Mention immigration and national security in the same sentence, and the discussion quickly turns to terrorism, crime and illegal immigration, and the need to tighten the borders to protect against those threats. Just this week President Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico in the latest effort to do just that. But even as that debate grows ever shriller in the wake of Arizona's new immigration law, the Obama administration's National Security Strategy released Thursday could finally turn that tired discussion on its head. The real threat to U.S. national security, it rightly warns, is not the people we fail to keep out but those we fail to invite in.
The National Security Strategy (NSS), which is sent to Congress every four years, is designed to lay out in broad terms the administration's philosophy on what is needed to protect the vital interests of the United States. It generally focuses on short and long-term military and other security threats. The most famous NSS, which was released by the Bush administration in 2002, created the rationale for the subsequent invasion of Iraq by stating that the United States would act to pre-empt potential security threats.