Visa Waiver Program Improvement AND Terrorist travel prevention Act of 2015

H.R.158
Introduced: 
January 6, 2015
114
First
December 8, 2015
Passed in House

This bill would block visa-free entry to the U.S. for passport-holders of the Visa Waiver Program’s 38 participating countries if they hold dual citizenship with or have traveled, since 3/2011, to Iraq, Syria, or other countries determined by the secretary of state to be ‘safe haven[s]’ for terrorists, home to significant terrorist activity, as well as countries that if visited could increase a person’s likelihood of becoming a ‘credible threat’ to the U.S. The unnamed countries would presumably include Iran and Sudan. Inter alia, the bill would also require the 38 Visa Waiver Program countries to perform checks against Interpol databases on passport-holders hoping to travel to the U.S. and to start issuing ‘e-passports,’ which would allow the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to check biometric and biographic information. The DHS would be authorized to disqualify any member-state that does not adequately comply with the program’s new components.

In terms of oversight, the head of DHS would be required to submit an annual report on the number of times that the administration exercised a national security waiver over the abovementioned restrictions. DHS would also have to report to Congress annually on the number of travelers denied entry on security grounds in the previous year and report periodically on foreign governments’ compliance with the information-sharing requirements described above.

The bill came under criticism from the Arab-American Civil Rights League, American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on the grounds that it could affect journalists and aid workers, discriminate against Arab-Americans (if the European members of the Visa Waiver Program pass reciprocal measures), and effectively discourage travel to and business with Iran, thereby jeopardizing the 7/14 nuclear deal.

After passing in the House on 12/8/15, the text of this bill was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (*H.R. 2029 of 4/24/15), which passed into law on 12/18/15.

93 cosponsors (64R, 29D).

See also: similar bill S. 2362 of 12/7/15.

Last major action: 12/8/15 passed in House by yea/nay vote, 407–19.

Sponsor/Cosponsors:

Ralph Abraham(R-LA)Robert Aderholt(R-AL)Brad Ashford(D-NE)Daniel Benishek(R-MI)Gus Bilirakis(R-FL)Mike Bishop(R-MI)Sanford Bishop(D-GA)Diane Black(R-TN)Charles Jr Boustany(R-LA)Brendan Boyle(D-PA)Susan Brooks(R-IN)Cheri Bustos(D-IL)Bradley Byrne(R-AL)Buddy Carter(R-GA)David Cicilline(D-RI)Tom Cole(R-OK)Chris Collins(R-NY)Paul Cook(R-CA)Joe Courtney(D-CT)Kevin Cramer(R-ND)John Culberson(R-TX)Charlie Dent(R-PA)Daniel Donovan(R-NY)Tammy Duckworth(D-IL)Jeff Duncan(R-SC)Renee Ellmers(R-NC)Eliot Engel(D-)Elizabeth Esty(D-CT)Jeffrey Lane Fortenberry(R-NE)Bill Foster(D-IL)John Garamendi(D-CA)Garret Graves(R-LA)Gregg Harper(R-MS)Vicky Hartzler(R-MO)Jeb Hensarling(R-TX)French Hill(R-AR)Richard Hudson(R-NC)Jared Huffman(D-CA)Bill Huizenga(R-MI)Lynn Jenkins(R-KS)Evan Jenkins(R-WV)Bill Johnson(R-OH)Marcy Kaptur(D-OH)John Katko(R-NY)Ann Kirkpatrick(D-AZ)John Kline(R-MN)Leonard Lance(R-NJ)Robert Latta(R-OH)Billy Long(R-MO)Barry Loudermilk(R-GA)Blaine Luetkemeyer(R-MO)Michelle Lujan Grisham(D-NM)Cynthia Lummis(R-WY)Stephen Lynch(D-MA)Tom Marino(R-PA)Michael McCaul(R-TX)David McKinley(R-WV)Martha McSally(R-AZ)Marty Meehan(D-MA)Luke Messer(R-IN)Jeff Miller(R-FL)John Moolenaar(R-MI)Dan Newhouse(R-WA)Devin Gerald Nunes(R-CA)Edwin Perlmutter(D-CO)Scott Perry(R-PA)Collin Peterson(D-MN)Robert Pittenger(R-NC)Bruce Poliquin(R-ME)Jared Polis(D-CO)Mike Quigley(D-IL)Charles Rangel(D-)Cedric Richmond(D-LA)David Rouzer(R-NC)Ed Royce(R-CA)Dutch Ruppersberger(D-MD)Loretta Sanchez(D-CA)Kurt Schrader(D-OR)Pete Sessions(R-TX)Kyrsten Sinema(D-AZ)Adrian Smith(R-NE)Jason Smith(R-MO)Chris Stewart(R-UT)Steve Stivers(R-OH)Bennie Thompson(D-MS)Dina Titus(D-NV)Dave Trott(R-MI)Ann Wagner(R-MO)Jackie Walorski(R-IN)Peter Welch(D-VT)Bruce Westerman(R-AR)Rob Woodall(R-GA)Ryan K. Zinke(R-MT)

More info

For more information, Click Here to visit this measure’s page at congress.gov.