It’s no secret that domestic and foreign terrorism is a real threat today, and people at home and abroad are on high alert. The recent shootings by the alleged San Bernardino terrorists in California mistakenly led President Obama in his Oval Office address to blame the Visa Waiver Program for allowing one of the terrorists through the US boarders. The program, according to the U.S. Department of State, “allows citizens from participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, when they meet [all] requirements.” Although the terrorists were able to legally enter the country it was not due to the Visa Waiver Program but because of the K1 Fiancé Visa.
With these terrible attacks plaguing the world, the tourism industry is also scrambling for ways to insure safety to travelers. The recent terrorist attacks in California and Paris have put the Visa Waiver Program under fire in the United States. This poorly named program has become critical for the tourism industry allowing for easy entry for over 20 million visitors heading to cities like New York and San Francisco.
According to the New York Times, today in Washington the House is getting ready to “approve an overhaul that would prevent recent travelers to Iraq and Syria from taking advantage of the Visa Waiver Program and impose other new requirements to tighten screening of travelers from 38 participating countries.”
Even though this could be dangerous territory for the U.S. Travel Association and the tourism industry, they are working together with the House to ensure safety for all travelers.
“The travel association backs the House measure, which beefs up the program by requiring all visitors from participating countries to have fraud-resistant passports and requires countries to check travelers against Interpol databases and perform other checks. Nations that don’t share requested counterterrorism data could be dropped from the program.”
The safety of Americans and travelers alike is something Congress and the U.S. Travel Association are all working towards achieving in these high-pressure times.