Two senators on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, one Republican and one Democrat, have proposed a bill this week that seeks to bolster the Department of Homeland Security‘s (DHS) visa screening process, amid shared fears of foreign Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists as its caliphate has crumbled, The Hill reports. This move comes after the terrorist organization killed 24 people on Saturday when they bombed an education center in Kabul, Afghanistan and recent fighting between the Taliban and U.S.-backed government forces.
The Visa Security Expansion Act, introduced by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the committee’s chair, and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), would have the DHS and the State Department boost the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents at U.S. embassies abroad. These personnel are trained in counterterrorism and assist the State Department in running interviews for non-immigrant visa applicants and deciding which applicants should receive visas.
Sen. Johnson claims that this bipartisan bill will aid national security “by placing agents with subject matter expertise and specialized training at posts deemed to be the highest risk.”
Sen. Hassan echoed this sentiment, stating that this legislation “will help protect us from this threat by expanding the number of counterterrorism agents who aid the State Department in making decisions about whether to grant U.S. visas to foreign nationals.”
“With the fall of ISIS’s caliphate,” she said, “I am deeply concerned about the threat that ISIS foreign fighters, armed with western passports, could pose to our homeland and our allies.”
The bill, per The Hill, would specifically order the DHS and the State Department to hike up the number of these visa security agents each year in at least two U.S. embassies or consulates. Additionally, in order to pay for the new personnel, the bill includes imposing a “security fee” on visa applications from non-immigrants.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world
China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.
Key findings of the report are below.
“Persuaded to return”
According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.
Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.
The Nine Forbidden Countries
China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.
According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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