Saturday, February 8, 2020

President Trump’s updated immigration moratorium list: A good start

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In what is perhaps more important news to the future of our nation than impeachment, the White House announced late on Friday an updated “travel ban,” with a new list of countries from which immigration has been suspended due to national security concerns.
Pursuant to a new DHS global assessment report of how carefully countries share identity-management and national security information with us, the administration has determined a need to suspend immigration visas to nationals of Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. The acting DHS secretary has also determined a need to continue the suspension of visas from the countries on the existing list – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, and Yemen.
According to the White House, the determination was based on three criteria: “Whether a foreign government engages in reliable identity-management practices and shares relevant information; whether a foreign government shares national security and public-safety information; and whether a country otherwise poses a national security or public-safety risk.”
The new proclamation indicates that the DHS report recommended “implementing suspensions and limitations on entry for certain nationals of twelve additional countries,” more than the six that were ultimately restricted. It appears that senior administration officials felt that some of the other countries either made improvements to their data sharing in recent months or were left off the list because the U.S. “has experienced a recent deepening of diplomatic ties that generally mark increased cooperation toward achieving key regional and global United States foreign policy goals.”
The new ban is slated to take effect on February 22.
This is a good start for Trump to finally fulfill his campaign promise of ratcheting down immigration from dangerous parts of the world. However, there are some glaring omissions and inconsistencies in the proposal:
1) The ban on these six countries is only for immigrant visas. Nationals of these countries are still eligible for all non-immigrant visas, including student visas. We have about 13,400 foreign students from Nigeria. In the case of Sudan and Tanzania, the only form of immigrant visa that is suspended is the diversity visa lottery. Sudan is embroiled in an Islamic civil war. And according to the White House, all these countries have “deficiencies in sharing terrorist, criminal, or identity information,” thereby creating “an unacceptable likelihood that information reflecting the fact that a visa applicant is a threat to national security or public safety may not be available at the time the visa or entry is approved.” If that is the case, then why is the ban so limited?
2) Nationals of these countries can still apply for waivers. As we’ve already seen from the existing countries on the list, 48 percent of all applications for visas from those countries were approved, totaling 42,000 issuances over the past two years.
3) Nobody in government can say with a straight face that the Chinese share any meaningful information with us. Border agents have told me this firsthand about processing Chinese nationals at the border. China poses the greatest espionage, counter-intelligence, and trade secret theft threats of any country. And immigration is its biggest weapon. The director of national intelligence warned in the latest Worldwide Threat Assessment, “China’s intelligence services will exploit the openness of American society, especially academia and the scientific community, using a variety of means,” Yet we bring in more immigrants (roughly 80,000) and long-term foreign students (roughly 370,000) from China than from any other country.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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