re: "Don't Call it a Comeback (sorry, couldn't resist)."
"Today's topic- two articles that caught my attention recently. The first, "No Coyote Needed- U.S. Visas Still an Easy Ticket in Developing Countries" by David Seminara, has been kicking up a bit of a storm in the halls of the Foreign Service lately. The second article is from Foreign Policy magazine and is entitled "Meet the New Face of Al Qaeda" (no author listed). This article has not, to my knowledge caused much of a stir and no one in the FS (or anywhere else in the U.S. government that I am aware of) seems to be connecting the two pieces."
"(W)hile most Americans think of illegal immigrants as "desperate migrants sneaking across the Mexican border... a 2006 Pew Hispanic Center study [found] nearly half of the 12 million-plus illegal aliens in America arrived legally with temporary, non-immigrant visas." "
"I remember well looking out of my visa window and seeing the more than 2,000 cases we averaged per day (I spent my first 2 years as an FSO in a "visa mill") as well as the pressure to go faster and the seemingly never ending faxes/letters/calls/e-mails from Congressional offices wondering why some constituents cousin/friend/lover/co-worker had been denied a visa"
"• Allow consular officers access to entry/exit data to increase the quality of decision-making by preventing chronic visa abusers from renewing their visas.
Of course for (that) point we'd actually have to have an idea who is leaving the country.
The reality is that we don't seem to be moving in that direction, and in fact may be regressing by offering visa free travel to South Korea, Czech Republic and more EU countries. Foreign born terrorists are not the only threat to national security, to be sure. But stopping them should at least be a pillar of our national security strategy. Hamstringing our officers in the field by not collecting valid data (entry/exit) and not sharing what data we do collect while expanding the visa waiver program strikes me as a recipe for trouble."