State Dept and DHS agree: It’s someone else’s responsibility to keep terrorists from getting visas

posted at 6:30 pm on September 26, 2007 by Bryan

Your government at work, passing the buck.

The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) both are rebutting a Government Accountability Office report released last week that said the U.S. government is not adequately vetting immigrants, including those from terrorism-sponsoring countries, who win Diversity Visas (DVs).

Both agencies also disclaimed ultimate responsibility for that vetting process.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said that because of identity fraud and lack of adequate and trustworthy databases, the Diversity Visa program is a national security risk.

The report cited one State Department cable, sent from a U.S. consulate in Bangladesh, which called the program an “open door” for terrorists to enter the United States as immigrants with legal permanent-resident visas.

The Diversity Visa sounds like PC run amok. Which, it turns out, is exactly what it is.

Congress created the Diversity Visa Program in 1990. It was designed to increase immigration to the United States from nations that historically have sent small numbers of immigrants to America.

The State Department, which administers the program, is authorized to distribute 50,000 Diversity Visas each year, which are awarded via a lottery to aliens who have registered for the program.

Citizens from countries that have sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the last five years are eligible. This includes citizens from all five nations listed by the State Department as terrorism sponsors: Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba.

Now, to the buck passing.

After examining the Diversity Visa program as implemented at 11 U.S. consular posts, the GAO discovered that at six of them, State Department personnel had difficulty actually identifying who the would-be immigrants were…

When asked how the State Department could be sure it was not granting DVs to terrorists – given what was reported by the GAO – State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the DHS, rather than the State Department, had responsibility for preventing terrorists from getting Diversity Visas.

“We issue the visa,” Casey told Cybercast News Service . “If you wish to apply for a visa, you apply with Homeland Security. We are basically the last step in the process. But the entire rest of the process is something handled by Homeland Security.”

A spokesman at Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services division had a different story.

When asked about vetting the background of Diversity Visa applicants to make sure they are not terrorists, spokesman Chris Bentley said, “The State Department would have to talk to that issue. We just adjust the status of Diversity Visa recipients once they’re already here applying for permanent legal status.”

Great. Between these two incompetent agencies slip Hezbollah’s point men.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

All right. If that’s the way they want it, I’ll arrest and detain illegals that I see. I have a personal carry permit and will use it. Um, will you all bail me out? See, I’m prohibited by law to protect my country.

MNDavenotPC on September 26, 2007 at 6:36 PM

I think we’re seeing a complete weakening of the nation-state at every level in this country.

PRCalDude on September 26, 2007 at 6:43 PM

State Dept and DHS agree: It’s someone else’s responsibility to keep terrorists from getting visas

Hey maybe the U.S. Forestry Service can do it.

Mike Honcho on September 26, 2007 at 6:45 PM

The State Department, which administers the program, is authorized to distribute 50,000 Diversity Visas each year, which are awarded via a lottery to aliens who have registered for the program.

Jihad Powerball. Win a chance to kill infidels. Great idea, guys.

RedWinged Blackbird on September 26, 2007 at 6:54 PM

We should just make it easier for the Government to determine who should, or shouldn’t, get a visa. If the applicant is named Mahmoud, Achmed, Osama, Mohammed, or anything Arabic – or “Persian” – let ‘em in.

Now, wasn’t that easy?

OhEssYouCowboys on September 26, 2007 at 6:56 PM

Our country is being ruled by idiots. Truly stupid half-wits.

pat on September 26, 2007 at 6:58 PM

Sorry folks but I’m convinced more and more every day that everything will have to be started over from scratch….or ashes depending on how far it goes before we wake up.

Limerick on September 26, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Sorry folks but I’m convinced more and more every day that everything will have to be started over from scratch….or ashes depending on how far it goes before we wake up.

Limerick on September 26, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Uh huh.

PRCalDude on September 26, 2007 at 7:02 PM

pat on September 26, 2007 at 6:58 PM

pat, pat, pat….. you are giving them far too much credit, and giving authentic half-wits a bad name
s/off

mrfixit on September 26, 2007 at 7:04 PM

Let Visa handle visas. Or MasterCard.

For profit.

Problem solved.

RushBaby on September 26, 2007 at 7:07 PM

Let Visa handle visas. Or MasterCard.

For profit.

Problem solved.

RushBaby on September 26, 2007 at 7:07 PM

Yeah. It’s pretty much that simple. The government doesn’t want to displease their business overlords though.

PRCalDude on September 26, 2007 at 7:08 PM

I’ve been reporting on the Diversity Visa Lottery scam, brought to you by Teddy Kennedy, for years. Here.

Michelle on September 26, 2007 at 7:12 PM

Sounds like a pissing contest between blind people, everyone loses.

infidel4life on September 26, 2007 at 7:13 PM

I’m sure the Democrat Party would be happy to to do the jobs that the State Department and Homeland Security won’t do.

Buy Danish on September 26, 2007 at 7:15 PM

super. just super. extra triple-lindy super.

