Gibbs gives support to visa waiver reform

| December 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – The House passed commonsense reforms to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that will strengthen national security and enhance the sharing of intelligence among nations in the VWP.  H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement & Terrorist Travel Prevention Act was passed with large bipartisan support. Key provisions of the bill include:

– Terminating the inclusion of countries in the program if they fail to share counterterrorism intelligence with the United States.

– Denying the use of VWP for individuals who have visited terrorist hotspots or have dual-nationality in those nations

– Requiring the use of fraud-resistance “e-passports”.

After passage of H.R. 158, Congressman Bob Gibbs released the following statement:

“The threat of ISIS and the attacks in Paris and California show the grave danger to America and our allies when appropriate screening protocols are not in place.  The changes to the Visa Waiver Program in this bill make it easier for the United States to screen people from VWP nations who have recently visited nations like Iraq and Syria, where ISIS has a strong foothold.  There are thousands of Europeans who have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the fight. Those who return to a VWP nation should not be given an automatic visa waiver and will have to apply for a visa, including the background check that goes with it.

“In order to prevent terror threats from developing, all nations in the program should be sharing critical counterterror intelligence that will help screen travelers before their arrival rather than trying to find them after the fact.  If a nation is reluctant or unwilling to participate in intelligence sharing, they should be suspended from the program.

“Today’s bipartisan vote is an important step in keeping our nation safe from outside terror threats and ensuring the Visa Waiver Program is made stronger and more effective. I urge the Senate to take up this legislation and send it to the President’s desk.  The security and safety of our nation depends on it.


Category: Government

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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