I find myself in the unusual position today of agreeing with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) in his NY Daily News Op-Ed Wednesday (Guest column: Brooklyn terror suspects show it’s insane to not approve money for Homeland Security ) where he argues that security of the United States is too important and that funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is essential to protect our country. He is right. As we sit back and watch the latest drama unfold on Capitol Hill, one cannot but wonder why funding our national security would ever become a political issue. Clearly it is in our nation’s best interest to fund the agency which is responsible for protecting the homeland from terrorist attack. Now more than ever Congress should recognize that terrorism can happen in the West and is being called upon by radical leaders abroad. All they need to do is look at our friends in France, Holland and Canada to see recent examples of attacks on innocent civilians and local police. Moreover, recently the terrorist group Al Shabaab called for an attack on American civilians in shopping malls such as the Mall of America. Rep. King points out the need to fund DHS based on the three individuals who were arrested recently in New York City who planned to travel to Syria to fight with ISIL or attack American civilians in New York if they could not reach Syria. Rep. King is properly putting the people of New York and America ahead of a political agenda.
Regardless of one’s position on the legality of President Obama’s Executive Action memos or immigration in general, we should all be able to agree as Americans that the safety and protection of the people of the United States is a priority regardless of political party. As I write this, Congress is on a path to fund DHS for only three weeks. It is unfortunate that members of Congress continue to gamble with national security and our lives to advance individual political gain. We can only sit back and grit our teeth as the critical votes start to line up before a dysfunctional Congress that is putting party politics before American lives and wellbeing.
Rep. King correctly notes that “you don’t have to be a genius to carry out a terrorist attack.” You also don’t have to be a genius to understand that national security and the safety of America is more important than petty partisan politics. Rep. King gets it. Unfortunately, it seems there are not enough members of Congress who want to stand up and represent the American people rather than their individual parties and anti-immigration politics. We can only hope their selfish gamble doesn’t cost American lives.
Written by Matthew Maiona, Member, AILA Media Advocacy Committee