May 10, 2007:
The U.S. is putting pressure on Great
Britain to identify Britons of Pakistani origin who might be terrorists. This is
all because, under current rules, any British citizen, without a criminal
record, can visit the United States without a visa. All they need do is carry
their passport. What has the United States upset is that so many of the 2,000
terrorist suspects the British are keeping an eye on, have no criminal record.
In addition, there are some 400,000 Britons (mostly those of Pakistani origin)
who visit Pakistan each year. Most of these are simply business or family
visits. But some, the police now know, are terrorism related. The U.S. is
threatening to make all Britons get visas unless Britain can insure that no
Pakistani based terrorists just jump on a plane and come for a visit. The Brits
point out that forcing all British visitors to have visas would be a tremendous
administrative burden on the United States, and would hurt tourism. The
Americans are less concerned with this than the prospects of some of those
British terrorism suspects grabbing the next plane.