In a long-overdue move, the State Department has ordered that visa applicants from most countries, including the Middle East, receive face-to-face interviews before visas are granted. This is a huge step forward, and it is hard to understand what took so long. The change was opposed by representatives of the tourist industry and some other U.S. businesses.
Last October, Joel Mowbray of National Review Online obtained copies of the visa applications submitted by the Sept. 11 hijackers, and concluded that 15 of the 19 visas never should have been granted, as the applications contained obvious errors and omissions. Our post on Mowbray’s research is here. Face-to-face interviews would have vastly increased the likelihood that some of the terrorists, at least, would have been unable to enter the country. And the fact that suspicious individuals were trying to get in could have been noted and acted upon.
Incidentally, I assume that Saudi Arabia is among the countries whose citizens will now be interviewed as part of the visa process, but the article linked to above does not say this specifically.
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