The War on Travel

Written by Becky Akers on Monday, 31 October 2011. Posted in Opinion, Becky Akers

Image used by the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica to advertise the Diversity Visa Lottery.Most of us understand that government is naturally, irredeemably incompetent. We also realize it can’t stop being so, any more than water can stop being wet.

And yet some of us demand that its natural, irredeemable incompetents decide who may enter the country and who may not.

That bit of irrationality leads to such lunacy as the “Diversity Visa Lottery,” in which “the U.S. State Department is considering 9,036 applicants from nations that have been designated as ‘countries of interest’ by the Obama administration because their citizens, and people travelling from them or through them are deemed a heightened terrorist risk to the United States.”

Yep, you read that right: the Warriors on Terror, who strip Granny of her diaper at the airport lest she blow up her flight and unconstitutionally search Tennessee’s trucks in case Billy Joe Clampett joins Al Qaeda, are encouraging residents of “Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen” to visit us. I guess the CIA has tired of ginning up terrorists, and the FBI pants to chase the real thing for a change.

The “Diversity Visa Lottery” has plagued us since 1994; even when it isn’t urging citizens from countries with more than their fair share of unelected terrorists to head for our shores, it’s as patently offensive as Leviathan’s other quotas. And it’s what we should expect when we rely on bureaucrats to determine the complexion of our country. Since when has the exceedingly questionable, centralized judgment of a handful of government’s goons improved on the decisions millions of individuals make every day about where they will live?

Alas, the “Lottery” exhausts neither the sheer stupidity nor the jaw-dropping brutality of the Amerikan Empire’s War on Travel. The horrors we suffer at airports — and, increasingly, at bus terminals, on the open road, and even at football games — are merely the internal version of the gauntlet would-be immigrants run. Both arise from the same authoritarian philosophy: the State may regulate, supervise, and — when it pleases — prohibit our travel. Only with its gracious permission do we move from Point A to B.

And so Leviathan foists on us self-serving cruelty like the DREAM Act, in which children without the good sense to be born on Amerikan soil earn their citizenship at age 18 by sacrificing themselves either to the military-industrial or the college-industrial complexes. Supporters dare to prattle that “if enacted, the DREAM Act would have a life-changing impact on the students who qualify…” Oh, indeed: it will permanently indenture some while murdering others. And all because their “illegal” parents refused to break up the family when fleeing poverty or persecution.

Then there’s the “cutting-off-our-noses-to-spite-our-face” silliness many Americans advocate when it comes to movement — with politicians ecstatically racing to accommodate them. Ironically, these gullible citizens often claim to crave limited, or at any rate, smaller government, yet they play right into Our Rulers’ hands on immigration. They not only approve every totalitarian tool government invents for its War on Travel, they actually urge it to wield those weapons against us. Force employers to check the citizenship of every new hire? Absolutely, says the crowd that otherwise resents government’s stranglehold on the workplace. Require everyone to carry a national ID and produce it whenever officers so order? No problem, roars the mob that usually sniffs Big Brother a mile off.

These folks are often the first to lament the Feds’ trashing of the Constitution. But I wonder how many of them have actually read the document: nowhere does it empower the government to control or interfere in any way with travel. The closest it comes is allowing Congress to set the rules for “naturalization.” But authority over a legal procedure is entirely and radically distinct from decreeing that this person but not that one may exercise his inalienable right to live where he pleases.

No wonder that indefatigable defender of the State’s power, the Supreme Court, had to invent an “interest” for the Feds in bossing the borders. Its first decisions on the topic date from the late nineteenth century and offer high comedy indeed: since the justices can’t cite the Constitution, they quote “Mr. [William] Marcy, the secretary of state under President Pierce,” and the practices of dictatorial nations in controlling travel.

Speaking of laughs, let’s return to the “Diversity Lottery.” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Donahue tried to soothe fears that notoriously bungling bureaucrats might let a few terrorists slip past: “The program has always been under scrutiny, as all immigration laws are in the United States. Our Congress looks very carefully.”

Would that be the same Congress that only now, a century after spawning the Federal Reserve, may finally begin to consider perhaps auditing it? Hey, I’m reassured: how about you?

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) isn’t. “The visa lottery program poses a national security threat,” he alleges. But rather than admit that he and his collaborators have no business impeding travel, he “reintroduced the Security and Fairness Enhancement (SAFE) for America Act, which would eliminate the [Lottery]. Goodlatte cites Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet as ‘an example of the system gone awry.’  Hedayet, an Egyptian national, was a beneficiary of the Diversity Visa lottery. He killed two people and wounded three during a shooting spree at Los Angeles International Airport in July of 2002.”

If we’re going to condemn immigrants based on the crimes of one, I vote we apply the same principle to Congress. Whether your outrage of choice is theft, sexual “misconduct,” or manslaughter, there are more than enough incidents among Our Rulers to recommend deporting every last louse of them.

“The [Lottery] is a terrorist’s gamble,” according to Janice Kephart. She’s the “Director of National Security Policy” at the Center for Immigration Studies, a group of xenophobic propagandists to whom the U.S. Census Bureau and Justice Department funnel our taxes. “...[I]t is an infiltration tactic with little oversight … and permanent residency…”

Hmmm. Sounds an awful lot like Congress.

About the Author

Becky Akers

Becky Akers

Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian. Her novel, Halestorm, is set during the American Revolution and available in paperback or for Kindle.


Copyright © Becky Akers. Used with Permission.

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