Monday, June 21, 2010

Should US visa holders have their visas revoked for not snitching?

"Remarkably stupid", "about as crafty a policy as using landmines", "unconscionable and frankly laughable propositions", and "the author [has] stooped so low as to suggest we use black mail" are three of the more salient comments made about this article by law professor Eleanor Brown. Brown proposes requiring visa holders in the United States to inform authorities about terrorist attacks. She writes:

"In the event that visa holders are later found to have failed to share critical information which could have prevented a terrorist attack, and which they had reason to know, the penalty should be the withdrawal of visas."

What makes this so nakedly xenophobic, racist and in love with its own boorish tough-mindedness (sort of like this fellow), is that no penalties are proposed for citizens or permanent residents. I'm not sure what laws already exist to punish these sort of people, who presumably would be accessories to whatever crimes have been committed. If there are no such laws, there really ought to be, because then they could apply to gangland murders, corporate fraud and other wholesome American crimes not committed by swarthy foreigners.

Brown makes much of the fact that it is the "global elite" who can easily get US visas, and are well-connected to know the dirty details about others from their country. What might happen, and deservedly should happen considering America's paranoia, is that those people should either go elsewhere or simply stay home.

Increasingly, the bright Chinese and Indian workers and students that power America's immense technological superiority over the rest of the world have reasons to stay home, partly because they can make a decent living at home and partly because visa restrictions in America are so onerous. (I'm writing this on an American website in between watching videos on another American website using American software and an American operating system.)

Sooner or later, America will have to come to terms with the fact that it is impossible to know everything about every single person in the country. The two options are to either hermetically seal off the country in the way of North Korea or Myanmar, or to accept that terrorist attacks are possible, will be attempted and might even happen. That a dozen people might die here and there seems small potatoes in a country where 15,000 people are murdered every year and more than 2 million are in prison.

Here we have yet another case of pageantry, the sort of thing that looks tough and makes a great big show, but really accomplishes nothing. It seems intended more to mollify like-minded individuals than to enhance security, an otherwise empty symbolic gesture that has the potential for disastrous consequences. When people do this sort of thing, typically they have something shallow and mundane in mind, like responding to a billion-dollar deficit at city hall by restricting councilors' personal spending, which amounts to at best a million dollars.


Anonymous said...

Dangerous minorities share intel with eachother before they come to corrupt our shores.

We should take this a step further and use them for mandatory service in the military, especially if they're coming from terrorist countries like Iran or Afghanistan.

Seadog said...

When is Anonymous starting his own blog?