Outrageous Visa Waiver Program

We received this email. The compelling topic of illegal immigration warrants its republication here. There's a reason we do not seem to be winning the war for America's own hearts and minds. We have disintegrated as a people. We have sold our soul and our future. Is it too late to recover our sensibilities and our purpose? This is the issue at hand:

I was interviewed a couple of days ago by a reporter from the Saint Petersburg Times about the Visa Waiver Program. I have attached a copy of the article below. As you might expect, I remain absolutely opposed to this program that in my judgement creates an unacceptable vulnerability for our nation, especially as we continue to attempt to keep terrorists from entering our country and launching terrorist attacks that have the potential of wreaking havoc on our nation and slaughtering many of our citizens.

During the Second World War, our nation’s leaders did what was in America’s best interests to secure our nation and win the war. We live in a democratic country because of the leadership and efforts exhibited by the “Greatest Generation.” It is time that our leaders conducted themselves as true leaders especially as we prosecute a war on terror and made the decisions that will truly secure our nation, regardless of the demands of corporations that are motivated by obvious, unrelenting greed.
While much attention has been paid to our porous borders, especially our border with Mexico, it is estimated that as many as 40% of the illegal aliens currently in the United States did not run our nation's borders, but rather entered our country through ports of entry. On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations.

The topic of the hearing was, "VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?" In considering the issue of aliens who overstay their authorized period of admission, the impact of the Visa Waiver Program on this issue was considered as an area of particular vulnerability. You can read the transcript of that hearing at:

US House of Representatives

I have written about my concerns regarding the impact of the Visa Waiver Program on previous occasions however, since this article deals with the Visa Waiver Program, I will explain once again, why I am opposed to it. In fact, I have copied a section of a recent commentary about the Visa Waiver Program and attached it below:

Before the attacks of 9/11 we used to be able to arrive at an airport 30 minutes before flight time to take a trip. Today we need to get to the airport at least 2 hours before flight time. If you take a couple of trips a year, you wind up spending more time at airports to comply with the ever more intrusive security requirements than an alien seeking a visa would have to spend at an American embassy or consulate.
The Visa Waiver Program continues on and the President has recently called for the expansion of this program that imperils our nation's security. The Visa Waiver Program makes it far easier for criminals and terrorists to enter the United States.

While American citizens are required to remove their shoes before boarding airliners because Richard Reid, the notorious "Shoe Bomber" secreted explosives in his shoes. Meanwhile, the fact that as a British citizen, Reid was able to board that airliner he intended to destroy in midair with his bombs, without first applying for and receiving a visa because of the Visa Waiver Program is conveniently ignored.

We are highly restricted in being able to bring any fluids on board airliners because a number of terrorists had planned to bring quantities of liquids on board airliners that are harmless by themselves but become explosives when mixed together with other fluids. This ingenious scheme involving binary explosives was put together by more citizens of Great Britain.

They too, could have boarded airliners without first obtaining visas. Visas also help beleaguered inspectors at ports of entry in the United States better screen foreign visitors seeking entry into the United States. The inspector is supposed to conduct an inspection of an arriving alien in about one minute and decide on the admissibility of that alien. The visa process, if done properly, can help make this process more effective. The visa application contains about 40 questions that can provide invaluable information to law enforcement and intelligence officials should that alien ultimately become the focus of an investigation. If an alien lies on an application for a visa, that lie can result in prosecution for visa fraud.

Such fraud is often easier to prove than it is to prove an alien is a terrorist. In fact, terrorist suspects are often charged with visa fraud. If it can be proven that an alien committed visa fraud in conjunction with drug trafficking, the penalty for such fraud increases to a maximum of 20 years in federal custody. The penalty further increases to a maximum of 25 years of incarceration should the alien be found to have committed visa fraud in conjunction with terrorism.

However, under the Visa Waiver Program, none of these potential benefits can be brought to bear. I have been told that this is the case because the travel, hospitality and airline industries have powerful lobbyists and that they are concerned that the visa requirement would discourage aliens from visiting our country, thereby cutting into their profits. In my judgement, this is a foolish and flawed concern.

First of all, in the days, weeks and months after the attacks of September 11, 2001 many airlines found a huge drop in the number of passengers buying tickets. Hotels in New York had a significant drop in occupancy rates and the world economy reverberated for years in the aftermath of the attacks.

Visas can be issued that are valid for up to 10 years so that well established travelers can travel as frequently as they desire and apply for a visa once every ten years. Generally, motorists in the United States and in other countries as well, need to spend a day at the dreaded DMV to renew driver's licenses. Yet nobody would refer to that process as unreasonable.

Before the attacks of 9/11 we used to be able to arrive at an airport 30 minutes before flight time to take a trip. Today we need to get to the airport at least 2 hours before flight time. If you take a couple of trips a year, you wind up spending more time at airports to comply with the ever more intrusive security requirements than an alien seeking a visa would have to spend at an American embassy or consulate.

richard_reid

Richard Reid

Yet our government refuses to require visas from the citizens of 27 countries that currently participate in the dangerous Visa Waiver Program. Incidentally, the e-passports that are finally being used are not a substitute for the visa requirement anymore than airbags do not obviate the need to wear seatbelts.

What is disconcerting, is the fact that the Visa Waiver Program is continuing on and, in fact, may be expanded if the President has his way, is the direct result of pressure being applied by the tourist-related industries that can not see beyond the bottom line. In effect, their greed is jeopardizing our nation's security and the safety of our citizens. The outrage is that their wishes appear to be this administration's commands!

Of course, the executives who want the Visa Waiver Program to be expanded are being extremely shortsighted, because if, indeed, there is another attack against our nation, their industry will suffer immeasurable harm. They are apparently being blinded by unfettered greed.

What I want to know, is how can our government yield to the pressure being applied by those lobbyists employed by those executives? In matters of national security, corporate interests should carry little if any weight. Yet this administration is doing what these corporate executives want. If you doubt this, read the news article below.

During the Second World War, our nation's leaders did what was in America's best interests to secure our nation and win the war. We live in a democratic country because of the leadership and efforts exhibited by the "Greatest Generation." It is time that our leaders conducted themselves as true leaders especially as we prosecute a war on terror and made the decisions that will truly secure our nation, regardless of the demands of corporations that are motivated by obvious, unrelenting greed.

—Michael Cutler

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