On September 11, 2001, 19 immigrants committed the worst mass murder in American history. They used a program called Visa Express (which let Saudis bypass normal visa applicant procedure) to get their visas.
I found it interesting that so many of the writers were so sanguine over the prospect that the September 11 tragedy would facilitate long-overdue immigration reform. Though indeed the event did take the wind out of the pro-immigration camp's sails, I believe that this effect will be both temporary and of limited degree.
The fact is that it has always been the case that most Americans, including most immigrant Americans, have been in the restrictionist camp. The problem has been that the wishes of the populace have always been trumped by the special interests, such as:
etc., etc., etc.
- the ethnic-activist groups lobby
- the educational lobby
- the computer industry lobby
- the manufacturing industry lobby
- the farm lobby
- the immigration lawyers' lobby
- the libertarians (often funded by other lobbies)
The events of September 11 have not changed this picture. True, the various lobbies have been temporarily muted in public, and this probably will prevent them in the near term from pushing their plans to liberalize immigration policy. But they will strongly resist any attempt to impose new restrictions on immigration, and unless the restrictionist majority in the populace can be mobilized, very few meaningful restrictionist reforms will be enacted (via legislation in Congress) or implemented (via changes to regulations and administrative practices by the executive branch).
This was illustrated this week when Senator Feinstein withdrew her earlier proposal for a six-month moratorium on issuing visas to foreign students who wish to study in the U.S. After she first made her proposal a couple of weeks ago, the educational lobby—including not only universities and small colleges, but also many specialist institutions such as those offering English lessons—immediately pounced on her. She then withdrew the proposal. She then told a radio interviewer, in what I perceived to be a rather bitter, cynical tone, “These schools make lots of money from the foreign students, so I had to withdraw my proposal.”
Matloff was right, nothing changed. See also: