A screenshot from USCIS Form I-854 (Image credit: End the Lie/USCIS)
According to a notice published in the Federal Register on January 25, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that 136 people will apply for so-called “snitch visas” this year which allow people to enter the U.S. who might otherwise be barred from entry, including terrorists.
In the announcement, published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) branch of the massive DHS, the USCIS stated that it is looking for public comment on the application form until March 26.
The form is used by law enforcement to request an “S Visa” to what Government Security News Magazine calls “either an ‘alien witness’ or an ‘informant’ who promises to assist in an investigation by law enforcement authorities against a criminal organization or a terrorist group, but who otherwise would be ineligible to enter the United States.”
The form asks the law enforcement officer to outline what benefits the U.S. might stand to gain by allowing the individual entry.
One box allows law enforcement to identify if the individual will be placed in danger either in the U.S. or abroad as a result of acting as an informant while another box says, “If the alien poses a danger, the danger posed by the alien is outweighed by the assistance the alien will furnish.”
The application, which is officially known as Form I-854, has a checklist of over 30 reasons why the individual would ordinarily be considered “inadmissible.”
Some of the most unbelievable reasons for inadmissibility for which an American law enforcement official can seek a waiver include (all copied verbatim from the form):
International child abduction
Ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in the commission of the acts of torture or extra judicial killing
Coming to overthrow U.S. Government
Unlawful activity related to National Security
Communist Party member
Controlled substance trafficker
Engaged in conduct relating to severe violations of religious freedoms
Weapons charges, domestic violence, and money laundering
Exercised diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution
Previously removed – aggravated felony
There is also the mysterious “Other” check box which would, potentially, open the door to anyone and everyone regardless of the most heinous crimes committed.
Then again, the checklist already includes some of the most reprehensible criminal acts one can imagine.
While DHS estimates that 136 will be applied for, there are actually 250 S Visas available. 200 S-5 visas are available per year for aliens who possess supposedly critical and reliable information about a criminal organization or enterprise. 50 S-6 visas are available per year for aliens who can supposedly provide information about a terrorist organization, enterprise or operation.
S Visas can actually be obtained for people already in the U.S. facing deportation.
“Applications may be submitted for a person outside the United States or a person already in the country but facing deportation,” states a fact sheet published by Ansari Law Firm of Austin, Texas, which focuses on immigration and nationality law.
According to the Federal Register posting, an estimated 578 hours per year are spent processing S Visas, based on the estimated 136 applications.
Ultimately, it really should not be that surprising since Michael Leiter of the National Counterterrorism Center revealed in his testimony before the Senate in 2010 that the U.S. government does indeed allow individuals on the terrorist watch list to enter the United States.
“I will tell you that when people come to the country, if they are on the watch list, it is because we have generally made the choice that we want them here in the country for some reason or another,” Leiter said.
Leiter said that of the hundreds of thousands of people on the terror watch list, “It would have been a very large number eligible to come in, whether or not they were ultimately turned away at the border–I can’t give you that number.”
This apparently unregulated practice might be even more absurd than the practice of issuing S Visas while the government continues to highlight the threat posed by terrorism.
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