Why go to work at DHS if your underlying motive isn’t to defend the homeland? Take your apathy and go fill a seat at the DMV or post office or something.

TexasDan on September 26, 2007 at 7:17 PM

O.S.U., that’s what’s gonna happen in Virginia … thanks to the Dhemmicrat Govenor.

Tony737 on September 26, 2007 at 7:22 PM

I can see the reasons for the buck passing. Visa approval requires separate activities by both Departments. DHS, being responsible for, um, Homeland Security should be the one responsible for it. They have all the databases to keep track of the villians and potential villians, suspect states and movements of people.

State, it seems to me, only does the in-country stuff via embassies, such as verifying the documents submitted vetting via the filter of knowing the country.

The problems, thus the buck passing, lie in the delegation of tasks between them. The solution is to have DHS take over the visa offices in the embassies and staff them with their own people. The has the beneficial effect of a workforce better prepared in languages, culture and evaluation of immigrants which is also less affected by perception of sensitive issues of diplomacy.

If this had already been instituted, maybe Amadinnerjacket wouldn’t have gotten his visa last week.

Dusty on September 26, 2007 at 7:28 PM

“Jihad Powerball.” – Outstanding call, Blackbird.

Now, after having read this post and the attached articles, forgive me while i go yak.

Mike D. on September 26, 2007 at 7:28 PM

More DHS idiocy.

PRCalDude on September 26, 2007 at 7:28 PM

I don’t see why the Diversity Visa is the problem here. I think it’s a red herring in this discussion.

The problem is State and DHS’s inability to vet immigrants. That’s true of any visa (Diversity Visa, student visa, fiance visa, business visa, whatever). So why blame the Diversity Visa?

I like the Diversity Visa program. Winning the DV lottery does not grant you a visa… it grants you a visa if and only if you qualify for one. Without the DV, our only immigrants from the third world will be the upper class, and it’s not clear to me that third world elites are better than average folks (who are more likely to appreciate America’s opportunities and freedoms, IMHO).

sandberg on September 26, 2007 at 8:11 PM

When God wanted to destroy the Tower of Babel culture He used diversity as the weapon of choice. We’re fools for pursuing diversity. Multi-culturalism is death to every society that has it.

One language
One nation

Mojave Mark on September 26, 2007 at 8:18 PM

I actually got my green card thru this program. I’m now studying Md/phd here in Boston on an NIH schorlarship. My sister also came to the US thru this program, and she’s a senior in accounting at Rutgers. This program is one of the best things about the US…it’s a very helpful program. Both of us are upstanding US residents, and on our way to becoming citizens next yr.

I think trashing it is counterproductive. I hope that we separate some problems which are fixable in the program, from the actual program.

Sandberg is right. Before you get the visa, you are vetted, and interviewed, and put thru the a whole bunch of hoops. I hope that Hotair contributors understand that this is a good program, which may have some flaws (whihc can be fixed), but nevertheless is a very good program.

Chudi on September 26, 2007 at 8:24 PM

As far as I know, the 9-11 hijackers came here on B-1 visas, student visas, or Visa Express visas.

They were rich, so they wouldn’t need to bother with the Diversity Visa program, anyhow.

sandberg on September 26, 2007 at 8:46 PM

Thus we have the minutemen.

right2bright on September 26, 2007 at 8:53 PM

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry?

Troy Rasmussen on September 26, 2007 at 10:59 PM

Chudi on September 26, 2007 at 8:24 PM

As a naturalized citizen myself, I feel a special bond with you! And congratulate you, and welcome you! Since you have been through the Immigration Inquisition and survived, you are probably not interested in *more* questions. But, if you would not mind, would you tell me what motivates you to want to become a citizen?

RushBaby on September 26, 2007 at 11:48 PM

Why do we need to encourage immigration from other countries in the first place? I thought our image, freedoms, and employment already did that? If it is so bad here we would not have an illegal immigration problem from Mexico, Cuba, and X-Russain countries.

Why encourage others to move here when you can’t even properly take care of your own?

De-de-deeee!

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 12:10 AM

I’m now studying Md/phd here in Boston on an NIH schorlarship – Chudi

You have a good post. Congratulations on your studies. I am glad it helps some people. The only beef I have with helping others is that some laws iscriminates citizens by disqualifying them from lower tuitions because they are citizens, and thus noncitizens get that lower tuition rate, even though those who are citizens applying for the tuition are poor.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 12:17 AM

But then again, that is only in a few liberal states like out here on the left coast.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 12:20 AM

RushBaby,

I can’t go into it here, cus I get emotional when i talk about it and it will probably take all page. But there is no country anywhere in the world like the US, and I can’t wait to become a citizen.

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 12:22 AM

El Guapo,

I’m not sure about what you are talking about. Foreign students pay about 5 times the tuition of regular American students. Infact, the tuition generated from foreign students pay for the overhead of many US schools. Go and check up on it again…

I think you have a different beef with illegal immigration, and the children of illegal immigrants, which is completely different, but you are mixing 2 things.

