The U. S. State Department is still trying to figure out who granted the foreign secretary of the Taliban a visa that enables him to take classes at Yale, where he is now a freshman. At the same time, the State Department stands by the decision of its former chief, Colin Powell, who refused to grant a work visa to a professor from abroad whom Notre Dame wanted to hire.
That professor would be Tariq Ramadan, whose grandfather founded the parent group of Hamas. Given the precedent set by the Taliban vet who is now a Son of Eli, the next question becomes: does this mean that Tariq Ramadan can now get into the United States on a student visa?
“That certainly would be a bizarre result,” admitted U. S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, at a forum on immigration held on Capitol Hill. The forum, broadcast on Rightalk Radio, was sponsored by Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation.
Sen. Alexander still insists that the question of student visas be looked at carefully. “They usually stay for definite periods of time,” Sen. Alexander said. “But I’m not sure I always want them to leave.”
“You may have someone facing persecution in his homeland who could be the next Wernher von Braun.” Braun was the German scientist who fled Nazi Germany for the United States and helped the U. S. government develop the space program.
“We don’t have the plumbing to handle massive immigration flows,” says policy analyst Mark Krikorian. Krikorian, who works with the Center for Immigration Statistics, was referring to the immigration process run by the federal government.
Certainly, the U. S. State Department, which until recently processed visa requests, has an odd way of patching leaks in the system. A State Department
still in use asks visa applicants some surreal questions and makes a very strange reassurance.
“Do you seek to enter the United States to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose?,” applicants are asked. “Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U. S. Secretary of State?”
“Have you participated in persecutions directed by the Nazi government of Germany; or have you ever participated in genocide?” Next to this question are two check boxes; one for yes, one for no.
“While a YES answer does not automatically signify ineligibility for a visa, if you answered YES you may be required to personally appear before a consular officer.”
Here are all of the Come-one-come-all-questions that might give you a chance to visit U. S. embassies, although, as noted, affirmative answers will not necessarily kill your chances of entering the U. S. with State Department benediction:
38. IMPORTANT: ALL APPLICANTS MUST READ AND CHECK THE APPROPRIATE BOX FOR EACH ITEM.
A visa may not be issued to persons who are within specific categories defined by law as inadmissible to the United States (except when a waiver is obtained in advance). Is any of the following applicable to you?
• Have you ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even though subject of a pardon, amnesty or other similar legal action? Have you ever unlawfully distributed or sold a controlled substance(drug), or been a prostitute or procurer for prostitutes?
• Have you ever been refused admission to the U.S., or been the subject of a deportation hearing or sought to obtain or assist others to obtain a visa, entry into the U.S., or any other U.S. immigration benefit by fraud or willful misrepresentation or other unlawful means? Have you attended a U.S. public elementary school on student (F) status or a public secondary school after November 30, 1996 without reimbursing the school?
• Do you seek to enter the United States to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose? Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State? Have you ever participated in persecutions directed by the Nazi government of Germany; or have you ever participated in genocide?
• Have you ever violated the terms of a U.S. visa, or been unlawfully present in, or deported from, the United States?
• Have you ever withheld custody of a U.S. citizen child outside the United States from a person granted legal custody by a U.S. court, voted in the United States in violation of any law or regulation, or renounced U.S. citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation?
• Have you ever been afflicted with a communicable disease of public health significance or a dangerous physical or mental disorder, or ever been a drug abuser or addict?
While a YES answer does not automatically signify ineligibility for a visa, if you answered YES you may be required to personally appear before a consular officer.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.