Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015by Representative Adam B. Schiff
Posted on 2015-12-08
SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 158, the Visa
Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.
The Visa Waiver Program is overall an excellent program that facilitates the travel of more than 20 million people to the United States each year, travelers who encourage cultural exchange and contribute significantly to our economy through tourism and job growth.
The overwhelming majority of travelers who utilize the program are not a threat in any way. However, even a small number of individuals can do us grave harm. Among those of greatest concern are European citizens who return to countries like France and Belgium after traveling to Iraq and Syria to train with terror forces.
It is incumbent upon us to take every precaution to ensure these individuals cannot exploit the Visa Waiver Program to enter the United States.
[[Page H9057]] The reforms we are voting on today are reasonable, and they are appropriately targeted improvements to this important program. Specifically, they will require that nationals of Iraq and Syria as well as other designated countries and those who have traveled to these countries since 2011 undergo an in-person interview with a U.S. official and more rigorous security screening processes prior to traveling to the United States. It will also require DHS to strengthen its background check procedures and ensure improved information sharing among intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
In the wake of the recent terror attacks, we must continue to review our existing security efforts to ensure we are doing all we can to protect the country. Rather than focus on the refugee resettlement program, which is the most heavily screened and lengthy process to enter the United States, Congress should focus our energy on closing known vulnerabilities that could allow those who mean us harm to enter the United States quickly and with little scrutiny. This bill does just that.
I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation.