Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015by Representative Dina Titus
Posted on 2015-12-08
TITUS. Mr. Speaker, as the Representative from Las Vegas, one of
the world's greatest tourist and business travel destinations, I, too,
rise in favor of H.R. 158.
This bill strengthens the Visa Waiver Program to help ensure that potential terrorists are not able to abuse it to bypass security checks and come to the U.S. to do us harm.
We must remain cognizant, however, of the fact that the VWP program is not only a significant aspect of our Homeland Security, but it is also critical to expediting and welcoming tourists and business travelers to the United States.
In 2014, more than 20.4 million visitors arrived in the U.S. through the VWP, representing almost 60 percent of all overseas visitors. These travelers stayed an average of 18 nights and spent $4,400 per visit, generating $190 billion, which supported nearly 1 million jobs. In Las Vegas, 20 percent of our visitors come from foreign countries, many of whom use this program.
So, in short, yes, we must be cautious. We cannot afford to unnecessarily crush the growing tourism industry or risk retaliatory measures by other countries, which would make it difficult for Americans to travel abroad for business or a holiday.
I believe H.R. 158 strikes the right balance between security and accommodation. I urge my colleagues to support it. I also caution against carrying xenophobia too far.