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The Department of Homeland Security conducted a simulated terrorism drill this week in Connecticut and New Jersey to assess the speed and effectiveness of law enforcement and emergency medical personnel. Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said a major reason for the drill was to find our "weak spots." What does it say about our anti-terrorist efforts if we are now preparing for disasters in Connecticut and New Jersey instead of directing substantial efforts on our weakest spot: the borders?

The Bush administration's weakest spot is its refusal to stop illegal aliens (not "undocumented workers" in the politically correct lingo that seeks to pull the wool over our eyes) from invading our nation.

Numerous officials have said that another terrorist attack is not a matter of if, but when. Among those working for low wages in fields, restaurant kitchens and other venues are radical Islamic terrorists whose sole purpose is to kill Americans and weaken our economy. They have said so and continue to say so in their schools and mosques on American soil and in similar venues around the world. In the face of this, we get nothing but meaningless mumbo jumbo from defenders of illegal immigration, who ask us to look at how much these lawbreakers are contributing to Social Security.

Last weekend, a group of concerned citizens gathered along the Arizona-Mexico border to assist the understaffed Border Patrol in locating illegal aliens. The Minuteman Project says 118 were caught because of their efforts. Instead of praising this peaceful assembly, President Bush has called them "vigilantes." They are no such thing. They are citizens of this country who want to preserve what they have come to love about America. They believe that open borders are destructive and that illegal immigration is a threat to the security and character of the nation.

Illegal immigration is also costing taxpayers a lot of money. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, welfare payments, including food stamps, paid to illegal immigrants in Arizona cost $4.7 million just in 2001. Sen. Jon Kyle, R-Ariz., asked the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association how much illegal aliens cost state taxpayers. The answer he received was $31 million in just one year. Lawbreakers get free medical care, which taxpayers subsidize, placing a further burden on our health care system.

The Minuteman Project is temporary. Though U.S. and Mexican authorities estimate the volunteers have reduced the flow of illegal immigrants by half, the citizen groups are expected to be gone next month, and the areas where they have been patrolling will likely return to a virtual superhighway for lawbreakers. Meanwhile, smugglers and individual trespassers have shifted their presence to less protected border areas.

The Departments of State and Homeland Security announced Tuesday that American citizens will be required to show a passport when re-entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Panama, Bermuda and the Caribbean by 2008. Whatever benefits might come from this new effort -- and the ridiculous body searches of frequent fliers like me and little old ladies in wheelchairs at airports -- shouldn't at least as much attention be paid to the flood of illegal aliens pouring into this country?

Some politicians think the illegals will vote for them after they receive amnesty. But this is a fool's bargain, especially if perpetrators of the next terrorist attack are found to have arrived by way of Mexico or Canada.

Multiply those fake "terrorist" attacks in New Jersey and Connecticut and consider what the real thing would look like. Then ask yourself how our government will ever justify to the dead and injured why it was not more vigilant when it counted.