In May, 2011, a report known as “Supervision of Aliens Commensurate With Risk“ was released by The Department of Homeland Security. The report details the methodology to be used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to arrest, detain and, where applicable, deport undesirable aliens. What has caused unusual attention to be paid to this document is the inclusion of an appendix, listing “specially designated countries” whose detained nationals are to be more closely examined. And, therein lies the rug: Israel is listed as a country considered to be a ‘Promoter, Producer, or Protector’ of Terrorists.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the extra investigation, known as a “Third Agency Check” Is a necessary tool to screen detained foreigners. Generally, the countries on the list are unsurprising; most are not democracies, many have majority Muslim populations. The most notable exception is the inclusion of the State of Israel and the exclusion of North Korea on this special watch list.
Finding America’s closest ally in the Middle East – and perhaps among all nations – on the ICE list has raised significant concern. When The Algemeiner queried ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen, she did, however clarify. “The United States,” she said, “does not and never has considered Israel to have links to terrorism. Israel is a partner in our efforts to combat global terrorism. Further, ICE does not issue such designations. As the OIG report notes, the purpose of the additional screening is to determine whether other agencies have an interest in the alien ICE has in custody the United States maintains close intelligence-sharing relationships with many of these countries in order to address security issues within their own borders and in our mutual pursuit of safety and security around the globe.” It is possible that countries may have been included on the list because of the backgrounds of arrestees, not because of the country’s government itself.
Christensen stressed that the list was initiated at least seven years ago, and was not created by ICE. Only five countries listed do not have majority Muslim populations – but each of those five countries has had significant problems with radical Muslim terrorist groups or insurgencies – including Israel. Could the holder of an Israeli passport actually be considered a terrorist threat? According to the DHS report, the answer is yes.
Christensen told the Algemeiner that the Department of Homeland Security list of 36 nations does not necessarily fault a listed government’s policies, but rather, examines the possibility that a suspect from that country might have terrorist ties.
If a traveler is detained, and his country of origin is on the list, a special check by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division is triggered.
The list, attached to a document released on May 10th 2011 from the DHS Inspector General’s office, was first reported this week by CNS News, a Christian news service.
The list includes a number of other close U.S. allies, including Turkey, Bahrain, Morocco and Philippines, as well as nations beset by internal fighting, such as as Sudan and Somalia. Israel was not on the list released in 2008; and is on the list released in 2011, when asked by the Algemeiner, the ICE declined to say who put Israel on the list or when Israel was put there.