RealNews

Official to Saudi Arabia on Visa Security Boost

The U.S. border security chief travels to Saudi Arabia this week to oversee changes in the way American visas are granted to prevent entry of militant extremists like those who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border and transportation security, is the most senior Homeland Security official to visit Saudi Arabia since Sept. 11. Since the United States discovered 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, Washington has been trying to improve scrutiny of visas issued in the kingdom. In Saudi Arabia, Hutchinson will explain the new U.S. policy that gives his department final authority over which Saudis receive visas. This adds a new layer of security and transfers a power previously held by the State Department. Homeland Security has deployed to Riyadh and Jeddah three visa security officers, who are charged with reviewing all visa applications that consular officers propose to approve. Full Story

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