For Immediate Release
April 22, 2004
From an op-ed by Secretary of State Powell, Wall Street Journal, 4/21/04
Terrorists ruthlessly exploited America's openness on September 11th in killing some 3,000 people from 90 countries. But President Bush and the American people are determined that terrorism won't shatter our will or shut down our country.
The United States and our allies launched a global war on terrorism and, at the same time, President Bush resolved to keep our doors open and our borders secure.
Disallowing foreign visitors into America would hand a victory to the terrorists by having us betray our most cherished principles.
We must keep our doors open to the world for our own well being and because we have so much to give.
Congress should extend the biometric passport deadline for the Visa Waiver Program that allows citizens of 27 countries, including Britain, France, Germany and Japan, to visit temporarily without a visa. It is unlikely that any of the Visa Waver Program countries will produce 100 percent biometric passports by the October 2004 deadline set by Congress in the Border Security Act.
Openness is central to our diplomatic success. It is a pillar of American influence and leadership. Openness is fundamental to our success as a nation -- economically, culturally, and politically.
The United States has always welcomed visitors, as befits a nation of immigrants. While terrorists have done material harm to the United States, they will never destroy the essential, embracing spirit of America.