Immigration System Changed after 9/11
The past period since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, famously known as the 9/11 attacks, has seen significant changes in the US immigration law and policy. It was after the 9/11 attacks that the federal government connected immigration screening and enforcement so as to safeguard the national security, change of the structures in the immigration department to be more vigilant and alteration of policies so as to make the US more secure.
It is in this period that a focus on national security has passed by the US immigration laws and bodies. Precisely, the government has assessed the people of Muslim origin, Arab and South Asian (MASA) origin and extended the definition of terrorist operation to comprise of an extended level of conduct. The reactions by the federal body to 9/11 have brought about an increase in detentions and deportations and pressure on immigrants living in the US. This paper will try to looks at the changes that have taken place in the US immigration system and try to highlight the management process that have been put in places so as to ensure a much safer US.
2. Immigration System Change after 9/11
2.1. Controlling the entry to the US
A most notable aspect that took place after the 9/11 attacks in the immigration policy has been the increased inspection of the people that get into the US. It was after the 9/11 attacks that the federal body improved the operations of allocation of temporary visas to tourists, business people, students and other people coming from other countries. It is through the provisions that are stated in the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 and the Homeland Security Act that the governing body opted for a means to read visas; advanced technologies and sharing of information with other bodies in the security department, coaching of consular officers on noting terrorists, increased documents for learners among others (Bellavita, 2006, p.7). It is through these changes that students, business persons among others were not given permission to get into the US.
It was in 2004 that the Department of Homeland Security came up with a US-VISIT, which is a program that calls for the acquisition of biometric details of immigrants at visa- allocation points abroad and entry points into US. From its inception, the US-VISIT has grown to comprise non-citizens as well as illegal occupants. Civil liberties lawyers have shown concern about privacy and misuse of information.
The Federal government has come up with more dynamic levels of handling with asylum seekers. In regards to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the foreigners that get into the country with no clear documentations are detained. The 1996 policies were flexible for parole individuals. Advocacy groups complained of the poor process involved and applications for local immigration. These were made much tighter in 2007 which, with the help of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the policies were much easier.
The federal governing body has looked to manage the entry of foreign occupants through developed patrolling the borders to the southern and northern parts of the country. After the 9/11 attacks the US directed more funds to the creation of physical barriers and virtual fences in the porous US-Mexico border as well as border patrols (Donovan, 2005, p. 12). Even with little focus being directed to the Canadian border, the department of homeland security has increased screening procedures in public transport that pass by the northern border.
2.2. Weeding out terrorists
The immigration laws and programs after the September 11th attacks have been used as a means of monitoring, eliminating or reducing social membership of persons that may be a threat to the US. The government operations are like Alien Absconder, interviews of foreigners among others. Consequently, the immigrants from Arab countries were questioned among other nations.
The most debatable aspect of these programs was the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). Moreover, terrorist activities have acquired a broader meaning and so as naturalization delays that has plagued aliens after the 9/11 attacks (Hendrix, 2003, 21). By 2002 the Department of Justice led to the creation of the NSEERS that was a tracking operation that registered foreigners of 16 years and above more so students, tourists, refugees and card holders. Persons that came from 25 specific countries were needed to register themselves with the immigration bodies when they get into and out of the US. This led to the NSEERS program registering over 83,000 men with the immigration bodies and about 13,000 were deported.
The other change to the immigration policies laid with the growth of elimination basis that were connected to terrorist activities. This basis was used when a foreigner uses a green card or seeks asylum and impacts the population in any way. With the application of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 and the REAL ID Act four years later, the terrorist-based exclusion processes grew tremendously. It is within this law that the term ‘engaged in terrorist activity’ has been noted to comprise the allocation of ‘material backing, as well as safe house, transit operations, communication, finances or other benefits for terrorist acts’.
There is also a delay in the implementation of the naturalization applications for applicants that are from other nations (Hendrix, 2003, 26). The United States and Immigration Services is called to either issue citizenship or deny an application in about 120 days of assessing naturalization details from them. In about a year after the 9/11 attacks, the USCIS went through the applications for applicants that originated from the Arab countries and extending the period to 2 years.
2.3. Increased detention, deportation and future prospects
After the September 11th attacks, the security body had its issues interface with extended narratives of wrongdoers in the immigrants. The number has gone up since the attacks, labeled as deportations and voluntary departures which increased from 200, 000 in 2001 to 400,000 in 2011. The grounds for this removal from the US have been based on lacking proper documentations according to Chung-Wha Hong, the director of the immigration body in New York (Donovan, 2005, p. 15). The elimination of ‘criminal foreigners’ and the keen regard individuals from the Arab nations are common groups that are noted in the US immigration policy. The ICE has come up with additional criminal removal basis that leads to the deportation of several detainees that from other nations. Going ahead, the trials are to be noted and measures taken so as to enable effective handling of national security matters in the most humane manner.
2.4. Increased Funding
A year after the 9/11 attacks, the president at the time, George W. Bush allowed the Homeland Security Act that enabled the US to be safer from attacks. This department was supposed supervise a wide number of bodies that dealt with immigration issues; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Customs and Border Protection.
It is with the formation of the Department of Homeland Security that several finances were directed to it (Bellavita, 2006, p. 7). The funding was about $589 billion ten years from the attacks.
