HIGHTOWER: Visa Madness

And you thought the IRS had an attitude problem. Check-out the visa officers in some of our foreign consulates who issue travel permits to tourists who want to visit America.No Statue of Liberty romanticism for these people, no "send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." According to the "New York Times," our visa officers in Brazil are instructed as a matter of official policy to reject tourist applicants on the basis of their appearance. For example, on the application of a 24-year old technician who wanted to visit Disney World, the officer wrote: "Slimy looking. Wears jacket on shoulders with earring." Likewise, a 23-year-old Brazilian who wanted to come to America for the World Cup soccer championships was rejected by the initials "LP!!!!" scrawled on her document. The initials stand for "Looks poor."Indeed, the consulate has a five-page manual instructing visa officers to use such abbreviations as "TP -- talks poor," and "LR -- looks rough" to screen out applicants. The officers seem to get in the spirit of rejecting anyone with a hint of poverty in their profile: [quote] "No way," an officer wrote on one woman's application, "Poor, poor, poor."This despicable practice comes to light thanks to the efforts of Bob Olsen, himself a former visa officer in Brazil. Appalled by the practice he found, Olsen refused to use the agency profiles ... and soon found himself rejected by the State Department for [quote] "failure to adjuticate visa applications with the requisite speed and good judgment required by the job." He was chastised because [quote] "he refuses to compromise with his own convictions."This is Jim Hightower saying ... Good for Bob! The good news is that a judge has now ruled that Mr. Olsen shouldn't be fired, but praised.

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