DHS announced today that the process leading to visa-free access to the United States has been started for, I kid you not, Bulgaria. Michael Chertoff said “I look forward to the day when we greet the first visa-free travelers from Bulgaria on our soil.”
I don’t. First of all, we still don’t have a fully implemented entry-exit system, so we don’t know whether a visitor actually left when he was supposed to — which means we don’t know how many visa overstayers there are. A fully functioning exit-tracking system should be a prerequisite to a visa-waiver program, so that you can remove from the program any country whose people aren’t leaving on time. And believe me, Bulgarians wouldn’t leave; the country has a lower per capita income than Mexico or Turkey.
But what it also has is a minuscule contingent of soldiers in the Middle East — 155 in Iraq and 420 in Afghanistan. For that, we’re supposed to just grin and bear even more people violating our borders and our sovereignty. This is a consequence of the State Department and other foreign-policy makers viewing the actual territory of the United States as a kind of hinterland or dumping ground, designed to facilitate the pursuit of their goals.