U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement today in support of Rep. Candice Miller’s (R-MI) bill—the Visa Waiver Program Improvement & Terrorist Travel Prevention Act (H.R. 158):
“The travel community has long-supported Rep. Candice Miller’s bill to strengthen the Visa Waiver Program and enhance our nation’s security by denying potential terrorists access to the United States. We applaud Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Michael McCaul for their leadership in addressing a complex issue in a way that builds on the essential value of the VWP by further enhancing an already strong program.
“Despite the recent threat to the viability of the program, we’ve sought to be a constructive partner to Congress and the administration. We sincerely appreciate and respect that our industry’s expertise was sought and considered during these hectic deliberations.
“Nearly six months ago, we endorsed the House Committee on Homeland Security’s markup of this legislation, and we’ve been pleased to help rally support ever since.
“This bill provides for specific, concrete actions that will maximize national security and minimize the threat to U.S. citizens. It ensures better information-sharing among intelligence and law enforcement agencies. It requires screening of all travelers against INTERPOL databases to identify high-risk travelers. It makes it harder for extremists to falsify their identities by requiring fraud-resistant e-passports that contain biometric information. It compels U.S. security agencies to conduct more frequent threat assessments of VWP countries. And it requires the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen its background check procedures.
“In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Rep. Miller’s bill offers thoughtful solutions that will enhance America’s security. Rather than embracing a knee-jerk reaction that threatens to set us back, this bill improves a process that is already making vital contributions to the fight against terrorism.
“When it comes to travel and tourism, nothing is more important than security. We urge Congress to enact this legislation.”
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org.