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Do Foreigners Have a Right to Enter the United States?

Strappado Wrack

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Do Foreigners Have a Right
to Enter the United States?

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For the purest of Libertarians, their answer would be that no nation should limit the free travel and movement of individuals across borders. Such a conclusion is one of the best illustrations why theory must be founded in reality, for it to have merit. If the optimum criteria is to postulate the best of all possible worlds, you better locate to a fantasy planet where you are the sole monarch. In the real world, governments exist and operate by their prime directive - to protect and preserve the STATE.

Attractive visions may appeal to dreamers, but pragmatic citizens want results. As long as the nation state exists, the borders of its boundary are legitimate barriers to keep out undesirables. A society that is unwilling to separate themselves from people who bear ill will, bring infectious disease, exhort political insurrection or preach heterodoxy; doesn’t deserve to survive as a country. One of the few legitimate functions for a national government is to secure entry into our territory, to acceptable visitors; and restrict all others.

Starting this week foreign visitors will be digitally fingerprinted and photographed as part of a nationwide program to check their backgrounds and keep track of when they enter and leave the United States. On the surface this looks like a necessary and desirable procedure. This procedure is the first phase of the Department of Homeland Security's automated entry-exit system called the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, or US-VISIT. Guests from foreign lands are not American citizens and have no preordained right to gain entry. But what requirements will be instituted to restrict our fellow citizens from leaving the country?

In the article: The Papers We All Accept it is demonstrated that obtaining a U.S. passport is not considered to be a right and that a citizen does not have a free and unencumbered right to travel outside the geographic borders of the U.S.; without the approval of the STATE. Thus, the question that will likely go unasked in the mainstream media, examines if there are plans to require the same exist procedures for American citizens?

According to the Department of State, the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program has this function.

How it works: Exit

1) The exit procedures at airports and seaports will be phased in, becoming operational in 2004.

2) At the international departure area, visitors will see automated, self-service kiosks where they will be asked to scan their travel documents and repeat the fingerprinting process on the inkless device. Attendants will be available to assist with the process.

3) The exit confirmation will be added to the visitor's travel records to demonstrate compliance and record the individual's status for future visits to the United States.

Now the overwhelming vast majority of Americans will consider this program to be prudent and needed. If there was confidence that this scanning procedure would be restrained from use on our own citizens, few would raise an eyebrow. However, who among the traveling public resists walking through a metal detector? The habit of allowing incremental programs becoming mandatory requirements is undeniable.

Before this issue becomes moot, a national debate would be healthy to define the proper limits and emphasis for Homeland Defense. According to Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security: "And so by January 1st of next year, if a foreign visitor, holding a visa, flies into Dulles or JFK, or LAX, or to another international airport, or arrives in one of our seaports, the visitor's travel documents will be scanned, then once a photo and finger print are taken, the person will then be checked against lists of those who should be denied entry for a whole variety of reasons, from terrorist connections to criminal violations, or past visa violations. The information requested will include immigration and citizenship status, nationality, the country of residence, and the person's address while in the United States. Incomplete information will no longer be good enough. In 99.9 percent of the cases, the visitor will simply be wished a good day and sent on their way. With that small percentage of hits our country will be made much safer, and our immigration system will be given a foundation of integrity that has been far too lacking."

If the intent of the federal government can be believed from this press release, why doesn’t this program extend to all land border points? When asked by a reporter from Universal, Mexico City . . . How long will it take for you to have this system in the borders, in land borders? - Mr Hutchinson replied: "Presently, we have six million border crossing cards already in existence with our frequent border crossers from Mexico. These are travel documents that have biometric features, fingerprints, photographs imbedded into the travel document. We hope that that continues to expand even as we move toward a more comprehensive U.S. Visit system."

An agency called - The Department of Homeland Security - is certainly not synonymous with the defense of citizen’s civil liberties. But what about their own stated mission? When will there be a serious effort to deliver an essential barrier to the real threat that comes from just walking across the border? The lack of a concerted political will to close this flood of entry, while setting into motion an entirely new system of technology that has implications to extend and track traveling Americans, seems blatantly inconsistent.

Let’s get the priority straight. The attitude that allows for and encourages an open door land border policy is more dangerous in the long run. The sooner we recognize that a total and comprehensive solution is needed, the quicker we can return to guarding citizen rights and liberties. Now is the time to hold federal officials accountable for real answers, that protect Americans, before they dream up their next scheme . . . that places you in a national data bank.

SARTRE - January 4, 2004

"The INS has just approved two of the dead terrorists visas. They applied for the visas eight months ago. It was just approved. The reason it took so long was, the INS had to do a thorough background check first, just to be sure. What the hell do you have to do to get denied a visa in this country? ...Today the government said they found the employees responsible and have had them removed from the INS. They have been transferred to airline security."
Jay Leno

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