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 12:26 AM

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 12:22 AM

Chudi, it’s worth it. Take a page. Dang, I’m getting emotional just asking you

RushBaby on September 27, 2007 at 12:41 AM

Chudi

yah you’re right. sorry about that. But it is strange that some congressmen press more for programs that help out illegal immigrants in some states with education here but i constantly run into grown-ups who were born and raised citizens and cant even list, define, and desribe the basic roles and responsibilities of our 3 branches of gov’t (and yet they think they are smart voters).

no disrespect to you.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 12:44 AM

I am just one of those people who had to pay his own tuition because i was disqualified for grants due to my father’s income (despite he was paying out his butt for unfair alimony and other divorce expenses which had us living like lower class), but now in some places i see immigrants (moslty illegal, remember) get breaks that hard working lower class families arent afforded.

i love success stories. i just have to question the discrimination, inadvertant or not.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 12:50 AM

Rushbaby,

I definitely will, but now is not then time. Thank you very much for asking the question though.

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 12:52 AM

When God wanted to destroy the Tower of Babel culture He used diversity as the weapon of choice. We’re fools for pursuing diversity. Multi-culturalism is death to every society that has it.

One language
One nation

Mojave Mark

You need to re-read history. multi-culturalism is why the Roman Empire lasted so long. Except for a couple rulers, forthe most part, as they expanded, they never forced people abandon their tradtions, instead they assimilated and used what was helpful.

Melting pots and mixing bowls fail to work when you allow legal discrimination of any kind.

The downfall of every civilization has always been linked with corruption, complacency, and communism.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 12:56 AM

Accepted, Chudi.

RushBaby on September 27, 2007 at 12:57 AM

El Guapo,

I initially came to this country with a student visa, and my parents in Nigeria had to pay thru the nose to put me thru junior college and college. I didn’t qualify for any govt loans or financial aid, cus I was not a citizen. After college, I got a job in research for 2 yrs and I was able to publish 2 research papers in very good journals, infact one of my mentors just won the Nobel in Chemistry in the last yr, on the very subject that we worked on. If you go to his citation, and the documents, you can see my name as a co-author on 2 of the research papers.

Nobody gave me any breaks, I had to work really hard for it. Infact, in my school no other non-citizen has ever been admitted to the program that I’m in. My parents are still in Nigeria, and I have lived in this country by myself since I finished high school. Trust me, this is part of the reason that I love this country so much, cus they reward your hard work.

I understand your beef, but I think it is being misplaced.

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 1:03 AM

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 1:03 AM

Thanks for sharing as much as you did, even though it was in response to a provocation rather than to an outreach. It’s a pleasure to have you here.

RushBaby on September 27, 2007 at 1:13 AM

Chudi

I obvisouly didnt not clear it up enough. I was trying to emphasize illegals and programs that help them while disriminating citizens and legal immigrants. I am a true believer of hard work, capitolism, and its rewards. I am still working for my degree as we speak, literally one class at a time while serving my country. That which you work for you tend to appreciate more.

My hat’s off to you and your family’s sacrafices.

Sorry.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 1:24 AM

That’s cool. It’s no big deal.

I agree with your larger point though about illegal immigrants. I think having them pay in-state tuition, while law-abiding foreign students are paying non-resident tuition is an incentive to chaos. Anyway, goodluck with ur school.

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 1:38 AM

Chudi on September 27, 2007 at 1:38 AM

One of the reasons the tuition is so high, is that illegal immigrants do receive breaks. They can become “residents” and receive resident discounts for tuition, while the honest immigrants, because they are honest and registered, have to pay the “out of state” tuition cost.
The burdens placed on honest citizens and immigrants by the illegal entry immigrants, that it could hardly be measured. Medical, schools, insurance, housing, etc., are all negatively impacted by the illegal. And, as with Chudi, the impact on hard working, independent, honest immigrants is almost to great. How many, not quite as driven as Chudi, but still an incredible asset to the U.S., are “pushed” out by the illegal invasion?
For the sake of having our lawns manicured, we are denying immigrants, or at least making it difficult, that work side by side with Nobel prize candidates.

right2bright on September 27, 2007 at 8:34 AM

Diversity Visas?? Are they kidding??

It was designed to increase immigration to the United States from nations that historically have sent small numbers of immigrants to America.

Does the State Department actually have the right to determine what nationalities have first dibs on becoming citizens because some nations are underrepresented here? Affirmative Action for immigrants. I think I’ve just seen it all. Where’s the Tylenol?

Numenorean on September 27, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Would someone help me with a quote. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson. Possibly from the Federalist papers.

It’s something about “a little revolution is healthy now and then for democracy” Something of that nature. I tried Googling but couldn’t find it.

If that’s close to what he said, it’s starting to make more and more sense.

Ernest on September 27, 2007 at 3:53 PM