April 12, 2016 | Quoted by Nahal Toosi - POLITICO

Obama aides vexed by visa crackdown

Last December, as the world reeled from the deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, President Barack Obama fully backed lawmakers who passed legislation aimed at keeping out terrorists who try to reach the U.S. through the popular Visa Waiver Program.
But nearly four months after Obama signed the bill into law, his administration is struggling to implement a key piece of it, one that affects dual nationals. It also is refusing to release clear criteria as to how it will apply that part of law.
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That is frustrating both critics and supporters of the measure who worry the new screening process is at best confusing, at worst discriminatory and ultimately ineffective at catching would-be enemies of the United States. One senior Department of Homeland Security official, in describing the challenges involved in enforcing the law, called the new set-up “an honor system with checks and balances.”

Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said he worries terrorists from those four countries — but especially Iran — can currently easily exploit lax travel restrictions to get their operatives to the United States. But he said not laying out the official guidelines for who the U.S. will consider a dual national could render the new system worthless.

“The risk that people lie always exists — and if this is what DHS truly fears, then they should discard the Visa Waiver Program altogether. To not disclose clear criteria for fear that people might try to cheat the system will in fact produce the opposite outcome,” he warned.

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