The Immigration and Naturalization Service is planning to require 30-day limits on visas issued to tourists and business visitors. While it is true that the INS needs to tighten policies, its proposed requirements will be too difficult to implement and will hurt tourism in the nation.
Coming under fire from President George W. Bush and the Bush administration after issuing approval notices for visa changes for two terrorists who died after helping commit the Sept. 11 attacks, the INS sought to make changes in its policies and procedures.
However, changes such as limiting visits to the United States by tourists and business people to 30 days will be difficult to implement and verify. With millions of people visiting the United States each year, tracking that many people will prove to be a difficult, if not impossible, task for a bureau that cannot even keep tabs on highly publicized, dead terrorists.
Also contributing to the potential problem is the doubt that the INS can perform many tasks in 30 days. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the associate executive director for public policy of the Association for International Educators said the INS’s plan would work if it could actually follow through on its commitment, the plan could work. But he did not stop there and qualified his comment by saying, “… the INS doesn’t do anything in 30 days.”
At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, approximately 600,000 foreign students were enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities, and INS officials admitted they could not verify the whereabouts of those students. With such blatant incompetence, how does the INS expect to expand its services to monitor all visas administered and tourists who enter the country?
Surely, something must be done to improve the INS, but Monday’s proposal is not the way to accomplish positive change. The INS must improve its existing policies and procedures first.