Patterico's Pontifications

9/23/2007

Colin Powell’s State Department ranked Asylum higher than Security

Filed under: Government,Terrorism — DRJ @ 11:18 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The State Department under Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to implement a 2003 anti-terror recommendation that would have barred aliens from states that support terrorism from obtaining diversity visas:

Nearly 10,000 foreigners from states sponsoring terrorism have obtained permanent residency in the United States in the past seven years, congressional investigators say. The State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs did not implement a recommendation to bar aliens from those countries, says the report from Congress’ Government Accountability Office. The GAO focused on the issue after the State Department inspector general pointed to the risk in allowing foreigners from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism to obtain visas under the special diversity visa program.”

This issue came to light with the September 21, 2007, release of a GAO report that catalogs the security risks of diversity visas:

“In a 2003 report on the DV program, the State IG noted that, while aliens from state sponsors of terrorism can only be issued nonimmigrant visas in limited circumstances, no parallel restriction exists for diversity visas. Because of this, and because of the program’s vulnerability to fraud, the State IG said the DV program contained significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals, and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the United States as permanent residents.

The State IG recommended that the Bureau of Consular Affairs propose changes to the INA to bar aliens from state sponsors of terrorism from the DV application process. Consular Affairs agreed with the recommendation in principle but did not implement it, expressing concern over the effect of permanently disbarring aliens who may be fleeing oppressive regimes of states that sponsor terrorism. The IG later agreed to close the recommendation although it had not been implemented.”

America must show compassion for people in need of asylum but, after 9/11, I hoped the American government would show compassion for the home folks, too.

– DRJ

31 Responses to “Colin Powell’s State Department ranked Asylum higher than Security”

  1. “Of countries designated by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism, more than 2,700 people from Cuba have come into the United States through the program, as have 3,100 Iranians, 3,700 Sudanese and 160 Syrians.” -Ibid

    I work next to one of those 3,100 Iranians, M-F.

    Should I tell her something for you?

    We also let in many thousands more during the Shah’s regime, and probably didn’t check their politics in any meaningful way.

    steve (126a35)

  2. Steve,

    I lived on the same street as an Iranian in North Texas in the 1960′s, but how does either of our experiences change the fact that the State Department’s Inspector General recommended that aliens from states that support terrorism be banned from diversity visas because of the security risk and high degree of fraud common to those visas?

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  3. DRJ,

    “Vulnerability to fraud” became “high degree of fraud common to those visas” through whose construction?

    steve (5edc39)

  4. High degree of fraud is my interpretation after reading pp. 24-30 of the linked GAO report, including statements like this:

    “State has considerable anecdotal evidence on fraudulent activity committed by and against DV applicants, but has not compiled comprehensive data on detected or suspected fraud across all DV-issuing posts.”

    There’s more at the link including details of different types of fraud that consular officials report has occurred (and presumably continues to occur) in connection with diversity visas.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  5. Isn’t that a great idea offering visas on a diversity basis? People who have diverse ideas like honor killing, submission of inferiors and unbelievers, people who have no use for democracy. Powell was typical of State’s mentality, completely out of step with the American mainstream.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  6. DRJ, Steve:

    I started to write a comment here; it got bigger and bigger, and I finally decided to turn it into a blogpost on Big Lizards instead. So there.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd ab Hugh (445647)

  7. Isn’t it amazing that Americans must respect other cultures, but these alien cultures have no respect for American culture and in fact, once in America, they demand we change to accommodate their beliefs.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  8. People who have diverse ideas like honor killing, submission of inferiors and unbelievers, people who have no use for democracy.

    What about implanting tracking devices in their earlobes?

    Pakistan is not designated a state sponsor of terrorism. Is it smart to be worried about, say, Cubans more than Islamic extremists from a restive state whose government is powerless to corner al Qaeda?

    Over 6.4 million applications for the 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery were submitted. Obviously, if we accept only ones who think, pray and act like us, there’s no “diversity” dividend. But it’s beyond dumb to assume the worst of the worst will use a ‘watch-list’ entry gateway.

    steve (dee63e)

  9. Steve – You’re right. They should just cross the border illegally along with the majority of the rest of our immigrants. There’s some evidence that this may be happening, too. But what the heck, we don’t need any border security, let everybody in! ONE WORLD!!!1!

    Kumbaya

    daleyrocks (906622)

  10. Dafydd,

    First, I have no problem with transferring the discussion to your blog but I can’t log in. I have signed up a dozen times with TypeKey and each time it refuses my log in. I can take a hint (not from you – from TypeKey) so I’m responding here.

    Second, I like and applaud the Israeli model. If only it would work here … but it hasn’t happened, it won’t, and more important the State Department is the last entity I want to trust for “boots on the ground.”

