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, California Republican and 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 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 citizens concerned about our porous borders 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 open borders are destructive and 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 $4,698,000, just in 2001.
Sen. Jon Kyle, Arizona Republican, 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 Federation for American Immigration Reform examined data related to the cost impact of illegal aliens in California. It concluded that state taxpayers are paying $10.5 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration.
Responding to the position that illegal aliens who work help subsidize the overburdened Social Security system, FAIR says even if their contributions are subtracted from what they cost taxpayers, net outlays still amount to $9 billion per year. That breaks down to about $1,183 per California household headed by a native-born citizen. Is it fair that law-abiding American citizens subsidize law-breaking illegal immigrants?
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 flyers like me and little old ladies in wheelchairs at our airports - shouldn't at least as much attention be paid to the flood of illegal aliens pouring into this country?
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist and a host on Fox News Channel. Readers may also leave e-mail at www.calthomas.com. His column appears on Tuesday and Thursday.