Skip to comments.Feds Shred Visa Applications
Posted on 08/21/2002 7:36:48 PM PDT by kattracks
No lessons learned here: The perpetually wishy-washy State Department intentionally shreds millions of unsuccessful immigration applications containing information that some officials say could fight terrorism.
"Many applicants are from countries the U.S. government considers sponsors or harborers of terrorists," the Associated Press reported today.
A top Bush administration counterterrorism official said he found the destruction of applications "very shocking." He said the documents would be useful to investigators.
Counterterrorism and law enforcement officials were unaware of the practice and told AP the information should be kept and used as needed in investigations of terrorism.
Bureaucrats at Foggy Bottom admitted using high-speed shredders in Kentucky they call "Igor One" and "Igor Two" to destroy the records of would-be immigrants who lose under the highly criticized visa lottery.
A Nation Devouring Itself
The bureaucrats at State have refused to stop accepting immigration applications from nations that the U.S. itself classifies as sponsors of terrorism, including Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Of course, the federal government is also funding North Korea's nuclear expansion, so this kind of insanity is nothing new.
"Millions across the globe apply, but only about 50,000 are picked randomly each year. Each one-page application includes the person's name, photograph, current address and place of birth, as well as the same information and photographs for all immediate family members. Winning applicants are asked further about the dates and locations of any schools or jobs," AP reported.
Only the winning names are retained and checked against lists of terrorists and criminals. "The rest the overwhelming majority are destroyed under the State Department's rules for the 1990-era Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery."
State Department spokesman Ed Dickens had this to say: "We'd be happy to mail them to the CIA if they wanted. They're not of particular use to us."
AP noted, "Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials told about the shredding by The Associated Press said they could see an investigative use for the information."
Immigration lawyers, however, are more concerned about their clients.
"I don't see the fact that some terrorist applied for a diversity visa 15 times really does us that much good," said Kathleen Campbell Walker of Kemp Smith P.C. law firm in El Paso, Texas. "How does that really help us much?"
Among those admitted into the U.S. by the visa lottery: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, the Egyptian who gunned down two people July 4 at Los Angeles International Airport.
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
War on Terrorism
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