Thursday, July 18, 2002
Washington, we have a problem: National Review Online has posted a letter from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson. The important part:
Unfortunately, the information we have received from FTTTF (Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force) so far has been insufficient to permit a consular officer to deny a visa. The information we have received states only that the FTTTF believes the applicants may pose a threat to national security and therefore the FTTTF recommends against issuance.
Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), only consular officers have the authority to issue or deny visas. All visa refusals must be based on a specific statutory ineligibility; if there are no grounds under the law on which to deny an alien a visa, the consular officer is required to issue the visa. In order to deny a visa, a consular officer must know or have reason to believe that the applicant is ineligible under one of the specific statutory grounds.
If Armitage is reading the law right, the law needs to be changed -- yesterday. That's just nuts. If we suspect they may be a terrorist, then they don't get in! End of story. It's just not worth the risk.
In fact, I'll go a step farther I think Congress should pass a law requiring the State Department to refuse to issue visas to any male between the ages of 18-50 from any Arab nation during wartime. Which is now. I don't care how much money they've got. How important they are for Middle East "peace." Any country affected cultivates hate against America in their nation's media. Remember that recent poll of the Arab world? Even Kuwait, which we liberated just over a decade ago, was overwhelmingly America-hating.
In the end, any benefits from having those men from the Middle East in our nation don't outweigh the risks of another Sept. 11.