WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) has signed on as a cosponsor of legislation to help identify and stop terrorists from entering the United States via the Visa Waiver Program. This bill is expected to pass the U.S. House of Representatives next week under suspension, meaning it has broad bipartisan support for passage.
Thirty-eight countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, which expedites entry into the United States. However, thousands of holders of passports from Visa Waiver Program countries have traveled to Iraq, Syria and other troubled areas to meet up with ISIS and other terrorist groups. Through the Visa Waiver Program, these individuals could travel to the United States with little scrutiny.
H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, would strengthen our national security by requiring every participating country to have e-passports, lost or stolen passports be reported to Interpol, and people who have traveled to Iraq, Syria or other areas of concern go through the regular, thorough visa screening process.
“The president’s failed policies in Syria have led to the threat that ISIS poses to America and across the world. The Visa Waiver Program, as it stands now, has clear loopholes that would allow someone who recently traveled to ISIS territories to come to the United States as a visitor with minimal scrutiny. As the president has failed to lead to make our nation secure from the threat of terrorism, Congress must act quickly to strengthen our borders and improve the screening of visitors arriving on American soil.
“Next week the House will take up the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, which I am proud to cosponsor. This legislation ensures that travelers are thoroughly screened and that other countries are held to the highest passport standards. We must take every action possible to protect our nation and safeguard against those who wish to do us harm,” Rep. Jenkins said.