Welcome to the US, Land of Unvetted Occupiers

Photograph Source: ctj71081 – CC BY 2.0

Once again, the mindless Zionist cheer was in full-on truth pogrom this week over the purchased news that citizens of Israel, one of the most despotic repressive and hate-driven states in the world, would no longer be subject to a vetting process designed, in theory, to safeguard the United States and its residents from visitors from other lands who pose a threat not just to “national security” but the safety of those who call the US home.

Let me be clear, I have long opposed the United States visa program as an entirely ambiguous and discretionary process fueled by enormous bureaucratic abuse which uses security as but a palpable cheap talisman when in reality its unrestricted ambiguity is intended to minimize the domestic impact of the international diversity of thought, politics, race, faith and identity.  All too often Black, brown, indigenous and Muslim passport holders have been denied admission to the US long before arriving at its shores when their applications for visas have been denied by US consulates and embassies in their native lands following interrogations by junior State Department staff. This is particularly true for the stateless and other refugees fleeing oppression at the hands of their own governments (often US proxies) or, in the case of Palestinians, by an occupier which seeks to eradicate them in their entirety and which, once again, has been amply rewarded for it.

Zionists galore preached falsely yesterday there is little difference between a rote minute-long passport visa waiver admission onto an airplane or upon arrival at a US port of entry and a visa application process that for many can and does run into numerous visits and months of delay – and for most ultimate denial — at a local US government building … an abusive process often driven by sexual harassment and rude pejorative lecture.

In short, the beneficiary of a US visa waiver program is assumed to be of good stock, safe politics and proper faith. Of course, for almost all such political payees they pass the skin tone test with fleeting glance alone. How much easier and honest it would be for Homeland Security officers at checkpoints to simply say welcome to you white, Christian, and now Jew.

Yes, waiver benefactors must, along with dozens of others so privileged, spend a few minutes in a line being asked the standard questions by security before boarding a flight such as…  are you carrying explosives, or kilos of cocaine, or severed body parts? To be repeated upon arrival at a US port of entry along with the additional query of why have you come here and where will you be staying? Yes… that’s it. You know ….

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Against this tiresome time-consuming painful process (ha-ha), stands the visa chase typically built of multiple visits to a secure US military-like compound where applicants are not just finger-printed, but often subject to hours of highly intrusive personal interrogations which include targeted questions about associations and family, political beliefs and activities, gender identity, and “criminal” history. Interviews, often canceled at the last minute, and not to be rescheduled for weeks or longer, before a visa is, if at all, granted there are security checks drawn typically not just from unreliable databases filled with baseless innuendo, rumors and uncorroborated allegations, but compelling dispositive Google searches. And why not?

After all, unlike the waiver recipients who– absent an INTERPOL Red Notice popping up on a passport—are admitted with no additional screening or questioning of consequence, visa applicants must successfully navigate an entirely arbitrary intel/security system that can deny admission to one simply seeking to visit family or to go on holiday for literally of dozens of specious and irrelevant reasons.

Of course, unlike waver beneficiaries, visa admissions are routinely denied even for minor, decades-old criminal convictions that say absolutely nothing about any current threat level of the traveler. To be sure, it is not all that unusual for those visa holders who have spent thousands of dollars and weeks of travel to arrive at a US port of entry to be greeted by excited family members only to be turned back. They can be refused entry without any stated reason as, unlike a waiver recipient, a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. It simply allows a foreign citizen to travel to a port-of-entry which upon arrival can be denied by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection or a rookie immigration inspector, based on little more than a hunch … or is that a twitch.

Against that light, visas will not be issued by a US consulate or Embassy officer where any alien who, while serving as a foreign government official, was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom or …. to violate any law of the United States relating to espionage or to violate or evade any law prohibiting the export from the United States of goods, technology, or sensitive information… or who stands in opposition to the policies of the United States Government.

And then there is the bar to admission for anyone who has engaged in or incited “terrorist” activity or has, under circumstances indicating an intention to cause death or serious bodily harm, incited terrorist activity or who belongs to a ‘terrorist’ organization or a political, social, or other group that endorses or espouses terrorist activity.” In addition, “an alien whose entry or proposed activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States is inadmissible.”

 So, too, those who have “ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide … is inadmissible as are those who have committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the commission of any act of torture … or under color of law of any foreign nation, any extrajudicial killing. Likewise, any immigrant who is or has been a member of … any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible.”

Can anyone say Zionist “settler?”

How about Israeli soldier?

How about Shin Bet?

How about Mossad?

How about the Knesset?


Welcome home to Brooklyn …Don’t forget to collect your El Al frequent flyer miles.

Stanley L. Cohen is lawyer and activist in New York City.