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Brad S.
Democrat CA 30

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  • Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015

    by Representative Brad Sherman

    Posted on 2015-12-08

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    SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, there are some 6 billion people in the world who aren't from one of the 38 favored countries and have to go through an in-person interview to visit the United States. It is not unfair for us to impose the same requirement on those Europeans who have visited ISIS-infested areas.

    This bill will do some good, but it is mostly evadable. Most ISIS foreign fighters go to Turkey. Their passport is stamped in Turkey, and then they walk into Syria. ISIS does not stamp their passport, and so they are free to say that they never went to Iraq or Syria. This bill will make sense only if it applies to those who visited Turkey.

    Even if they did get their passport stamped, say they flew to Baghdad, got it stamped by the Iraqi Government, all they have to do is go back to Europe and say, ``I want a new passport. My hair style has changed, I want a different picture.'' They get a new passport. Their old passport, holes are punched in it. It is returned to them, and so there is no record that they ever visited Iraq.

    Most of our European friends don't have a list of which of their citizens have visited Syria, Iraq, or Iran. If they did have such a list, they wouldn't share it with us because they have privacy laws. Now, they will cooperate with us on individual suspects, but not a list of tens of thousands of people who have visited Iraq, Syria, or Iran, and certainly not the millions who have visited Turkey. So they don't have a list. They won't share a list.

    Looking at a passport only tells you that somebody got a new passport. Seeing that it was stamped only in Turkey but not stamped in Syria just shows you that they walked into Syria and ISIS didn't stamp their passport.

    I look forward to passing this bill, and then getting serious on a bill that will accomplish its purposes.

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