Tuesday, January 25

PLANE CARRYING ILLEGALS IN U.S. AIRSPACE REGISTERED TO AFZAL HAMEED

At first blush, I saw this story's headline and presumed the plane's pilot was attempting to smuggle Mexican illegals into the country. After all, the long contiguous border with Mexico is as porous as Swiss cheese. Presidente Vicente Fox knows that enforcement is so spotty and our own president's backbone so uncommonly weak with regard to illegal immigration, that he's had his government print the equivalent of travel brochures -- a kind of "How To" guide on migrating illegally into the United States.

But, on closer reading of the story, it turns out this was a suspected smuggling operation involving Chinese nationals, and the aircraft involved -- a 20 year old Cessna -- was shown, according to FAA records, to be co-owned by Afzal Hameed of Dover, Delaware.

This ought to cause some heartburn, I would think, for Department of Homeland Security and FBI officials given news reports the middle of last week of law enforcement officials being on the lookout for four Chinese nationals in the Boston area who were suspected terrorists.

Our southern border, whether breached on foot or in the air by illegals, should be what it is seemingly not: a front-burner issue for the Bush Administration. Two male and two female Chinese nationals are likely not being flown into the country illegally to pick strawberries in the San Joaquin Valley.