From NBC's Garrett Haake and Robert Windrem
Huckabee said today, per NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner Treworgy, "Every one of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came her legally. Our government welcomed them in. Well, there's a couple of things we're going to do differently. I say we ought to put a hiatus on people who come here and give them permits if they come from countries that sponsor and harbor terrorists. Let's say until you get your act in order and we'll get our act in order."
But NBC News recently did some research on the status of immigration from four countries, which while not on the list of terrorist states, have produced a number of terrorists, both on 9/11 and elsewhere. Bottom line: The US has extensively restricted visitors from those countries since the attacks on New York and Washington.
The data shows that there was a big dropoff in temporary visits from the four nations -- Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- after 9/11, then a resurgence. However, in none of the four nations have visas risen to more than half their pre-9/11 levels. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the number isn't even one-third as high.
2006 levels are most recent available.
2001: Temporary Visits 41,060 Student/Exchange: 2921
2002: Temporary Visits 13,375 Student/Exchange: 1718
2006: Temporary Visits 23,376 Student/Exchange: 2064
2001: Temporary Visits 60,676 Student/Exchange: 4321
2002: Temporary Visits 20,133 Student/Exchange: 1852
2006: Temporary Visits 29,487 Student/Exchange: 2028
2001: Temporary Visits 35,503 Student/Exchange: 4705
2002: Temporary Visits 7,439 Student/Exchange: 1692
2006: Temporary Visits 10,552 Student/Exchange: 9471 (* Saudi Student visas way up thanks to a scholarship program from the Saudi govt.)
2001: Temporary Visits 9348 Student/Exchange: 1096
2002: Temporary Visits 974 Student/Exchange: 361
2006: Temporary Visits 3389 Student/Exchange: 487
The number of visitors from countries that have been designated state sponsors of terrorism are minimal...Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and Sudan.