|We Must Reform Border Policies|
|As Congress returns to Washington this January, no business is more important than making our borders secure from potential terrorists. So much needs to be done, but a good start would be speedy passage of the Visa Entry Reform Act (H.R. 3229) sponsored by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA).
Our visa system is in shambles. All the 19 hijackers entered the United States legally with tourist, business or student visas. This makes it clear that we have an even bigger problem with legal entry into our country than we do with illegal aliens.
Our Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is unable to cope with the extraordinary numbers — more than seven million non-immigrants entered our country last year, including 500,000 on student visas. The INS has identified 315,000 aliens who should be deported but can’t be found, and that includes three of the hijackers whose visas had expired. The Office of Inspector General reported to Attorney General John Ashcroft, “There is no evidence that the INS can locate illegal aliens who remain in the U.S.”
On July 28, 2001, the French foiled a major suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Paris by arresting Jamal Beghal for a forged visa extension. We might have avoided the World Trade Towers tragedy if U.S. officials had arrested the hijackers who had overstayed their visas.
H.R. 3229 would mandate the creation of a centralized, comprehensive, computerized “LookOut” database to screen visa applicants in order to identify those who are inadmissible or deportable. This LookOut database would be available instantly at all ports of entry, would include biometric data about all applicants, and would track visa holders and non-U.S. residents. The LookOut database would include the alien’s name, his ID and passport number, date of birth, nationality, place of residence in his home country and anticipated U.S. residence, purpose of visit, dates of prior entries and departures from the United States, biometric information, expiration date of visa, and visa violations.
The bill provides that, within six months, the Attorney General shall establish a plan for the INS to include biometric data, with fingerprints and photographs, on all aliens to whom visas are issued. The bill also provides that, within 30 days, the Secretary of State shall establish a Terrorist Lookout Committee within each U.S. Embassy.
H.R. 3229 would require the government to develop a biometric SmartVisa system that would include tamper-proof, machine-readable visas containing biometric identifiers, plus machines to electronically scan and read the visas at each port of entry. The SmartVisa, which would also include the height, weight, hair color, nationality, and country of origin, would be issued to each alien seeking entry and would be scanned by a machine-readable scanner upon entry or departure of the alien.
There should be no problem in paying for these procedures. Aliens would be charged a fee to cover the cost of the machine-readable visa service.
H.R. 3229 would also provide that, beginning immediately, every air, land, or sea carrier arriving in the United States from a foreign state would be required to provide advance information about each passenger, crew member and other occupants. This must include name, birth date, citizenship, gender, passport number, and country of residence.
The bill provides that the government establish procedures to ensure that newly issued identification documents, licenses and permits issued by the United States are designed to prevent fraudulent use or alteration. No visas may be approved without fingerprints or other biometric data.
H.R. 3229 would deny most foreign student visas to nationals of state sponsors of international terrorism. Applications for student visas would provide full information on the student’s identity, address in country of origin, names and addresses of the student’s parents and siblings, contacts in the student’s country of residence who can verify information, previous work experience, date of enrolling in a U.S. institution, the course to be pursued and its date of termination. A background check on each foreign student would be conducted prior to the issuance of a visa in order to ensure that the student is eligible for admission and not subject to a bar to reentry as a result of any previous violation of immigration law.
H.R. 3229 would require U.S. educational institutions to provide the following information about each foreign student enrolled: name, address in country of origin and in the United States, date of commencement and termination of studies, degree program and courses of study. Educational institutions would submit quarterly reports on each foreign student’s status, and notify the Attorney General whenever a foreign student fails to enroll, withdraws, or violates the terms of the visa.
A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll reports that 65 percent of Americans favor “temporarily sealing U.S. borders and stopping all immigration in the United States during the war on terrorism.” Tell your Member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 3229 now and also to order a time-out on all immigration.
From the highways and byways of America, the officials of private and public colleges and universities converged on Capitol Hill to kill this Feinstein proposal. They claimed that a moratorium on student visas would be “devastating” to universities and “wreak havoc on graduate schools.”
Senator Feinstein’s proposal for a time-out was eminently reasonable, but the universities had enough clout to get her to abandon it and substitute requiring development of an electronic database by October 26, 2003.
The U.S. State Department grants over a half million student visas a year even though student visas are known to be a tremendous source of fraud. Over the past decade, U.S. universities have enrolled 16,000 students from states that sponsor terrorism.
The U.S. has issued 4,000 student visas in Saudi Arabia alone, and 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 held Saudi visas. A U.S. Commerce Department employee was just criminally charged with accepting bribes to grant visas to Saudi residents. Do you feel safer now since the Democrats insisted on making all airport security guards federal employees?
One of the criminals convicted of the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center was in the United States on an expired student visa. Wouldn’t you think that, at least since 1993, it should have been a priority of law enforcement to tighten up on student visas? In 1996, Congress called for the establishment of a government database to track foreign students, but it never became operative because of opposition from the universities. This issue didn’t appear on our government’s radar screen until after 9/11.
The suspected ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohamed Atta, came into the U.S. on a tourist visa, which he converted to a student trainee visa in July so he could attend flight training school. Hani Hanjour, the hijacker who is believed to have helped steer the plane into the Pentagon, was on a student visa but never reported to class.
One day in October, 14 Algerians landed at the Dallas airport and on another day in October, 14 Syrians arrived, and all were allowed to proceed to a private flight school for training. We’d like to know how and why visas are issued for flight training schools, which proved so deadly on 9/11.
Nobody swallowed the line that the university lobbyists were just seeking to spread democracy, promote knowledge, and forge ties with future leaders abroad. Let’s do a reality check on their motives.
The universities are making so much money out of foreign students that they don’t care what dangers they pose, what fraud is involved, or whether the students exit the U.S. when their visa expires. The universities don’t even want to be bothered with the nuisance of reporting to the government when the foreign students arrive and depart. The universities want the foreign students because they usually pay the full tuition, while 84 percent of American students attending private universities receive some sort of financial aid.
Has any student in your family had a hard time gaining admission to an elite U.S. college? How does it make you feel to know that 547,667 places in U.S. colleges were occupied by foreign students in the academic year just ended, and the number has been rising dramatically?
In lobbying against Feinstein’s original proposal, the universities argued that their graduate programs in the sciences, engineering and math would collapse without the foreign students because these courses can’t be filled with enough qualified American students. American students rank poorly on international science, engineering and math competitions, and that is reflected in the smaller number who take those subjects in college.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress just reported the results of its 2000 tests. Only one in five high school seniors has a solid grasp of science, only half even know the basics, and 12th graders scored lower than those taking the test in 1996.
What a terrible reflection on the U.S. school system! High school graduates (including those who get A’s because of grade inflation) are not qualified to take college courses in science, engineering and math. The provost of Carnegie Mellon University said, “We have tremendous difficulty in getting American citizens to apply for, enroll and be qualified in many of our engineering and science areas.” Carnegie Mellon granted 47 percent of its doctoral degrees in 1999 to foreign students.
The number of student visas should be drastically reduced and controls tightened, and none should be issued to states that sponsor terrorism. Student visas should also be conditioned on the applicant’s ability to speak English and a sworn disavowal of terrorism.
The Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, John G. Huse Jr., testified on May 22, 2001 before a House Ways and Means subcommittee. His frank statement is a wake-up call to Americans who value their freedom from other people monitoring our daily activities and from criminals who steal our money, our credit and even our identity.
Huse called misuse of the Social Security number “a national crisis,” and he pleaded that the time has come to put the SSN “back into its box.” Since the government created the SSN and permitted it to assume such great power, he said, “it’s the government’s job to control it.”
When Social Security was created in 1935, the SSN’s sole purpose was to track the earnings of employed Americans so their wages would be properly credited, and we were promised it would never be used for anything else. Chalk that up to another promise broken by government; the SSN has become a de facto personal identifier.
The temptation to use the SSN for other purposes was apparently irresistible. The Department of Defense uses it for armed forces personnel and draft registration, and the Internal Revenue Service requires it for income tax returns and for our bank deposits to make sure all our income is declared. The SSN is used by federal, state and local governments for everything from food stamps to driver’s licenses to marriage licenses to water and sewer bills.
Inspector General Huse warns that this is “a convenience that we can no longer afford.” He thanked Congress for enactment of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, which enables the feds to prosecute those who misappropriate someone else’s identity. It’s important to punish identity theft, but Huse says it is more critical to prevent it.
The problem is the everyday and pervasive use of the SSN by others than the Social Security Administration. This includes not only government agencies but schools, colleges, hospitals, banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, and merchants, even for such transactions as joining a health club or buying a refrigerator.
Subcommittee Chairman Clay Shaw remarked, “More and more people are being told their SSN is required for reasons that just don’t make sense, like renting a video, making funeral arrangements, or even picking up Girl Scout cookies.”
Huse called for legislation that limits the use of the SSN to “purposes that benefit the holder of the SSN.” It should not be used for the benefit of “the company that sells an appliance or the state that issues a driver’s license.”
Huse said that last year his office received 46,840 allegations of SSN misuse and another 43,456 of allegations of program fraud that includes SSN misuse. Identity thieves used to steal credit card numbers one by one from mailboxes and restaurant receipts.
Now they steal wholesale on the internet. A thief can buy someone’s SSN on the internet for $39.95, use it within minutes to get a credit card, then buy big-ticket items such as cars and jewelry.
Commercial on-line data brokers collect and sell personal information for legitimate purposes, and their customers include banks, insurance companies, journalists, and law enforcement agencies. The data come from public records or information provided by consumers on credit applications. But when sold on-line, the brokers have no way of checking the identity or legitimacy of buyers. The majority of applications for credit are made over the phone with the SSN as the only identifier.
The Ways and Means Committee subcommittee heard sad cases of individuals who were victims of identity theft. One criminal got $36,000 worth of goods in a three-month period, impacting the victim’s ability to refinance her home, get a line of credit at her bank, and get cellular phone service, not to speak of the countless hours spent in phone calls talking with creditors and police.
A restaurant busboy named Abraham Abdallah was able to penetrate the banking and brokerage accounts of several very wealthy and prominent Americans through the use of on-line providers and internet-based databases. When arrested, he was on the verge of stealing millions of dollars.
The states are beginning to react to public resentment against governmental misuse of SSNs. The Nevada State Legislature just passed a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the law that requires each state to record the SSN on all applications for a driver’s license, and the Michigan Secretary of State has filed suit to enjoin the enforcement of this law.
The best solution to the privacy crisis caused by the universal use of SSNs by government and business comes from Rep Ron Paul (R-TX). He proposes assigning every American a new SSN and banning the use of SSNs as identifying tools.
The depressing title of the book should be followed by a question mark because it’s not a prediction; it’s a wake-up call to Americans to look at what is happening to our nation so we can take remedial action — if we have the will to do so. The book warns we are running out of time.
The most dramatic (and hitherto unreported) change that has taken place since 1965 is that our nation has replaced our own babies with aliens who do not share our culture. The American birth rate is below replacement level while immigrants and illegal aliens from Third World countries are populating our land at a rate at least five times greater than before 1965. When Richard Nixon became President in 1969, there were 9 million foreign-born in the United States. By the time George W. Bush took his oath of office last year, there were 30 million.
Some people think this is a positive development; Bill Clinton told a cheering student audience in 1998 that there will soon “be no majority race in the United States.” No wonder he likes this trend: in 1996, he carried six of the seven states with the largest numbers of immigrants, and in 2000 Al Gore carried five of them and Florida was a dead heat.
Don’t count on immigrants coming from European countries any more because their women, too, have stopped having enough babies, and by 2050 a third of Europe’s people will be over age 60. By 2050, Germany’s population will have shrunk from 82 million to 59 million, Italy’s from 57 million to 41 million, and Russia’s from 147 million to 114 million (a loss greater than the 30 million killed by Stalin).
The millions who came to America from Europe are now fully assimilated. They learned our language and today they are sporting American flags on their cars and houses. Those who cross our border today are not becoming full participants in American society and do not learn our language. Millions of Mexicans broke our laws to get here and do not intend to renounce their loyalty to their native country.
We’ve come full circle from the original civil rights movement of Dr. Martin Luther King. Liberal chic is now segregation dressed up as multiculturalism, diversity, and identity-group politics.
Reminding us of George Orwell’s warning that “who controls the past controls the future,” Buchanan describes the all-out war that has been waged against our past, eliminating heroes and holidays, abolishing mottoes and symbols, defacing flags and statues, silencing songs and banning books, and falsely teaching schoolchildren that America’s history is shameful.
A chapter on how America has been de-Christianized shows that it wasn’t only the Pilgrim fathers who spoke openly of the United States as a Christian nation. Buchanan reminds us that similar statements supporting our religious and Christian foundations used to be made by such liberal idols as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Justice William Douglas, and even Supreme Court decisions.
But no more. The god of the new tolerance demands that even our tax dollars support disgusting blasphemies against the sacred icons of Christianity.
The public schools, whipped into line by the imperial judiciary, indoctrinate our youth with the new orthodoxy. They enforce the new commandments: all lifestyles and cultures are equal, and thou shalt not be judgmental.
Out went Adam and Eve, in came Heather Has Two Mommies; out went pictures of Christ, in came drawings of apes pretending to walk like humans; out went Easter, in came Earth Day; out went teachings against homosexuality, in came teachings against homophobia; out went the Ten Commandments, in came condoms.
Words are weapons and Buchanan shows how the liberals hurl ugly epithets as weapons to intimidate and lay a guilt trip on traditional Americans. It’s not Ronald Reagan’s America any more.
The Death of the West is an executive summary of the history of the last half century, and Buchanan’s immense knowledge and inimitable writing style make that dreary report a must-read. His points are graced with word pictures and metaphors, delicious examples of liberal hypocrisies and double standards, and an extraordinary collection of quotations.
The facts in Buchanan’s book are sensational, and the Today show didn’t dispute a single one. We need a national debate on this politically incorrect book because it challenges us to ask the questions: Is demography destiny? Can the West have a new renaissance?