[Written by guest blogger emeritus See-Dubya]
Hello—I go by See-Dubya on the web, and I used to guest-blog here for Michelle back in 2008. Then I retired from blogging, but I’m coming back just this once to tell you about my trip to 7-11.
It was actually only near 7-11; I didn’t go in. The parking lot was too crowded. It was raining and it was early in the morning and my windows were fogged up but I pulled in across the street, turned my headlights off, and one of the three or four dozen men who were hanging around the lot (despite the miserable downpour) came out to see me. One little guy in an orange shirt and a ball cap, who looked to be in charge, came up to my window, but I just smiled and waved him off and fooled with my phone. So he smiled and went back to leaning on his truck. I think he thought I wanted to pick up some day labor.
I wasn’t, but hat’s understandable: this particular 7-11 has a reputation as a place to pick up day labor. It has had that reputation for at least ten years, probably longer. Every time I’ve driven by there, there the laborers are. There’s a lot of places like this in America today, probably some of them 7-11s, where day laborers gather in hopes they’ll get picked up for a job.
This particular 7-11 (you can see the sign, and the workers, in the background, through the monsoon) is in Falls Church, Virginia, on the Leesburg Pike, just down the road from the Dar al-Hijrah mosque. Ten years ago, a charismatic imam named Anwar al-Awlaki manned the pulpit there, and a U.S. soldier named Nidal Hasan listened to his sermons in the congregation.
In fact just a little over ten years ago a couple of worshipers from Dar al-Hijrah drove up to this particular 7-11. They weren’t really interested in hiring the day laborers so much as getting someone to help them acquire forged identification. That turned out to be a fellow named Luis A. Martinez-Flores, himself an illegal immigrant, and he walked the two Arabs, Hani Hanjour and Khaled Almidhar, through the process of getting Virginia ID cards—after which they returned to this particular 7-11, withdrew $100 from the ATM, and handed it to Mr. Martinez-Flores.
Around five years ago Michelle went to this particular 7-11. She talked about what had happened there on her then-new website called Hot Air. Her video isn’t there anymore, but it made quite an impression on me. Now that I live in Northern Virginia, every time I drive past that particular 7-11 I point it out to my family. I don’t want them to forget why that particular 7-11 is special. That’s where Hani Hanjour and Khaled Almidhar ten years ago used the ID’s they bought so easily at this day labor bazaar to board American Airlines Flight 77 out of Dulles, and then to take it over and fly it into the Pentagon. They had also, according to Martinez-Lopez’s federal indictment, used these ID’s to procure ID’s in turn for three other 9/11 hijackers. “In all,” notes the 9-11 Commission report, “the five hijackers based their Virginia identification documents on the residency information of one bribed Salvadoran.”
You would think the first thing that the newly-formed Department Homeland Security would have done would be to raid this particular labor market, frequented by illegal aliens and the document fraudsters that enable them to feign legitimacy, and shut it down for good. This is the site of our immigration policy’s greatest, most shameful failure, after all. Of course, ten years on, it’s just business as usual and the shame and failure continue unabated. There’s no marker to commemorate what happened there. You’d never know anything historically significant had happened there ten years ago.
You’d have no indication at that particular 7-11 what a petty, commonplace, wretched little conspiracy was committed, and what a dreadful, monstrous crime was thereby abetted. That was where and when our self-deception about the illegal labor market and the security risks it presents caught up to us. Everyone should know this place. Everyone should vow that what happened there will never be permitted to happen again.
But everyone won’t know; the memory is fading. Like the pictures of the man jumping from the Twin Towers, like the pictures of the rejoicing Middle East, this is one story that you never see in the “respectable” media accounts of what happened a decade ago.
I just drove by there the other day to remind myself. And ten years later it looks like nothing has changed, especially not the policy permitting this market to occur. When Michelle made her video for Hot Air five years ago we were in the midst of debating President Bush’s new policy of amnesty for illegal immigrants, a policy which was just beginning to erode the support of his conservative base. And today the current President has just recently opened yet another door to illegal alien amnesty.
One more thing remained the same: Writing in Human Events about that particular 7-11 in November of 2001, Timothy Carney and Terence Jeffrey noted that Fairfax County police cars often stopped there in the mornings and kept an eye on the crowd. And sure enough, this week, right there in front of that particular 7-11, in the midst of the mob of day laborers (no doubt enjoying Fairfax County’s ongoing status as a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants,) there was parked a Fairfax County police cruiser, just waiting, watching the traffic. Hoping, perhaps, to find some illegal activity going on.
Keep watching! Another ten years, and you may start to see something.
[This post was written and researched on my own time, on my own equipment. Opinions are strictly my own.]