White House moves on new visa waiver regulations, asks Congress for more reforms

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

House may move quickly to overhaul visa waiver program.

The White House got the jump on Congress by announcing changes Monday to the visa waiver program as the GOP House leadership promised a vote on its own reforms before the end of the year. WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress may move quickly to overhaul a program that allows travel to the U.S. with no visa, something that has come under criticism following the Paris terror attacks. But it is not yet clear how the new White House regulations – or proposals for cooperation with Congress – will be received in the House, where leaders say that a bill to address problems with the waiver program is coming.

A task force of committee chairmen – including the heads of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Appropriations, Judiciary, Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees – is expected to present a proposal Tuesday, McCarthy said. That makes it much harder to identify and weed out European nationals seeking to enter the U.S. after traveling to ISIS training camps in other nations and then returning to Europe. Those proposals are similar to the ones made by lawmakers months before the Paris attacks – some of which were adopted by the Department of Homeland Security over the summer.

In August, DHS introduced new screening and information-sharing requirements for waiver countries; this time last year, DHS also added new data fields to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, the screening program for waiver travelers. However, the travel industry is concerned about an approach suggested by Feinstein that would require additional biometric information from travelers before they arrive in the U.S. “We certainly understand the desire for more and more layers of security but we’ve got to make sure we don’t miss the mark here because the stakes are incredibly high,” said Jonathan Grella, executive vice president of public affairs at the U.S.

Before that, she reported for the Las Vegas Sun as its Washington Correspondent, the Associated Press in Jerusalem, the Chicago Tribune, Congressional Quarterly, and worked at NPR. They include capturing more information from visa waiver travelers about their past travel to countries constituting a terrorist safe haven, and having the Homeland Security Department work directly with visa waiver countries in helping them screen refugees. The administration had been in talks with senators for two weeks and wants a bill “that would enhance our national security without undermining the international connections that are critical to the strength of our economy,” Earnest said. “Congress should pass that legislation before they leave,” he said. “We saw Congress a couple of weeks ago pass legislation related to refugees that would not actually do anything to enhance our national security, they were able to take those steps in three or four days.

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