WASHINGTON, DC--U.S. Congressman Rick Allen (R-Ga.-12) voted in favor of H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. This bill works to strengthen the security of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), a program that allows citizens from 38 participating countries to travel to the U.S for up to 90 days without a visa. This bill passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 407-19.
“Terrorists rely heavily on their travel documents. These papers are a critical piece in their evil plight, just as important as weapons. This legislation comes at a crucial time when terrorists seek to destroy us and our way of life. I was proud that the House supported this legislation with an overwhelming majority earlier today. As we have seen in France, terrorists will take advantage of any policy or program that allows them to mobilize and spread radical terrorism.
Bottom line, this legislation works to prohibit individuals seeking to inflict harm upon Americans and America from gaining access into our country. By requiring oversight from the Department of Homeland Security to hold the participating countries accountable, this legislation bolsters the defense of the United States. The House will continue to pass legislation that increases our national security and I will continue to act with the safety of the American people in mind.”
Background on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Created in 1986 and allows nationals from 38 participating countries to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days for business or tourism without obtaining a U.S. visa, by presenting a valid passport, and by meeting certain other requirements
To be designated as a VWP country, the country must meet certain requirements and participate in security reviews every other year
Background on H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015
Requires countries participating in our VWP to continuously share terrorism and foreign traveler data with the United States and requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to suspend their participation if they do not meet this requirement
Removes the ability for people to use VWP who hold multiple passports from countries like Syria, Iran, Iraq and Sudan or those who have been to those countries within the last 5 years, who could have radicalized
Requires people who fall under the previously mentioned categories to apply for a visa just like citizens of most nations already have to do in order to come to the United States
Prevents the VWP from being used as a fast-track for terrorists to enter the United States