US Visa Process Broken and in Desperate Need of Reform

I was recently interviewed by Dave Boyer, White House correspondent for the Washington Times. He was preparing a report on how the government of Poland is currently seeking to join a growing fraternity- countries whose citizens are exempt the requirement of applying for and receiving visas before seeking to enter the United States under the aegis of one of the most wrong-headed programs created by our government, the Visa Waiver Program.

That news report appeared on the Washington Times website yesterday, Thursday, May 26th and I am providing you with a copy of that important report at the conclusion of my commentary today.

Those of you who have become familiar with my stand on border security and the effective enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws know just how adamantly I am opposed to the Visa Waiver Program. Last month I wrote a commentary about how our leaders in Washington are attempting to get a bill through the process that would purportedly make the visa issuing process more secure. I have provided you with my entire commentary and the news report that predicated my commentary beneath today’s Washington Times article.

I will warn you that even by my standards, that commentary is long- however, the threat that the visa issuing process poses to national security is so great that I felt compelled to make that commentary as complete as possible to provide you with the insight to understand just how insane it is for our nation to admit millions of aliens into our country each year, without requiring that they first apply for and receive visas.

As I have noted on many occasions, our nation’s borders do not only exist along the borders that are supposed to separate the United States from Mexico and Canada, out borders also exist at every international airport and seaport. Therefore, in a very real sense, any state that has a seaport or an international airport must be thought of as a “Border State.”

You should also know that at some major international airports around the United States, according to my sources at CBP (Customs and Border Protection) well over half of the nonimmigrants admitted into the United States are admitted under the auspices of the fatally flawed Visa Waiver Program!

I also want you to understand that it is not just the governments of those countries that desire to become members of the club, but the executives of the hospitality and travel industries along with the Chamber of Commerce that opposes virtually any measure to secure our borders even as our nation faces continuing threats of terrorist attacks and even as members of the Mexican drug cartels and other transnational gangs and criminal organizations find that our borders serve as little more than “speed bumps” when they seek to smuggle illegal aliens including criminals and terrorists into our country.

Check out the link I have provided to you below and excerpts from the material to be found on the webpage posted by the organization that posted the material. According to this website, NRF (National Retail Federation) has joined the Discover America Partnership! These industries have absolutely no expertise in national security or in issues where border security are concerned. Yet they have staked out a position because they are motivated by nothing more than greed! The more people who will travel to the United States, the more people who are likely to stay in hotels, eat in the restaurants, attend Broadway shoes and buy the souvenirs and other trinkets peddled in cities around the United States.

NRF Joins New Travel Coalition to Reform Visa Process Increase in Tourism to Generate Demand for U.S. Goods and Create 1.3 million U.S. Job

It is understandable that the business executives want to have more customers but while they have signed on to a program referred to as “Discover America” it is apparent that they have forgotten that al-Qaeda has already discovered America!

They are also very short sighted- in the days, weeks and even months after the attacks of September 11, 2001 airliners flew with many empty seats. Hotels, restaurants and tourist-related businesses were nearly devoid of patrons. It was seen as an act of patriotism and, in fact, heroic, for people to board airliners and fly anywhere in the United States but especially to major cities.

If, God forbid there is another terrorist attack it is entirely possible that many hotels will go bankrupt along with restaurants and other businesses that depend on tourism.

I am not, however, surprised that these corporate executives do not seem to dive a damn about the safety of our nation- not when it may cause them to lose revenue. What is infuriating is that our “leaders” in Washington are actually doing what these idiots tell them to do when they call for an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program!

What qualifies these corporate executives to essentially create a program that endangers our nation’s security? How credible is their advice?

These business executives have no knowledge and no experience in anything other than knowing how to separate people from the contents of their wallets and yet when they demand that our nation compromise its security and endanger the lives of the citizens our government gladly does what these executives want!

By the way, did you notice how the language calling for an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program sounds remarkably like the language calling for Comprehensive Immigration Reform? Here is a direct quote from that web page again- in case you missed it the first time:

“The visa process is broken and is in desperate need of reform,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We need a visa policy that will bring visitors from the fastest growing countries to the U.S. to help generate jobs and bolster economic growth.”

How many times have we heard that the immigration system is broken and the solution is to implement a program (Comprehensive Immigration Reform) that would provide perhaps tens of millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents even though there is no reliable way of knowing anything about the vast majority of these people whose presence represents a violations of our borders and our laws that are intended to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence would be harmful or might even present a clear danger to our citizens and our nation?

When you read the Washington Times article, I want you to pay attention to an interesting point that Dave Boyer made about one of the proposed requirements that must be met by countries before they can be added to the list:

“The bills would make an overstay rate of less than 3 percent the primary qualifying criteria for a nation’s membership in the program. Current policy uses a country’s rate of visa refusals, which many experts think is an outdated method of assessing security risks.”

The problem is that there is absolutely no way of reliably knowing what the overstay rate is for any country!

One of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission was to implement US-VISIT which would track the arrival and departure of aliens who enter the United States on nonimmigrant visas. Our nation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this program that was deemed to be essential by the 9/11 Commission and, after many years, the departure of aliens from the United States is not accurately tracked. So much for national security!

I have a theory- I believe that there is a reason that the departure of nonimmigrant aliens has never been accurately determined because under the Visa Waiver Program, if it was determined that the overstay rate of aliens from a particular country exceeded the 3% figure, that country would have to be eliminated from the program. Being the cynic I am, I am of the opinion that this is simply a matter of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell!”

Except in this case- ignorance is anything but bliss!

What is really wacky is that the United States sees participation in the Visa Waiver Program as a reward to acknowledge countries that have worked in close cooperation with the United States in various ways including sending their soldiers to back up U.S. troops engaged in battles around the world in the hunt for terrorists. The problem with this fatally flawed reasoning is that it makes no sense reward countries that work with us by expanding a program that endangers our national security.

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there. The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are! We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance. This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue! You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem! Democracy is not a spectator sport! Lead, follow or get out of the way!

Michael Cutler, a former Senior INS Investigator, an expert witness in more than a dozen Congressional Hearings is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to the ‘911 Families for a Secure America.’ He writes about the nexus between immigration and national security.