US immigration draws the line at genocidal maniacs
Sunday 04 July 1993
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service of the United States Department of Justice wants to know. In the old days they used to ask whether you were a communist. But since the collapse of the 'evil empire', America has had to identify new enemies, new baddies: Aids, drugs, terrorists, child snatchers. To find them among the estimated 445 million people who enter America each year, the immigration department's latest visa forms ask:
Are you a drug abuser or addict?
Have you ever been a controlled-substance trafficker?
Are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities?
Are you involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide?
Were you involved in the persecutions associated with Nazi Germany?
Have you ever detained a child from a US citizen granted custody of that child?
Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offence or crime involving moral turpitude?
Have you ever asserted immunity from prosecution?
If the answer to all the questions is no, you do not need to have a visa to go to the US. But if the answer is yes? Duke Austin, senior information officer for the Immigration Service, is not sure whether anyone has answered yes to any of these questions. But if they did, he said, they would lose their right to a visa waiver.
'The point is that if you are found to be HIV, or something like that, and you have failed to declare it, you can be removed from the country without benefit of a court hearing.'
There is, however, a definite upside to the new immigration order. These days the poor, tired businessman who has been huddled in the back of a jumbo jet all day need no longer stand in the endless queues at New York or Newark airports.
The new Inspass system allows you to register with US immigration, whose electronic device measures nine prescribed features of your hand, such as width and length.
This information is imprinted on a plastic card, and when your card and the matching hand are presented to the new device at US immigration posts, you are cleared without further checks - unless it is discovered that you have been indulging in genocide or a little moral turpitude.
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