President Obama has already forgotten a key lesson inflicted on the nation by the 9-11 terrorists. The U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia decided it would be more efficient and promote travel to the United States if it stopped requiring visa applicants to come to the consular section of the embassy for an in-person interview. As a result 13 of the 19 terrorists obtained their visas easily in that country even though in some instances the applications were not even complete. This program was termed “Visa Express.”
President Obama, in his January 19 speech at Disney World, outlined a program similar to Visa Express. He wants to reduce the visa interview requirement in countries where they are still required. While he mentioned the need to keep national security in mind, he called for a major increase in the number of visas issued by decreasing the number of interviews and speeding up the interviews that were still required. These recommendations are a throwback to a pre-9-11 mentality of giving priority to the number of visas issued while downplaying grounds of ineligibility – whether because of a threat to our security or a threat to U.S. jobs sought by foreign workers. This policy makes no sense in light of the 9-11 terrorist attacks and it is foolhardy as the Obama administration dismantles interior enforcement against illegal alien workers unless they commit a major crime.