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Congressman Krishnamoorthi Introduces Legislation to Bolster International Tourism and Protect National Security

March 28, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Tom Rice (SC-07), and Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) introduced legislation to rename the Visa Waiver Program to the Secure Travel Partnership. The Visa Waiver Program allows pre-screened, pre-approved travelers from participating countries to travel to the United States, after undergoing a rigorous Department of Homeland Security approval process, for stays of up to 90 days. Rebranding the program to the Secure Travel Partnership more accurately reflects the mission and security of the program.

“The Visa Waiver Program exists as a crucial program that protects our nation’s security, creates American jobs, and bolsters alliances with our friends,” said Krishnamoorthi. “The rebranding of the Visa Waiver Program to the Secure Travel Partnership encapsulates these major benefits to our economy and national security, while eliminating any confusion about the true mission of this program.”

“Tourism is our nation’s number one service export, generating billions of dollars in economic activity every year. Visa-free travel by our allies helps support nearly one million jobs while enhancing international diplomacy and strengthening our national security,” said Quigley. “Recognizing the program in a way that accurately reflects it’s role in securing our borders, enhancing intelligence sharing, and spreading U.S. security standards around the world will enable its continued success.”

“Renaming the Visa Waiver Program to the Security Travel Partnership more accurately reflects the program’s intent to strengthen national security and spur tourism to the United States. This important step is part of our larger effort to bolster homeland security, create American jobs, and bring more tourism dollars to South Carolina,” said Rice.

“Travel and tourism brings more than $40 billion into Pennsylvania’s economy every year,” said Reschenthaler. “This bipartisan legislation recognizes the important role the Visa Waiver Program plays in ensuring the safety and security of our nation, and it will bolster the program to ensure travel remains a key driver for our economy.”

The Visa Waiver Program is a comprehensive security partnership with many of America’s closest allies. Travelers from partner countries undergo advanced security screenings prior to their arrival in the United States, upon arrival at a port of entry, and during any subsequent air travel within the country. In 2017, the Visa Waiver Program allowed 23 million travelers to visit the United States, generated over $190 billion, and supported nearly one million jobs.

“The Visa Waiver Program is, according to the Supreme Court, the ‘gold standard’ in international visitor security vetting. Unfortunately, the program’s name is misleading, and not indicative of the traveler vetting and other security enhancements that the VWP actually provides,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Tori Barnes. “The U.S. and 38 allies have partnered to secure the travel process through a host of bilateral security enhancements that not only keep travelers safe, but also support our economy. In 2017, 23 million travelers arrived in the U.S. through the VWP, generating $190 billion in economic activity. Renaming the VWP the Secure Travel Partnership would more accurately describe the program’s benefits, and U.S. Travel applauds Representatives Quigley, Rice, Krishnamoorthi, and Reschenthaler for introducing legislation to make this change.”