ON-Lion Letter

Last year, "Congress passed the first meaningful improvements to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in some time, in acknowledgement of the elevated threat we face now from terrorism, espionage, and the inappropriate transfer of technology to our enemies," Jessica M. Vaughan began her testimony to a joint meeting of two subcommittees of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  "These sensible and modest changes will allow for more scrutiny of certain travelers coming from VWP countries, based on their dual nationality or their travel history, by requiring them to get a visa.

"The ink from the president's signature on the law was barely dry when the Obama administration significantly undermined these reforms by unilaterally offering waivers that were not authorized in the law," however, she continued.  "This is a problem -- not only because it is a flagrant abuse of executive authority and a breach of the agreement with Congress, but because the administration's plans will expose our nation to real threats."

Vaughan is director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in Washington, D.C.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports CIS's national-security program.

"One of the categories of travelers the administration has carved out for waivers -- dual nationals traveling to Iran and Iraq for business purposes -- is precisely the category of travelers that needs to be scrutinized more closely because of past cases of espionage and illegal technology transfer," she said.  "The risks inherent in the VWP are compounded by the president's tendency to allow the admission of increasing numbers of foreign visitors, gloss over the threats, over-sell his agencies' ability to screen out risks, and suppress the enforcement of immigration laws in the interior."

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |