Dec 08 2015
U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) voted for the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 158) to close critical security gaps and ensure those traveling to the United States without a visa are not a threat to Americans. The bill would also deny visa waivers for those who have traveled to terrorist hotspots, like Iraq and Syria, since 2011.
"The American people deserve to feel safe and they expect a thorough screening for every person who travels to our country. This bill will strengthen security protocols that will greatly reduce the threat of a terrorist entering the United States using the Visa Waiver Program," said Rogers. "Every person who enters the U.S. will be required to have a tamper resistant 'e-passport' to provide us with critical intelligence about their background and purpose for visiting the U.S."
Approximately 5,000 Europeans have reportedly traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, many of whom are from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program. This bill will help screen for potential terrorists trying to enter the U.S. from our allied nations.
It also requires all 38 Visa Waiver Program countries to provide identification and counterterrorism information for every person who travels to the U.S. without a visa. If a country fails to comply, the Secretary of Homeland Security can suspend the country's Visa Waiver Program.
The bill passed in the U.S. House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.