In his excellent, far-reaching book Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity, the late Samuel Huntington discussed how, given the combination of a) demographic momentums, b) multiculturalism as the basis of U.S. immigration policy, and c) the nature of non-white racialism and nationalism as a form of group interest, diaspora-heavy, foreign governments would rationally seek to influence U.S. immigration policy to benefit said countries/groups.
In “Some Countries Lobby for More in Race for Visas”, the NYT today briefly looks at some of the lobbying done by foreign governments to have special provisions inserted into the immigration bill.
From special visa set-asides, to wholesale Visa waivers, some of these governments (through their well-connected lobbyist representatives) have “succeeded in winning provisions in the fine print of the 867-page immigration bill now before Congress that give their citizens benefits not extended to most other foreigners.”
The deals are already drawing some criticism, particularly from those who worry that some of the provisions — in addition to already increased annual visa allotments available generally — could create an influx of foreigners large enough to undermine American workers.
“This could turn into a stealth immigration policy,” said Ronil Hira, a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology who studies the immigration system. “Every country is going to try to negotiate its own carve-out.”
Poland wants the United States to revamp the rules that allow foreign nations to become eligible for the so-called visa waiver program, letting tourists visit the United States without having a formal interview at embassies overseas.
Poland has been unable to qualify because too many of its citizens are rejected when they apply for visas — an indicator that they might try to fraudulently use a tourist visa to immigrate to the United States.
The effort to revise the rules has support from the White House and groups that promote tourism in the United States. The provision could also benefit 10 or so other countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Israel.
But Jess T. Ford, who examined border security issues for the Government Accountability Office until 2011, said the change could create a loophole leaving the United States vulnerable to increased illegal immigration, at least until the United States sets up a long-delayed system to monitor visitors when they exit, not just when they arrive.
Meanwhile, a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S. is buried in the immigration bill.
But, hey, we have to pass the bill before we can find out what’s in it.