McKinley Votes to Keep Americans Safe, Fix Loopholes in Visa Waiver Program


Date: Dec. 8, 2015
Location: Washington, DC

Today the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan plan to strengthen oversight of the Visa Waiver Program and close security gaps in the program, which allows passport holders from 38 countries around the world to travel to the United States for 90 days without a visa.

"Terrorists from ISIS have already made it abundantly clear they will use our freedom and openness to hurt us," said Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV). "Giving more scrutiny to travelers with connections to Syria, Iraq, and other terrorist hotspots is just common sense."

"We know that thousands of Europeans who would qualify for the Visa Waiver Program have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS," said McKinley. "It's imperative we stop these terrorists from boarding a flight in Brussels, Paris, or London and traveling to America to cause harm."

The Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act (H.R. 158) requires individuals who have traveled to countries that are State Sponsors of Terrorism or troubled areas like Syria or Iraq to apply for a visa before coming to the U.S., just like most travelers.

It would also allow the U.S. to suspend countries from the program if they don't cooperate and share information on terrorist threats.

"We need to give Americans the peace of mind that our government is taking all steps necessary to stop potential terrorist attacks before they happen," said McKinley. "This plan is a step to reduce these threats and will help keep Americans safe."