Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015by Representative Barbara Lee
Posted on 2015-12-08
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 158, the Visa
Waiver Program Improvement Act. I agree that Congress has a
responsibility to carefully examine the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and
to take appropriate steps to improve the program and ensure our
Yet I am concerned that this bill would allow for the arbitrary discrimination of individuals based on their nationality. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the language contained in H.R. 158 is written so broadly that all nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan would have their VWP revoked, even if they have never resided or traveled to Iraq or Syria and only have nationality for those countries as a result of their parents.
This bill would also terminate VWP travel privileges for anyone who has been in Iraq and Syria at any time on or after March 1, 2011, including those traveling to Iraq and Syria for professional purposes. This includes anyone from a journalist to a humanitarian aid worker. Congress can take steps to improve the program and ensure our national security without putting in place blanket provisions that allow for the discrimination of individuals based on their nationality. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address these issues as this legislation moves forward.