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Open Borders America: Millions of Migrants With Unvetted Visas

Panama hopes to close Darian Gap, and the US will help pay for it.

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Migrants With Unvetted Visas

There are many aspects involved in securing our border. Vetting migrants may not be talked about much, but it’s one of the most important parts of the legal border crossing process – and it seems this crucial step is being neglected.

The Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, sent a management alert on June 25, saying: “Specifically, we found that CBP [Customs and Border Protection] has limited information on whether non-immigrant visa holders have been interviewed by Department of State.”  The report found that between 2020 and 2023, the Department of State gave around 7.1 million non-immigrant visas without doing an in-person interview. Furthermore, within that time frame, fingerprints were not collected for an unknown number of visa applicants.

Non-immigrant visas are issued by the State Department for those who wish to enter the US on a temporary basis for tourism, business, temporary work, education, or medical treatment. They are supposed to be interviewed upon arrival, and that, in many cases, also involves fingerprinting. Visas are granted for a specific amount of time, after which the individuals are supposed to return to their native countries.

But at least 7.1 million visa holders may not have been properly vetted, and many of them may still be in the country. This is a concern because the system can and has been used to get into the US and stay illegally. Even though this can be a national security threat (remember that visa overstays were a factor in the 9/11 attacks), it seems to be one of the lowest priorities for immigration officials.

US to Help Pay to Shut Down Darien Gap

The Darien Gap is a widely used path through a dense jungle on Panama’s border with Columbia. A record 520,000 migrants used the Gap last year alone, and more than 190,000 have followed this year so far. Newly elected President José Raúl Mulino is seeking international help to close the area to immigration which he described as an expensive “humanitarian and environmental crisis.”

“We cannot continue financing the economic and social costs that massive illegal immigration generates for the country, along with the consequent connection of international criminal organisations,” Mulino said.

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas signed an agreement with Panama’s president to cover the costs of repatriating illegal migrants in that country. According to a statement from the White House, the agreement is designed to decrease the number of migrants that are being “smuggled through the Darien, usually en route to the United States.” These efforts will reportedly “help deter irregular migration in the region and at our southern border, and halt the enrichment of malign smuggling networks that prey on vulnerable migrants.”

As part of the agreement, US Homeland security teams would help Panama’s government train its personnel. The US would then pay for charter flights or commercial airplane tickets to deport the illegal migrants back to their countries. The estimated cost for this program has not yet been divulged.

What will next week bring us in Open Borders America?

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