By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
A congressman says he will reintroduce a bill that would prohibit people from nations identified as state sponsors of terrorism from entering the United States.
The bill has been updated to add Yemen as a country whose nationals would be prohibited from coming here as well.
The nations identified by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism are Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. Yemen was added to the updated version of the bill because the so-called "underwear bomber" allegedly was acting upon orders issued by al Qaeda in Yemen.
Rep J. Gresham Barrett (R-SC) says he's reintroducing the Stop Terrorists Entry Program Act in response to what he terms "recent failures" in national security.
The bill would also prohibit detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center from entering the United States. Presumably that would make it illegal to try any of them on American soil as well.
The legislation faces tough sledding because of the long-standing U.S. policy toward Cuban immigrants. Currently, any Cuban who makes it to U.S. soil is permitted to remain. Those interdicted at sea, whether or not in U.S. waters, are subject to repatriation.
“While President Obama may have declared an end to the war on terror, it is clear our enemies did not get the message," Barrett said.
"Twice in the past two months, radical Islamic terrorists have attacked our nation and the administration has failed to adapt its national security and immigration policies to counter the renewed resolve of those who seek to harm our citizens. More disturbingly, the president stands by his decision to close the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay despite reports that released prisoners were behind the Christmas Day bomb plot."
Barrett's "war on terror" comment is an apparent reference to the administration's semantic re-framing of the effort from a war on terrorism to a war on al-Qaeda. But in comments he made last week about the failure to prevent the suspect in the Christmas Day attempt to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight from entering the U.S., Obama used the words terror or terrorism 10 times.
The administration has adapted its national security policies by requesting enhanced screening at airports of travelers from certain countries known to harbor large terrorist elements. There has been no change, however, in immigration policy.
Barrett's proposed legislation provides exceptions to those seeking political or religious asylum or emergency medical treatment from the named nations, but only after an extensive federal screening.
Although the reintroduction of the bill is prompted by the Fort Hood and Northwest Airlines incidents, had it previously been enacted, it would not have presented them from occurring. The Army major charged in the Fort Hood shootings is a U.S. citizen. And the suspect in the Christmas Day bombing attempt is from Nigeria - a nation not included in Barrett's proposed ban list.