Biden withdraws proposed rule under Trump for more visa oversight

Former President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a new rule in 2020 that would have established greater oversight of certain non-immigration visa classifications that have been repeatedly exploited by radical Islamist extremists and Chinese communist regime spies posing as students or researchers.

President Joe Biden’s DHS has just withdrawn that proposed rule, however, citing pushback from the public and allegations that the new rule would prove too burdensome and discriminatory, The Daily Wire reported.

In other words, because of critical public complaints that likely emanated from those who would be most impacted, the Biden administration has essentially declined to take the common-sense step of ensuring that certain nonimmigrant visa holders aren’t exploiting America’s generosity in order to commit espionage or terrorism.

It was a great rule

It was on Sept. 25, 2020, that Trump’s DHS posted notice of proposed rulemaking 2020-20845 with the Federal Register, a new rule that would impose greater oversight of the F, J, and I classifications of nonimmigrant visas, which are used for, respectively, academic students, cultural exchange visitors, and foreign information media representatives.

More specifically, the new rule would change those three visas from being open-ended so long as terms were complied with, known as “duration of stay,” to instead be of the fixed time period variety, meaning they would need to be reviewed and renewed every two or four years.

The purpose of the rule, according to Townhall, was to better detect potential Islamist extremists and Chinese communist spies, among other potential national security threats, who were taking advantage of those particular open-ended and loosely enforced visas, of which there are countless documented examples.

To that point, the new rule would require in-person interviews as part of the visa renewal process and would have DHS agents “collect biometric information, spot-check progress at academic institutions, and double-check that original claimed purposes remained valid.”

Proposed rule withdrawn

The only thing unreasonable about that proposed rule is that it wasn’t already in place, but that apparently is not how President Biden’s DHS felt about the situation, as it filed its own notice with the Federal Register on July 6, document 2021-13929, announcing the withdrawal of 2020-20845.

The new notice cited the fact that nearly 99% of the 32,000 public comments on the proposed rule had been in opposition to it, with the most frequent complaints being that it would be discriminatory toward certain visa holders of certain nationalities, and that it would prove incredibly burdensome to the visa holders as well as the academic institutions and private employers who hosted those visa holders.

Furthermore, the withdrawal notice cited an executive order from President Biden that had directed DHS to identify and remove any rules determined to unnecessarily impede access to various entry visas and immigration benefits, a category in which the proposed rule was placed.

It’s bad if Trump did it

Those arguments for doing away with the proposed rule do nothing, however, to counter or debunk the numerous and well-documented examples of Islamic extremists and Chinese spies taking full advantage of the lax oversight of those particular nonimmigrant visas to plot attacks or engage in espionage.

Townhall ultimately concluded that “The sad probable truth is that a life-saving piece of governance died of petty political avarice over one fact about it: that Trump was the one who proposed it.”

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