    Third, read the GAO report. Every single one of the State Department consular heads said they didn’t know of one actual or even a potential terrorist who got into the US on their watch. That’s their story and they are sticking to it, and maybe I would, too, if I were in their position. However, these claims are not credible given the extraordinary level of concern their own interviews caused the State Department IG and the GAO, not once but twice in a 4-year period.

    Fourth, and last, we’re a big country with scores of points-of-entry compared to Israel. We need procedures and people. I feel confident that banning diversity visas for state-sponsored terrorist states was an interim measure to induce something to change. No ban means nothing changed, and that’s the problem here.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  11. Personally, I think that all entrants under a Diversity Visa should be restricted to residence in San Francisco, where their presence will be appreciated.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  12. The State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs did not implement a recommendation to bar aliens from those countries, says the report from Congress’ Government Accountability Office.

    &

    The State IG recommended that the Bureau of Consular Affairs propose changes to the INA to bar aliens from state sponsors of terrorism from the DV application process.

    1. The GAO is an instrumentality of the U.S. Congress, not the executive branch.

    2. The INA (Immigration and Nationalities Act) is federal law (8 U.S.C.), passed in 1952.

    3. The State Department has no constitutional brief to render invalid or otherwise ignore federal law, especially where a law specifically charges it (the Secretary of State and various officers under him/her) with implementing said law.

    4. If Congress failed to make the changes that its very own GAO recommended, how is that former SecState Powell’s responsibility?

    Consul-At-Arms (9a38d4)

  13. Consul-at-Arms,

    The State Department’s IG report was issued sometime in 2003 and apparently there were no changes suggested by the State Department, of which Colin Powell was Secretary of State, as the IG recommended.

    The GAO’s report was released 9/21/07 and it has not been acted on by Congress or anyone – yet.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  14. The recent immigration reform legislation that failed this past summer was reported to include a provision abolishing the DV program. There’s no reason why that measure couldn’t be unbundled and passed as separate legislation.

    Personally, I’d legislate to redefine the countries eligible for the DV program to 1.) NATO allies; 2.) Coalition (of the willing) partners to include South Korea, Australia, Japan and New Zealand; & (maybe) partner countries in such ventures as NAFTA or similar regional ventures in the Caribbean and Central/South America.

    Consul-At-Arms (9a38d4)

  15. @ DRJ,

    I can personally attest that there have been a great many changes in how visas, of all types, are issued, beginning after 9/11/2001 and continuing at the present. It’s actually a bit frustrating as the changes come so fast that if you spend even a few months away from the work, you have to paddle like Hell to get back up to speed.

    The next big thing is mandatory “10-print” fingerprinting for all visa applicants. One of the sticking points is that the FBI wants to charge $85.00 per fingerprint submission. That’s a bit rich considering the current “real cost” of a, for instance, non-immigrant visa is a bit under $110 and the application fee is only $100.

    It’s the only case I know where an intelligence agency not only gets the benefit of a massive collection effort and charges the collector for the privilege. The FBI doesn’t charge law enforcement agencies for this service, and is standing on the technicality that the Bureau of Consular Affairs is not a LEO.

    v/r,

    CAA

    p.s. Please forgive me if I don’t go into details of State’s Fraud Prevention Program in a public forum.

    Consul-At-Arms (9a38d4)

  16. Seriously?

    Fleeing from a state that is designated a “sponsor of terrorism” doesn’t mean that the individual or group in question have some sort of connection to terrorism, nor does it mean (I’m referring to a commentator) that they hold backwards beliefs regarding human rights and what not.

    That is almost the same thing as saying a white, rural Southerner is by definition a patriarchal racist, with no regards to the actual individual.

    Jamelle (48da7c)

  17. Consul-at-Arms,

    The GAO’s report was clear that State disagreed with some of the conclusions in its report. I do not believe the GAO report is gospel but there seems reason for concern about diversity visas for immigrants from states that sponsor terrorism. As a result, we Americans need to rethink diversity visas in general and/or the way they are issued.

    Personally, I agree with your #14 as to who should be eligible for these visas. I also appreciate that there are a number of fraud prevention programs that have been implemented at State, the details of which I agree should remain confidential from the general public. I also appreciate that you shared your thoughts and expertise by commenting here.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  18. Consul-At-Arms #14:

    Personally, I’d legislate to redefine the countries eligible for the DV program to 1.) NATO allies; 2.) Coalition (of the willing) partners to include South Korea, Australia, Japan and New Zealand; & (maybe) partner countries in such ventures as NAFTA or similar regional ventures in the Caribbean and Central/South America.

    Interesting point. But wouldn’t that mostly negate the point of the diversity program, that it allow representation from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.?

    I’m assuming many of the countries you’ve mentioned don’t fit that category in most years.

