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The visa waiver program bluff

Conservative Review

Democrats love to employ an adroit Alinsky-style tactic to deflect attention away from their unpopular stance on a prominent issue: play bait-and-switch by ignoring the issue at hand and parlaying focus to a new proposition they previously opposed.

Over the past week, in order to distract from the dangerous and costly Islamic refugee issue, liberals have sought to shift focus to the vulnerability of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  Unfortunately, they have never felt concerned about this issue before and are unlikely to seriously pursue meaningful reforms to the program outside of distracting from the broader Islamic immigration issue.  But since they’re putting the offer on the table, Republicans who have argued for years that the waiver program needs to be addressed, will gladly forgive their past neglect of the issue and give them the chance to carry out meaningful reform.

Under the Visa Waiver Program, foreign nationals from 38 countries, mainly from Europe,[1] are allowed to enter the U.S. temporarily without obtaining a visa and undergoing the extra scrutiny.  The premise for the VWP is that nationals of countries that do not pose a security risk or have a history of illegal immigration should be able to travel more freely to foster a better business and tourist climate.  Ideally, we should have an easy travel policy between western nations because it’s mutually beneficial for our economies.  However, the growth in Islamic terrorism over the past few decades has made this program extremely vulnerable.

Ahmed Ajaj and Ramzi Yousef, two Islamic terrorists involved in planning the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, came here from European countries under the VWP.  Zacarias Moussaoui, who was involved in the 9/11 plot, came here with a French passport and Richard Reid, the notorious shoe-bomber, came to the U.S. with an English passport.  There is now a well-founded concern that with the growing Islamic make-up of Europe, millions of potential security risks could travel freely from Europe to the U.S.  Remember, as we are now seeing in the aftermath of the Paris attack, most of the Islamic terrorists living in Europe were not on any no-fly lists.  The problem of VWP is exacerbated by the fact that we still don’t have an Exit-Entry system on the back-end to ensure that temporary visitors leave after 90 days, making the need for better screening on the front-end even more important.

It’s for this reason I’ve been promoting legislation to shut down the VWP and audit the system for a number of years.  Democrats have been nowhere to be seen on this issue.  Now that they are in hot water over the broader Islamic immigration issue, they want to shift the focus to temporary visas.  Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and liberal commentators, are now expressing concern over the program. Liberal Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein(D-CA) have introduced an extremely narrow bill to merely bar individuals who travelled to Syria and Iraq over the past 5 years from entering the U.S. without obtaining a visa from the State Department.

The Democrats’ faux focus on the VWP is transparently deceptive for a number of reasons:

  • These same politicians evidently trust the vetting of permeant immigrants from failed states like Syria and Somalia, yet they now have problems with the information sharing between first-world countries under the VWP with regards to temporary visitors?!
  • These same Democrats are completely silent as we admit 60,000 Saudi nationals every year on student visas.
  • These same Democrats oppose  Rand Paul’s(R-KY) plan to subject visas from Islamic countries to a higher degree of scrutiny.
  • These same Democrats opposed  Ted Cruz’s(R-TX) bill to strip citizenship, through due process, of those caught fighting for ISIS.  Last week, Sens. Durbin (D-IL) and Leahy (D-VT) objected to Sen. Cruz’s request for unanimous consent to pass his bill.

Finally, liberals are trying to obfuscate the more foundational threat: a growing population of homegrown Islamists.  The entire city of Brussels has been on lockdown, not just because of a handful of fugitive terrorists but because of the massive homegrown problem that is plaguing the city.  Over 20 individuals were arrested in Belgium, of which most were likely homegrown, not infiltrators from Syria.

This growing trend in Europe has already come to America.  We have had dozens of attempted terror plots and a number of small scale homegrown Islamic attacks since 9/11 – long before ISIS became the cool kid on the block.  The growing trend of second generation Muslims in western countries becoming more radicalized, thanks in large part, to the proliferation of cyber jihad, has created an existential threat to this nation.  That is the threat the political class seeks to ignore.  It is a lot easier for them to discuss temporary visas from Europe as a shiny object.

Conservatives would be wise to call their bluff and pass a moratorium on the VWP to prove their dishonesty, and immediately return to focusing on the broader threat unbridled Islamic immigration poses to western civilization.

[1] According to CRS, the 38 countries are: The 38 countries are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

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