Jewish World Review Dec. 11, 2001 / 26 Kislev, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- HOW would you like to let 100,000 non-immigrant students and such from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea into the US next year?
The Senate is considering and likely to pass a bill sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Cal) which lets the State Department admit them if it finds that they do "not pose a threat to the safety or national security of the United States according to standards developed by the Secretary of State." Senator Feinstein's bill is a slight improvement from the status quo which does not even require such a finding before they are let into the country. But it falls far, far short of what we need to keep our nation safe.
In 2000, 92,784 citizens of these seven terror-sponsoring nations were admitted to the US on such visas. Under Feinstein's bill they will continue to come in at the same pace.
How, precisely, is a harried, understaffed, pressured, and bureaucratic State Department to conduct 100,000 detailed investigations with sufficient thoroughness that it will be able to spot a terrorist hiding in the bunch who is doing everything he can to conceal his identity? Is there anybody who wants to argue that our government will do a good enough job of scrutiny that it will keep terrorists out? Does anyone have that kind of faith in our government?
The Feinstein bill begs the more basic question: who needs these visitors to come here anyway? The bill comes as a relief to the American Council of Education, a moniker for the university lobby that had feared that Congress would impose a total ban on student visas from these nations. It is true that universities thrive from the tuition they get from such students, but cutting them off would make only a slight dent in the 600,000 students here on visas. What possible national security purpose is served by letting anyone into the US from these rogue nations? Especially right now?
And, while we are at it, how about cracking down on such visitors from Saudi Arabia and other of the twenty nations identified by Secretary of State Colin Powell as sources of terrorists? While it is true - sort of - that the Saudis don't officially sponsor terrorism as the other seven countries do, the hijackers of 9-11 mostly came from Saudi Arabia and would have been subject to the increased scrutiny of the Feinstein bill had it been in effect at the time.
The Congress must abandon half-measures. It is time to ban all visas for anyone from the seven terror-sponsoring nations and to impose the most draconian scrutiny on any applicants for visa from nations which generate terrorists but do not sponsor their activities.
The United States does not need upwards of 100,000 new potential Mohammed Attas walking around our streets?
The Feinstein bill is co-sponsored, as one would expect, by Ted Kennedy.
But it also features conservatives John Kyl (R-Arizona) and Sam Brownback
(R-Kansas) among its sponsors. The bill is a giveaway to colleges and
universities anxious for the tuition these students would generate but it is
a sellout of American security and national
12/07/01: The non-partisan president