U.S. Business Community Submits Comments on Proposed ‘Social Media Vetting’
May 30, 2018 By Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy, U.S. Travel Association
The U.S. Travel Association, along with other business groups, on Tuesday submitted comments to the U.S. Department of State regarding proposed information collection changes to nonimmigrant visa applicants.
Our organization wholeheartedly agrees that without security there can be no travel; it is imperative that a strong security system is in place to ensure that those who wish us harm are not permitted into the country.
However, we respectfully suggest that the new information collection as proposed—which would expand from the 70,500 “threat profile” applicants to include an estimated 14 million nonimmigrant visa applicants—could significantly deter well-intentioned travelers from visiting the U.S.
These travelers are critical to sustained U.S. GDP growth. In 2016 alone, the U.S. welcomed 75.9 million international travelers, whose spending supported 1.2 million U.S. jobs and generated $32.4 billion in wages for American workers. But by 2017, the U.S. share of the global international travel market decreased by 1.7 percent compared to 2015—costing our economy 7.4 million visitors, $32.2 billion in visitor spending and 100,000 domestic jobs. U.S. Travel encourages policies that will return the country to growth so we can capture an increasing share of the booming global travel market.
We believe a middle ground exists that will provide the U.S. with strong security, while also ensuring that international visitors are not faced with measures that could deter their visit to the U.S. We stand ready and willing to be constructive partners with the administration to find an effective balance.
Click here to view our full comments.
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