Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015by Representative Jeff Duncan
Posted on 2015-12-08
DUNCAN of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, this legislation is a step
in the right direction. The changes that I like particularly to the
Visa Waiver Program are a requirement to share counterterrorism
information with the United States and that all visa waiver countries
must submit lost and stolen passport information to INTERPOL's database
within 24 hours.
In May of 2014, a foreign fighter, radicalized on the battlefield in Syria after 1 year, traveled back to Europe. He traveled through Turkey and through Germany. It is believed that Germany had information on this individual, but it failed to share that information with its neighbors France and Belgium. He arrived in Brussels. In a 90-second attack with an automatic weapon on a Jewish museum, he killed 4 people before fleeing to France, making it all the way to the south of France, to the city of Marseille, where he hoped to cross the Mediterranean and disappear into the African continent.
Why do I tell you this story? It is because of the freedom of travel in the Schengen region, or the open borders region in Europe, the radicalization of foreign fighters joining ISIS on the battlefield and having the ability to travel back to Europe and possibly, being undetected, travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program if the countries don't share the information.
In addition, in the last 30 days, we have seen numerous instances where stolen or fraudulent passports have been used by migrants and terrorists to travel throughout Europe as well as across Latin America.
Just recently, five Syrians traveled through the tri-border region, which is Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. It is a region in the northern area of Argentina. They traveled there from Syria on stolen Israeli passports, and then they purchased, in the tri-border region, Greek passports and were able to transit Latin America into Honduras, where they were stopped with those false passports.
These are real examples of real issues, and it is why I support what we are trying to do today.