Monday, April 6, 2009 at 4 p.m.
Because they were busy with other coyotes they'd pulled over on the side of the highway, Border Patrol agents didn't flag down Karim Hussein Al Nasser in October 2003, though they suspected that he too was transporting illegal immigrants from Mexico into the U.S. through an Arizona Indian reservation. Incredibly, though Al Nasser had taken $1,000 and $1,200 respectively from the two men curled up on the floor of his pickup truck, he stopped and an agent, who noticed the human cargo, made arrests.
After his conviction, Al Nasser made two complaints: First, he said that the agents had illegally stopped him. (Yes, that's right. Forget that he stopped on his own.) Second, he claimed his 15-month prison sentence is cruel, in part, because he promised he'd never commit another crime in this country.
A federal appeals court panel recently rejected Al Nasser's whining, but that's not what sparked my interest in the case. Two years ago, I made fun of Orange County Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) who was arguing that Arab terrorists were secretly entering the U.S. from Mexico, obtaining driver's licenses in Texas and completing legal name change applications in hopes of masking their nationalities from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The scenario seemed preposterously stupid because it would provide DHS a list of Arabs who had entered the country illegally at our southern border.
So, I wondered: Did the Al Nasser case prove Royce's concerns were valid? Had he transported potential Middle Eastern terrorists? Nope. Al Nasser's clients were not fellow Arabs but rather simply two Mexican day laborers--perhaps on their way to mow the lawns and wash the dishes of our rich Newport Beach Republican pals.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly