A few years ago I was in the process of planning my wedding, which unlike most, included an international component. In order for members of my husband’s family to join us, it not only meant packing a suitcase, but securing a tourist visa to enter the United States. For one member of the family–smooth sailing it was not.
She is a graduate of a respected university in Mexico; she holds a fantastic position within her company, with many ties to keep her right where she was. You see, one of the supposed components in the decision to grant or deny a visa is the requester’s ability to prove that he or she isn’t planning to skip town once the visa is granted, and thus disappear into the vast fabric of illegal aliens across the country. In other words, do you have a degree? Do you have a decent job? Do you have car loans? A mortgage? What ties you to your country?
My relative, wedding invitation in hand, with AMPLE ties to her home country, and yet she was denied a tourist visa to enter the country for less than a week to attend our wedding. Thankfully, weeks, another visit and ANOTHER fee later, she was finally able to secure her visa.
Many of those who know me know what my husband and I went through to obtain the correct papers for him to stay here with me, his own wife.
These stories are legion, as anyone who has ever tried to enter, and/or stay here legally can attest. Even for a U.S. citizen without even so much as a parking ticket on her record, just getting back into the country can be arduous. It’s a thoroughly mangled, wholly inefficient system. So clearly, the solution to this backlog is a no-brainer: grant the customs equivalent of a toll road E-Z Pass to citizens of a country that spawned Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists; a country which “remains the world’s leading source of money for Al Qaeda and other extremist networks.”
While this president looks the other way as thousands of illegal aliens are released from prison; while he actively pushes for legislation to allow illegal aliens to pass up their fellow legal immigrants in line; the ones who have been waiting patiently for months and even years. . . I supposed he figures the cherry on top of his “we are the world” approach to immigration is Saudi Arabia’s recent admission into The Global Entry Program. This program, which as mentioned is tantamount to an E-Z pass, grants “trusted travelers” the ability to “bypass normal passport controls at major U.S. airports.” For those who gain this privilege, they enjoy this platinum access for FIVE years.
Who knows, maybe this is an “I’m sorry” to the Saudi Ambassador who narrowly avoided losing his life at the hands of an Iranian assassination plot, nearly facilitated by none other than the Mexican cartels this administration has been so “actively” trying to thwart. Oh shoot, except for Fast & Furious.
Now, to be fair- my inlaws’ home country IS on the very VERY short list of nations whose occupants can apply for the program. The point in sharing their story, naturally, is the highlight the fact that we’ve got an immense backlog of the GOOD guys, and priorities as they pertain to entry to this country are immensely skewed.
Eligible applicants must hail from the U.S., The Netherlands, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, and as of January 2013, Saudi Arabia. Each applicant must pass through a “rigorous” background check. Let’s be real about this for a moment though: While my law-abiding, do-it-by-the-books relative is denied for a simple TOURIST visa, USCIS (United States Customs & Immigration Services) routinely glazes over sham marriages and other immigration scams. The TSA puts pocket knives back on the list of allowable items yet can’t even seem to bother itself with the (fake) bomb that made its way through two checkpoints and on to a plane. (Incidentally, this fake bomb was meant to simulate the very attempts which now force us to practically strip in the security line at the airport. Oops.) The Obama administration is currently contesting the asylum granted to the German family fleeing their country for simply homeschooling their children, yet can’t seem to find time to deal with our porous border.
My experience with the government’s definition of “rigorous” is denying respectable citizens the right to enter this country and making the lives of those trying to do it legally a living hell. Call me crazy, but “rigorous” in this sense is quite selective. I’m not holding my breath.
Meanwhile, conspicuously missing from the “approved” list are key world allies like the United Kingdom and Israel. Ironically enough a deal with Israel as it pertains to this program has been reached, but not “yet implemented.” So let me get this straight- our only TRUE ally in the Middle East is still waiting in line; meanwhile Al-Qaeda’s Sugar Daddy sails through? Again, this is a country that just FOUR short years ago was on another list; “a list of countries whose U.S.-bound travelers would face higher scrutiny, in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt in 2009.”
Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for thorough background checks PRIOR to the airport in order to help safely reduce wait times at the airport. If I ran the world, hehe, I’d tell the airlines that THEY would be responsible for their own security, and suggest that as a condition of purchasing an airline ticket, the buyer automatically enters into an agreement with that airline, and that airline (not the epic failure otherwise known as the TSA) runs a TRULY “rigorous” background check on that person.
There’s a problem (and I’d venture to say most Americans would agree), however, when we facilitate this option to a country with absolutely ZERO interest in quelling its Niagara-like flow of funds into the hands of international terrorists seeking the demise of the very country now granting them such ease of access.
Ah yes- this will end well.