The House GOP leaders’ weekly address to voters tried to memory-hole the House’s lopsided November 19 passage of a bill to slightly restrict Muslim immigration from Syria–by touting an uncontroversial call for a modest reform of travel visas.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to forget the conservatives’ November 19 victory on the House floor follows repeated veto threats from Democrats. Those threats are a problem for him–and for GOP donors–as he tries to get a massive government-spending bill through by December 11, as well as a massive $800 billion tax cut for businesses.
On Friday, he got a $305 billion transportation spending bill for cities and construction contractors to President Barack Obama, who promptly signed it into law.
GOP voters, however, are not getting what polls show they want: a block against future Muslim immigration, even though yet another Muslim immigrant launched another murderous attack on Americans on November 2. He has dropped the issue because Obama and progressives really, really want to bring in yet another wave of Muslim migrants–at least 10,000–in 2016.
So the public’s priority–and the November 19 bill–are being deep-sixed by Ryan to help him get the donor-backed spending and tax bills past the Democrats’ progressive toll-gates.
That is why Ryan delegated the weekly speech to a deputy, who obligingly talked about the uncontroversial need to tighten oversight of visitors–including Brits, Germans, and French–who have visited areas near the Islamic State’s mini-Caliphate in north-eastern Syria. The issue is so uncontroversial that even the Democrats are willing to help fix the problem.
“The next terrorist to attack our country could be only one flight away. And that’s why the House is preparing to act on legislation to prevent our enemies from entering this country through our visa-waiver program,” said Candice Miller, the chairman of the House Administration Committee, which handles various lesser issues, such as funding the Capitol’s operations. Throughout her speech, she did not talk at all about the November 19 vote to curb Muslim migration.
The point of this program is to make it easier for people from other friendly countries to visit the United States. If you are a citizen of a participating country, you can come here for up to 90 days without a visa. That means you don’t have to do an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy. There are 38 participating countries. And all of them are good friends of America: countries like Britain, France, Germany, and Belgium. The program promotes tourism to the United States and it helps to create jobs for Americans.
That all being said, it is no secret that ISIS is recruiting people from many of these same countries. For instance, the suspected mastermind of the attacks in Paris was a citizen of Belgium. The Department of Homeland Security checks all visa applicants against our terrorism databases. But other countries often don’t give us all of the information that we need to identify possible threats. The gunman who tried to overrun a Paris-bound train in August is really a prime example. European authorities had been watching him for some time. But they never alerted the United States.
And in its report to Congress, the 9/11 Commission said that “for terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.” I couldn’t agree more. We simply can’t give people from other countries special access to our soil if we don’t have all of the information that we need to make sure that they’re not a threat.
That’s why I’m working with my colleagues on a bill to strengthen the security of our visa-waiver program. Our legislation would allow the Department of Homeland Security to suspend a country’s participation in the program if it does not give us the information that we need to stop terrorists from coming here. The bill would also disqualify anyone who has traveled to Syria or Iraq within the past five years from participating in our program. And from now on, they will have to get a visa and go through all of the additional security steps that it requires. Finally, the bill strengthens our counterterrorism efforts by codifying the department’s new practice of collecting more biographical data before an applicant can travel into the United States visa-free.
And as Americans, we live in a free and open society, and terrorists are looking for any and every opportunity to exploit those freedoms and use them against us, so we need to think clearly. And clearly, we have a major weakness in our visa-waiver program–a glaring hole that we have to close. The members of ISIS will use every means within their power to attack our country. And that’s why we have to use every means within our power to defend it. We cannot afford to wait.
We must act now. Thank you.
Lopsided majorities of Americans strongly oppose the migration of Muslims to the United States.
Muslim migrants tend to be unskilled, heavily reliant on taxpayer-funded welfare programs, reluctant to integrate into America’s society, are under intense internal pressure to preserve their own mix of religion, culture and politics, and are relatively likely to join jihad groups and to support pro-jihad political groups. Fifty-six Muslims were indicted on jihad charges in the first 11 month of 2014.
Yet the federal government is set to increase its population in the United States up to 6.2 million by 2030. For example, a record 680,000 migrants from Muslims countries were granted green cards from 2009 to 2013. Also, two million people from Muslim-majority countries were admitted to the United States since the jihad atrocity on 9/11/2001.