Vangelynn JOMEC Blog


Before terrorists struck the US on September 11, 2001, my parents were easily granted a ten-year American visa, on the very day they applied for it. Things have changed dramatically since then. Last year, my cousin studying in the US came back on holiday and had problems with his student visa when he wanted to go back.

Recent studies from The Economist1 suggest that America immigration officials have acquired a rather mean reputation. They now maltreat immigrants. Since 2000, the number of foreign visitors to the US has plunged by 17 percent due to the complicated visa process and unfriendly treatment meted to people travelling to the country.

Unfortunately, this development is proving to be a double-edged sword, as it is also harming the US. The visa restriction, pundits believe, is one of the reasons why New York is gradually losing its competitive edge as a global financial centre.

Granted, the US may have genuine reasons for tightening its visa process, particularly after the terror attacks. Yet, there is need for caution.

To allow the process remain as lengthy, opaque and inefficient as it is now will be counter productive at the long run. Already, tourists, businessmen, international students and scientists are being prevented from entering the US. Viewing every intending immigrant as a potential terrorist, as officials of the Bush administration, seem to be doing will negate the essence of America, which prides itself as ‘rainbow’ nation.

Though the State Department insists that “things are getting better” because of the 12 percent increase in the number of visas issued in 2006 compared to 2005, there is still need for the US to review its post-September 11 visa policy.


1.       The Economists – February 16 2006


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