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Elton Gallegly

Terrorists still using immigration loopholes

Elton Gallegly 50%

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Terrorism and U.S. immigration policies are closely linked. We have made some progress since terrorists killed more than 3,000 innocent people in New York and Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, but clearly not enough.

All 19 of the 9/11 hijackers entered the country with valid visas. All had backgrounds that should have excluded them from getting visas. Yet, 10 years later, the United States still does not conduct extensive screening in many countries with terrorist activities. The United States also still gives random visas through a lottery system rife with fraud.

Congress needs to change these policies. Terrorists have taken advantage of our lax immigration system several times since 9/11.

Currently, the United States only operates the Visa Security Program in 19 high-risk consular posts. The Secure Visas Act, of which I am an original co-sponsor, would expand the Visa Security Program to provide more extensive screening in high-risk countries.

According to the Government Accountability Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not implemented its five-year expansion plan or even covered all high-risk posts. The Secure Visas Act would require visa security units to be maintained at the 19 consular posts that already have them and expand these units to the posts that ICE has designated as “highest-risk.”

Some of these “highest-risk” countries include Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Lebanon and Algeria. VSUs are critical for national security: At VSU-staffed consular posts, 100 percent of applicants receive additional screening; at non-VSU posts, fewer than 2 percent of the applicants . et extra screening.

 

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By Elton Gallegly

Source: house.gov/gallegly


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