    Itsme (db44bf)

  19. Itsme,

    Pages 13-14 of the GAO report shows 34% of diversity visas go to Europeans. Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Albanians, Poles, and Romanians are all in the top 10. In fact, according to a note at the top of page 14, there are apparently so many Poles who have used diversity visas that they are ineligible for FY 2008.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  20. Thanks DRJ. I see that Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh, and Egypt round out that top ten list. According to the report, 40% of DVs go to Africans, for instance.

    But, except for Poland (“Don’t forget Poland!”), are any of those countries within the categories Consul-At-Arms describes?

    Itsme (db44bf)

  21. Beats me.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  22. The list of countries whose nationals are eligible to enter the DV lottery (link: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/2009DVInstructions.pdf) is quite long.

    It’s easier to list the countries whose nationals, “because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of the previous five years,” may not participate in the DV program:

    Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam (Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible).

    So my idea would impact several NATO countries by putting them back on the list (Canada, Poland, and UK); plus Coalition partners (at a glance and hoping I don’t miss/diss anybody: Canada (again), El Salvador, Philippines, Poland (again), South Korea, UK); and maybe NAFTA/&tc. partners such as Canada and Mexico.

    And should some of the various regional free trade pacts, such as those for the Caribbean and other Western Hemisphere areas work out, such countries as Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, and Peru could come back into play.

    Consul-At-Arms (9a38d4)

  23. Thanks for the info, Consul-At-Arms. I guess that was my point, that it would really change the underlying premise of the diversity program. Right?

    Itsme (db44bf)

  24. We agree with you, Consul-at-Arms, (or at least I do) but is this possible and, if so, how?

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  25. I’m not sure if I agree or disagree, because it sounds like it wouldn’t really be a diversity program anymore. Maybe a preference system?

    Itsme (db44bf)

  26. @ Itsme

    wouldn’t that mostly negate the point of the diversity program, that it allow representation from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.?

    Let’s just say that I see the point of the DV program, as presently constituted, to something of a false god. It’s resulted in certain countries, such as Cape Verde Islands, having a larger population in New York City alone than in the country itself.

    Not to pile on Cape Verde (they were quite hospitable the one time I passed through), but what exactly is their value-added to the United States as a whole? How does their diversity enrich us, other than by reinforcing (or disproving) the “diversity = good” ideology?

    I hold a certain personal and professional disgust with how certain DV beneficiaries have attempted to leverage their good fortune into fraudulently extending derivative benefits to people who were not in fact either their spouses or children. So I’m inclined to be less than overwhelmed with the notion that somehow showering immigration benefits upon people who have no concept of how to conduct themselves in a law-abiding society is an objective gain for the U.S.

    By way of example regarding some of the Coalition countries who contribute in the Multination Division – Central South (Iraq) are Poland (!), Armenia, Ukraine, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Bosnia-Hercegovina. Except for Poland, all are currently DV eligible countries already.

    I notice that certain world regions are conspicuously underrepresented in the categories I’ve proposed. One way to increase their representation would be for those countries to “cowboy up” and contribute to multinational activities in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and possibly to (by executive order?) incentivize multinational assistance in such places as Darfur and/or Somalia. That might motivate certain OAU countries as well as rewarding Ethiopia for stepping up.

    I Remain Respectfully Yours,

    CAA

    Consul-At-Arms (9a38d4)

  27. @ Itsme & DRJ,

    Yes, it would be a preference system, but so is the system we have now, for all it’s couched in mathematical formulae.

    How to change? Well, the law would have to change. As I noted earlier, the DV program is a congressionally-mandated creature. A wooden stake is insufficient, an Act of Congress is required.

    v/r,

    CAA

    Consul-At-Arms (9a38d4)

  28. CAA,

    Thanks. It’s been a pleasure and enlightening to discuss this topic with you.

    DRJ (ec59b5)

  29. Consul-At-Arms #26:

    Thanks for your comment. You bring up some interesting points, obviously based on close observation.

    However, I thought the premise – or a premise – of the diversity visa program was not so much a “diversity = good ideology” that looks for value-added cultural enrichment, as much as providing an alternative for people from countries that don’t have many immigrants qualify under the family and employment programs. Put another way, I understood that some countries tended to be over-represented (for lack of a better word) because the more immigrants they sent, the more were able to come because family members were here to sponsor them, and the DV program was one way of balancing it out.

    I can’t say whether the DV program has been a success or whether it is as riddled with fraud and abuse as you say.

    I guess I am saying your solution appears to be to eliminate the DV program altogether and go to some other preference system based on the source country’s relationship to the U.S.

    Correct?

    Itsme (db44bf)

  30. CAA – Obviously I posted my #29 before I saw your #28.

    Itsme (db44bf)

  31. oops, CAA’s #27 I meant.

    Itsme (1a8dff)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2662 secs.