By Caroline May
Absent additional enhancements to visa security, the country is playing a dangerous lottery game with its legal immigration system, according to Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA).
"What most Americans don't realize is that last year alone 10 million visas were issued for people to come into the United States. Any of those individuals could have been here for good reasons or they could have been here to do harm to Americans," Forbes said in an interview with Breitbart News, shortly after the House Judiciary Committee passed his legislation to tighten up visa security.
The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved Forbes' Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016 -- cosponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) -- which would mandate more visa security and anti-fraud protocols intended to weed out foreign threats before they even reach U.S. shores.
As Forbes noted to Breitbart, from 9/11 to the San Bernadino massacre, many terrorist attacks and planned terror plots in the U.S. have been perpetrated by terrorists who came to the U.S. legally on visas.
"We also know that we don't have very good controls once they get into the U.S. as to what they are doing or when they might leave," he added.
Forbes' bill does not attempt to solve all the problems with the current legal immigration system, but instead plug some of the more obvious vulnerabilities in the process, including requiring that all visa applications be fully completed prior to the issuance of a visa and more extensive security checks on nationals from countries of concern like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.
Additionally the bill requires that all visa applicants receive additional screening including in-person interviews, social media vetting, and DNA proof for family-based claims.
"We view the ability to come to the United States as a privilege. We view the security of the people within the United States as a right. And if those two are in conflict, we want to err on the side of security within the United States," Forbes said.
"That's why we increased the burden of proof in here to a clear and convincing level, instead of just the preponderance of the evidence, because we are hearing over and over that these adjudicators are having pressure put on them to just reach a "yes' conclusion and get them in, he added. "That's just too risky."
According to Forbes, the reforms in his legislation are simply "common sense."
"Every employer just about in the country, if they're going to hire you they're going to do a social media check on you before they hire you," he said, referencing one of the provisions in the bill, mandating social media screenings for all visa applicants.
"We know there are people trying to get into this country to do not just bad things, but horribly bad things, to individuals in this country," he said.