If you want security clearances in the United States, the government “vets” you quite thoroughly. They begin by asking you questions and then ask for a list of people to interview — family, friends, employers, etc. They take your list and ask those people for more people who will talk about you, then take that list and ask those people for more people who will talk about you — and so on until the lists have the right number and combination of names that overlap. If you have a vindictive ex-wife, watch out. They do a credit check, a criminal background check, a motor vehicle records check, and a medical records check. Psychiatrist? That too.
When discussing visas for people coming to the U.S. from countries with terrorism issues, it is useful to know what it means to “vet” and why there is no possibility of vetting (or “extreme vetting,” whatever that means) refugees and potential immigrants who have no links to their former lives. Vetting — whether for security clearances or visas — is all about your life to this point.
President Trump’s executive order halting immigration from seven countries for 30 days — for a start — is a reasonable response to the increasing understanding that people from certain countries can pose more of a security risk than people from other countries, even when all the countries are Muslim-majority. The seven are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia; the U.S. government, under previous presidents, had cited all for terror links. Countries such as Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Oman and Tunisia and other Muslim-majority countries are not affected.
A “Muslim ban” would be racist, wrong, and a violation of deeply held American principles; but the claim by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that visa restrictions are tantamount to slavery and denying women the right to vote is slanderous, exaggerated, inaccurate and anti-American. Restrictions — and post-fact checks — on people who enter the United States from countries with clear links to terrorism, and to which we cannot turn for record-checks and interviews, are simply something the United States does.
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