously difficult to create and use. Explosions are easier, but that doesn’t say much: airliners and crop-dusters are highly protected, and so are manufactured explosives. Homemade explosives are notoriously unstable. If the government can regulate the several dozen ways a terrorist could feasibly carry out an attack, there will be, presumably, few attacks.
I’m not saying that immigration security doesn’t play a part in preventing terrorism. Terrorists should not get into our country easily, but doing this should not mean treating immigrants as terrorists. Seeing life as war, and responding by treating all others as enemies, is frighteningly similar to that of the terrorists we’re trying to stop.