2.5. Turning Local Police Officer to Immigration Agents
The main reason behind the increased level of deportation in the period that President Bush served was due to the new immigration enforcement programs known as the Secure Communities (Linden, 2002, p. 2). This was begun in 2008 and it is in progress in all states and set to reach the entire nation by this year.
Secure Communities calls for local law implementation bodies to have a common data of those arrested by the department. The data are in the entire database and run. If it appears that the person is on immigration hold, he or she can be kept until the immigration bodies meet up with him.
The program gives a lot of powers to the local authorities so as to act as immigration officers. This option is mandatory and if in any case the officer arrests an immigrant for over speeding, they could be as well setting them up for deportation. On the other hand, a person who is not documented may not have any tips for the law bodies.
2.6. Strict Policies for Immigration Services and US Embassies
Several offices in the United States were closed after the attacks in September. The Immigration offices were opened and by October the same year, it received an anthrax scare from the mail making the Vermont Service Center to close the mail activities all over the country. This was awaiting the allocation of new mail-handling tools. However, four days later the body went back to normal.
On the other hand, the US Embassies went on with their normal operations though under high alert (Little, 2008, p. 67). The embassies were allocated with a wide range of permission to close if they saw that their judgment based more so on a threat. Another step that was taken was keen security safety measures in acquisition and keeping of medications and antibiotics.
3. Management of the Immigration System after 9/11
The United States immigration policy as has been noted to have changed drastically since the attacks. The immigration body as however been able manage the whole operation to ensure that effective identification of any suspects. The attacks adversely affected the country’s economy and the steps taken are to ensure a stable economy.
Looking again at the US immigration policy keenly in regards to the national security grounds it has brought about valid steps and impacts. Each and every tourist to the United States is it for asylum or as a student is required to come up with valid documentation. The documents and process of getting into the US has been tighter, the use of a Costco card like Ahmed Ressam, a bomber, tried would not be possible (General Accountability Office, 2006, p. 6). Additionally, the finger prints at the entry points are done so as to make sure the identity of the persons as noted. Those coming by air are assessed alongside the terrorist watch lists and extensive focus on any terrorist connection is looked out for if there are any. The procedures that are used in case of applying for visas is quite long and keen as compared to where some hijackers were easily able to acquire visas. There is similarly for the first time that the US is coming up with keen steps so as to stop illegal immigration. This would be a major step that would adversely reduce impact illegal movement into the US and similarly a drop in the crime rate.
However the process of putting in place stricter polices and operations around the borders has had a serious impact on the security operations of the country. The US has moved from being one of the easiest nations to get into to one hardest nation globally to access. The travellers that aim to get into the country are required to go through a gauntlet of safety, measures procedures. These processes send details to the security details available. The outcome has been successful. International students have halted their movements to come to the United States, investors from other countries have sort to do their business in other countries and the tourists have opted to go other countries (Donovan, 2005, p. 17). Additionally, the immigrants that are quite desperate and skilled are opting for other nations so as to get into and start their lives in. Those that are lucky enough to get into the US go through strict policies of living and just minor offences will see them deported back to their own countries.
The deadly attack that took place in the US in September 11th 2001 had adversely affected the immigration policy of the country. Keen screening for those visiting and those on terrorist list is undertaken. While those that aim to disturb the peace of the US will be termed to as an enemy of the country and a keen eye will be placed on the person should he or she try and get into the country. What ought to be taken into consideration is expertise risk control model that notes and does away with the individuals that may threaten the security. In addition this, nations that have allowed free movement or tolerated terrorists of high profile have been issued with warnings as well as economic sanctions on them (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of Fraud Detection and National
Security, 2006, p. 2). This is set to make them to shift their support from these criminals and take action against them. Alongside this, the US has undertaken military operations in the affected countries to try and fish out these victims. So far their effort has been successful in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan where major terrorists have been killed, arrested and charged.
The government has to go on to maintain and develop facilities, technology and resources that will enable the borders to be much safer. This has been managed through creating an orderly entry at the borders which makes it possible to get illegal border crossers and do away with illegal activities (General Accountability Office, 2002, p. 8). Additionally, the law enforcers have been able to use the much improved facilities so as to note and do away with people that are dangerous to the national security. This is done through prosecuting those found violating the policies.
The immigration system offers opportunities for new ideas and is comprised of tough but justified operations to get those that get in through the border. Such people may include, illegal employees and employers and the ones that overstay their visas (Linden, 2002, p. 4). The government has similarly come up with sections in the criminal law that ought to be removed as they provide backing for law offenders.
The United States government has formed rigid connections with their neighbors in Mexico so as to get as one and make the borders safe and bring to decline illegal operations. This states that the creation of border enforcement groups comprised of federal officials from the state, local and tribal areas from the two countries.
The Immigration system in the US has altered how operations are done both internally and externally. The country has made a number of changes in terms of the policies; it has increased staff, increased resources and become stricter on aliens that get into the country. The changes that have been made a decade later have been effective and have made the country much safer. Though rubbing some people the wrong way, the US has similarly been able to work with other nations so as to make the borders much safer to operate in. The future promises to be safe if all of the other countries took tighter measures in illegal operations using their immigration bodies, more so countries that offer terrorists platforms to operate.
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