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Gingrey Introduces Legislation to Suspend Visa Waiver Program
Prohibits unchecked entry into the U.S. until terrorist screening is in place
Washington, Mar 7 -
U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey today introduced the Secure Entry Act, legislation to suspend the Visa Waiver program until a system based on biometric technology is in place to screen visitors to the U.S. The Visa Waiver program currently allows citizens from 27 countries to enter the United States without applying for a visa, widely opening the door for unscreened terrorists to enter our country.
“Currently, the Visa Waiver program trusts the security of our nation to the background checks and passport procedures of foreign countries,” said Gingrey. “That goes against every effort we’ve made to secure our homeland. Common sense says suspend the program until we have the resources to check the criminal and terrorist background of every person using the waiver program. The United Kingdom is one of our nation's closest allies, yet the London subway bombing showed us that terrorists operate in all countries. Why are we ignoring important security procedures because someone’s passport is British, French or Canadian?”
Gingrey’s legislation counters attempts in the Senate to expand the Visa Waiver program despite these security shortcomings.
The Secure Entry Act would suspend the Visa Waiver program until America’s entry-exit system has been strengthened to include a machine-readable, tamper-resistance biometric identification system. The USA PATRIOT Act and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 both mandated the implementation of this type of system, but these advances are not yet in place.
“We know terrorists like Zacharias Moussaui and Richard Reid exploited the Visa Waiver program to gain entry into the U.S.,” Gingrey continued. “We do not have adequate technology in place to make this program safe, and continuing down the current path puts all our citizens at risk.”