There are all sorts of conservative “solutions” to the Paris attacks, and Rand Paul has one that deals with issuing visas. He wants to subject everyone, including French citizens, to 30-day waiting periods while we conduct background checks. This includes visitors and students wanting to study in the U.S., even if they’re from visa-waiver countries. In addition to that, he wants Syrian refugees to submit to everything from fingerprinting to monitoring for terrorist activity before they’re admitted to the U.S.
Paul spoke to reporters on a conference call, where he specifically said:
It’s about time, and Paris should wake us up that we can’t just let anyone come to this country. Forty percent of immigration issues in our country are from visa overstays, and for those visiting us from countries that have large jihadist movements, this will be a bone of contention.
Seeing as how France seems to have a growing jihadist movement, this could be construed as a jab at them, because they had the gall to be attacked by ISIS. How does he plan to justify this to France? He probably doesn’t. The xenophobic Islamophobes just want to keep everyone out.
The 30-day waiting period would apply to visa-waiver countries, like France, which pretty much destroys the purpose of the visa-waiver program. This would not only hurt citizens of our allies, but it would also hurt U.S. citizens who need to travel abroad, and here’s why: Rand Paul doesn’t seem to get that the visa-waiver program is a reciprocal program, and there would be nothing to stop pissed-off allies from subjecting our citizens to the same waiting period.
The one exception would be Global Entry. Travelers who are part of the Global Entry program won’t have to submit to the checks, but not many travelers who aren’t U.S. citizens or legal residents are part of that program (which could be why Paul has no problem with this exception). Students certainly aren’t. Imagine the burden this is going to place on exchange programs, and other educational programs.
Paul is pushing paranoia that ISIS is going to get into the U.S. by posing as refugees or visitors. The other problem with his bill is that refugees often arrive with the clothes on their backs and little else, so there is one of two things going on in Rand Paul’s head. There is no way to do the tracking and monitoring that he wants to do, and there is virtually no way to screen the refugees the way he thinks we ought to be screening them. So the first thing that could be in his head is that he really has no idea what he’s talking about here. Given the complete lack of intelligence among the GOP, this is entirely possible.
The other possibility is that he does know, and knows that since the level of tracking, monitoring and screening he wants isn’t feasible, it’ll keep the refugees out. Knowing how coldly calculating some of the GOP can be, this is the more likely possibility, especially since many members of the clown car are trying to cater to the xenophobes and Islamophobes that litter their party.
He also said that the burden of the refugees needs to fall on those who made the situation worse, like Iran and the rest of the Middle East. What about the nations that created the situation in the first place – us and the U.K.? Why are we now working so hard to shun responsibility for the mess we created when we deposed Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and exacerbated when we got rid of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya? We carry a lot of the blame for this, so when are we going to step up and accept responsibility for our role?
Oh, that’s right, we’re the United States of America. We’re so awesome we don’t have to take the blame for anything. And we can hurt other nations, even those that are the victims of our mess (like France), all in the name of national security. ‘Murica.