December 9, 2015

BIPARTISAN SENTIMENT: House votes overwhelmingly to restrict visa waivers for travelers.

The House voted Tuesday to restrict a program that allows people from some countries to come to the U.S. without a visa, responding to growing fears about the threat of terrorism from overseas.

Lawmakers easily approved the measure in a bipartisan, 407-19 vote. All 19 votes against the measure were from Democrats.

The waiver program allows tourists from 38 countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain and France, to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. About 20 million tourists use the program each year.
Concerns about the program’s security have spiked following reports that all of the identified attackers in Paris were European nationals. Tourists who use the visa waiver program are already screened against American security databases, but are subject to less restrictive checks than other travelers.

“We simply cannot give people from other countries special access to our country if we don’t have all of the information that we absolutely need to ensure that they are not a threat to national security,” said Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), the bill’s author.

Under the legislation, citizens from countries that qualify for the program would be denied visa-free entry to the U.S. if they have visited Iraq, Syria or other countries deemed to be terror hotspots in the last five years, or if they are citizens of those countries. Those individuals would instead have to pass through a more stringent security process.

Wow, this doesn’t sound super-different from what Trump has suggested, only super-popular.

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