A Security Perspective
It only takes a few issues for an individual to start the radicalization process and turn down the path of terrorism. These may be extreme cases of seeing one’s family murdered in their homes by Soldiers or just feeling like they are not being heard. Moghaddam’s staircase to terrorism states that individuals on the first staircase feel disgruntled and seek solutions, while individuals on the second staircase begin to feel they have had grave injustices (Moghaddam, 2005).
When dealing with undocumented migrants from a security perspective, Moghaddam's staircase should be considered by not treating undocumented migrants with inclusion and respect. This could cause them to feel injustices being done and misplaced feelings. These feelings of not being heard or mistreated are what terrorist organizations use to increase their numbers. Of the terrorists that attacked on 9/11, eleven were foreign citizens, and thirteen of them entered the United States as tourists, business travelers, or students. Not to state that all terrorists are immigrants, but immigrant policy, border control, and the efforts used to deal with illegal immigration are all aspects of reducing terrorism attacks (Krikorian, 2001).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden's administration has lifted restrictions that reduced visas issued to immigrants. This caused an increase from 79,000 visas to 130,000 visas within one quarter. In 2020 the United States only admitted 11,411 refugees, President Biden increased the cap in 2021 to 62,500 for the maximum amount the United States could admit, and by 2022 it is set to increase to 125,000 (Krogstad & Barrera, 2022).
Under the Constitution, undocumented immigrants have the right to due process if not facing deportation due to criminal convictions. They have the right to legal counsel and the right to free public education, along with the rights to unreasonable search and seizure (Millan, 2021). However, there have been many reports of ICE removal tactics that take undocumented immigrants away without a fair court hearing and threats to their civil liberties (ACLU, 2022). Along the border, there have been reports of ICE and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sexually abusing children, reports of abusing asylum seekers, sexually assaulting individuals, and denying fundamental human rights (Human Rights Watch, 2021).
Which falls back towards border security and reinforces Moghaddam’s Staircase; these abuses can be seen as grievances and injustices done to undocumented immigrants and their children. These grievances could lead immigrants towards drug cartels like the Los Zetas or Cartel Del Golfo, who have found a lucrative opportunity in migration flow within the United States. These undocumented immigrants may not join these cartels to fight against the United States but may use them to enter the United States (Davila, 2015).
There needs to be checks and balances within ICE and CBP or any organization dealing with undocumented immigrants. Accountability for crimes against undocumented immigrants needs to take place. According to the DHS report, They Treat You Like You Are Worthless, DHS must allocate federal funds to seek culture changes towards respect and embrace asylum seekers and ensure that there are enough resources that immigrants have fundamental human rights (Human Rights Watch, 2021, p. 4).
These are certainly steps in the right direction for the Biden Administration; oversight should continue to happen along the border, and individuals that are found guilty of abuse should be removed from their positions. When hiring positions along the border or dealing with undocumented workers, psychological exams should be done to see tendencies towards abusive behaviors. Also, it should be done in short tours with a rotation along the border, so individuals do not begin to disobey rules. When it comes to children’s policies, they should be put into place to ensure they stay with their parents and are not removed from at least one parental figure.
Every human being, regardless of status, should have the right to basic human decency and respect by providing classes and culture changes and oversight along the border and changing how we view undocumented immigrants. Then we can aid and possibly prevent individuals from either becoming terrorists or seeking criminal means into the United States. There needs to be policies and programs to prevent abuse and corruption from happening along the border, and undocumented immigrants being deported out of the United States need to be given due process. If individuals are caught being abusive, they also need to be subject to the full extent of the law. Holding individuals to the law is the only way to ensure that inclusion and respect are given.
ACLU. (2022, January 27). ICE and Border Patrol Abuses. Retrieved from ICE and Border Patrol Abuses: https://www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights/ice-and-border-patrol-abuses
Davila, A. (2015, June 16). Drug Cartels: Where Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling Meet Today. Retrieved from Huffpost: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/drug-cartels-where-human-trafficking-and-human-smuggling-meet-today_b_7588408
Human Rights Watch. (2021). They Treat You Like You Are Worthless Internal DHS Reports of Abuse by US Border Officials. Washington DC: Human Rights Watch.
Krikorian, M. (2001, November 1). Immigration and Terrorism What is to Be Done? Retrieved from Center for Immigration Studies: https://cis.org/Report/Immigration-and-Terrorism
Krogstad, J., & Barrera, A. (2022, January 11). Key Facts about U.S. immigration policies and Biden's proposed changes. Retrieved from Pew Research Center: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/01/11/key-facts-about-u-s-immigration-policies-and-bidens-proposed-changes/
Millan, A. (2021, April 26). Undocumented Immigrants' Rights Under the United States Constitution. Retrieved from Accessible Law: https://accessiblelaw.untdallas.edu/undocumented-immigrants%E2%80%99-rights-under-united-states-constitution
Moghaddam, F. (2005). The Staircase of Terrorism. American Psychologist.