Tester introduces legislation to strengthen national security
In wake of Paris attacks, bipartisan bill addresses potential vulnerabilities in Visa Waiver Program
(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen national security and protect America from terrorism by addressing potential vulnerabilities in the Visa Waiver Program.
Tester’s bill requires additional layers of security, like more rigorous background checks on foreign travelers from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program who have visited Syria or Iraq before they are allowed to enter the United States. Currently, those participating in the Visa Waiver Program can freely travel to the United States as a temporary visitor regardless of their previous travel history.
“The most important job Congress has is to provide real solutions that will keep Americans safe,” Tester said. “When it comes to national security, we don’t have time for partisan games. This bipartisan bill beefs up national security, reduces the terror threat and will help keep Montana families safe.”
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens from certain countries to enter the United States as a temporary visitor without first obtaining a visa from a United States consulate. Travelers from countries under the Visa Waiver Program must first obtain a visa from the State Department and are subject to more rigorous background checks before coming to the United States.
Tester’s bill requires:
• All travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries to acquire a visa if they have traveled to Iraq or Syria within the past five years.
• The use of e-passports that are machine-readable by all countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program.
• Strengthened information sharing standards between the Department of Homeland Security and countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program to collect and share information about potentially dangerous individuals and stolen passports.
• All travelers visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program to submit biometric information that includes a photograph and fingerprints.
Currently there are 38 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program.
Earlier this month Tester pressed senior national security officials about how to best keep Americans safe from terrorist threats.
Tester’s bill is available HERE.