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Tough Talk, Little Action on “Vetting” Visa Applicants

June 14, 2017
Plain English Version

Demonstrators against the travel ban. Photo Credit: Patrick Fallon/Reuters

President Trump worries about terrorists coming to the United States.

He signed two travel bans naming only some Muslim majority countries. The reason for the bans? Trump says it was too dangerous to let people from those countries into the United States.

Federal courts said the bans were not legal and blocked them. One reason the court gave was that the bans were against the Muslim religion of Islam.

Then, the president called for “extreme vetting” of foreigners seeking to come here.

Observers waited for new rules. So far they have not come. Experts say that in the almost five months since he took office, Trump has done little.

At first, Trump said he needed ninety days to write new rules. That time has now passed. There is one new rule. It makes some visa applicants tell more about themselves. It also makes them show their social media postings.

Homeland Security blames a federal judge for the inaction on new rules. The judge told them they could not “evaluate” the vetting rules. Experts say there is plenty the government can do right now to tighten the existing rules. Immigration can act when there is a real danger.

The government asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case of the bans as part of their regular calendar. They could have asked the Court for a quicker review. They did not ask. Observers say this shows there is no urgency on the part the administration.

Most critics say Americans do not have to worry. They say the U.S. has many ways to keep people who pose threats out of the country.

Every day the real work goes on. It is about screening people who want visas and who want to fly to the U.S. It is, as experts say, “very robust.”

Commentators say President Trump has shown little interest in new rules. Rather, his people continue to argue for a ban that the courts have turned down. They could have focused on taking steps to tighten the existing rules.

Leon Panetta was the head of the CIA and the Department of Defense under President Obama. He said, “They should stop with this attack on the courts with the silly ban. They should get on with doing a thorough assessment of the vetting process. If that is the purpose.”

Source: The New York Times June 11, 2017

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