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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein

Immigration Bill Leaves
Wiggle Room On Border Fence

There are significant unreported loopholes and exceptions in the immigration-reform bill that could allow illegal immigrants to achieve permanent status before the border security portions of the legislation are executed, this column has learned.

One of the key selling points repeatedly cited by the bill’s “Gang of Eight” sponsors has been that illegal aliens will not be eligible for permanency until after the border-security provisions of the legislation are implemented.

However, this reporter’s review of the latest text of the bill, with the new Republican “border surge” amendment included, finds multiple possibilities for full immigration reform before the required border arrangements are in place.

Even the new border amendment leaves the possibility of gaps in the proposed pedestrian fence to be constructed along the border with Mexico.

The updated bill calls for over $40 billion in new border security provisions, including the stationing of 38,405 U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southern border as well as the construction of a 700-mile pedestrian fence along the 1,954 mile border.

The new Republican amendment to the bill contains a laundry list of new surveillance equipment to be installed, from cameras to seismic instruments, plus the construction of new integrated watch towers.

However, the bill contains language that would allow illegal aliens to achieve permanent status after 10 years before any or all of the new border security requirements are fulfilled.

The bill specifically states the “Secretary shall permit registered provisional immigrants to apply for an adjustment to lawful permanent resident status” after 10 years following the bill’s passage if litigation or a force majeure have prevented the fulfillment of the border security requirements, the implementation of a work visa program or electronic exit system.

Further, illegal immigrants can receive permanent resident status if the border requirements, the work visa program or the new electronic exit system has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In one of many possible future scenarios, if claims are brought to district courts that tie up construction of the border fence, illegal aliens still can achieve permanent status after 10 years.

In another scenario, the Supreme Court can declare surveillance techniques or any of the border control methods required by the bill to be unconstitutional, and illegal aliens could still become permanent residents.

There seem to be loopholes in the requirements for the 700-mile border fence, as well. According to the text of the bill, the fence is to be built on “nontribal” lands, meaning lands owned by Indian tribes may not require a fence. There are additional loopholes if any sections of the fence interfere with the environment, culture, commerce or quality of life of local residents.

A new border security strategy committee will determine the route of the fence.

Syria Signs Secret Deal With Russia

President Bashar al-Assad inked a secret deal that gives Russia the license to control natural gas resources in Syria, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The officials said Assad last month agreed to sign the document, considered an understanding of principles on control of his country’s gas resources, including transiting pipelines, in exchange for continued Russian support in resisting the insurgency against his regime.

The officials further said Russia helped broker a separate understanding with Assad that would allow public and private Chinese companies to rebuild damaged infrastructure in Syria if Assad defeats the insurgency.

The alleged deals underscore the economic benefits that may motivate Russia to back Assad while the West, including the Obama administration, aids the rebels seeking a post-Assad Syria.

Syria is a key energy transit route to Europe. A number of countries appear to be seeking dominance of the energy market that runs through Syria.

More On The U.S.-Libya-Syria Nexus

A Libyan weapons dealer from a group hired to provide security to the U.S. mission in Benghazi told Reuters he has helped ship weapons from Benghazi to the rebels fighting in Syria.

The detailed account may provide more circumstantial evidence that the U.S. Benghazi mission was secretly involved in procuring and shipping weapons to the Syrian opposition before the deadly attack last September that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

According to informed Middle Eastern security officials speaking to this column on multiple occasions, the Benghazi mission was a planning headquarters for coordinating aid, including weapons distribution, to the jihadist-led rebels.

After the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Khaddafi, the arming efforts shifted focus to aiding the insurgency targeting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

Two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack, this reporter broke the story that murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself played a central role in arming rebels and recruiting jihadists to fight Assad, according to Egyptian security officials.

In November 2012, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels, which was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda.

Now in an interview with Reuters, Libyan warlord Abdul Basit Haroun declared he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria. Most of the weapons were sent to Turkey, where they were then smuggled into neighboring Syria, he said.

Haroun explained he sent a massive weapons shipment from the port in Benghazi in August 2012, days before the attack on the U.S. compound. The weapons were smuggled into Syria aboard a Libyan ship that landed in Turkey, purportedly to deliver humanitarian aid.

Ismail Salabi, a commander of the February 17 Brigade, told Reuters that Haroun was a member of the Brigade until he quit to form his own brigade.

The February 17 Brigade provided external security to the attacked Benghazi U.S. compound, including the villa where Stevens lived when he was in Benghazi. Stevens held his last meeting with a Turkish diplomat in the compound and ultimately died there in the attack.

The February 17 Brigade is part of the al Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia, a militia that advocates the strict implementation of Islamic law in Libya and elsewhere.

Ansar al-Sharia initially used Internet forums and social media to claim responsibility for the Benghazi attack. Later, a spokesman for the group denied it was behind the attack.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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