Some of the Sept. 11 hijackers entered the United States legally on visas but never departed when their visas expired. It's now 2006, and we are told that an entry-exit system doesn't exist and the government has abandoned plans to create it.
The government had $1.7 billion to develop this program, but now tells us that is not nearly enough money, so all plans are being scrapped. There's no such thing as border security without an entry-exit system because at least 30 percent of illegal immigrants in the United States entered the country as legal visitors and then disappeared into our population.
Student visas, many of which are given to Third World applicants, are a major source of fraud. We know that Sept. 11 Pentagon pilot Hani Hanjour came in on a student visa. About 1 million foreign students are in the U.S. at any given time.
In August 2006, 17 Egyptian students entered the U.S. on legal visas supposedly to study at Montana State University, but 11 of them had no intention of doing that and disappeared when they arrived in the U.S. After a national manhunt, two were arrested in Richmond, Va., one in Minneapolis, two in Manville, N.J., two in Dundalk, Md., one at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and three in Des Moines, Iowa.
Tracking people who come into the United States and requiring them to leave when their visas expire is an essential component of national security. Failure to implement such a system means our government doesn't care about protecting our borders.
The same week as the Swift & Co. arrests and the sensational GAO report came the revelation, now widely reported, that the Bush administration has no intention whatsoever of constructing an actual fence on the U.S.-Mexico border. This is in spite of the fact that the Secure Fence Act was passed in the fall by the Senate 80-17 and by the House 283-138, and President Bush starred in a photo-op just before the November election so we could all witness him signing it into law.
Now we hear it's all a sham. We hear vague rumbles that we might get a "virtual" fence, but what we really got is a virtual law.
Border fencing is not a total solution any more than employee verification or entry-exit tracking, but they are all necessities. President Bush must carry out his constitutional duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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