Travel Community Decries Attacks on Security Value of Visa Waiver Program
November 19, 2015 10:00am
"Keep calm. And then legislate."
WASHINGTON (November 19, 2015)—U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Jonathan Grella issued the following statement in response to congressional moves that would undermine the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in the wake of terror activity in Europe:
"It would be a grave error by Congress to scapegoat a successful program—without as much as a hearing—that had zero to do with a recent tragedy. On crucial matters of security above all others, Congress is obligated to be as clear-eyed and deliberative as possible, and not fall prey to the time-honored tradition of rushed, emotional overreactions.
"We are concerned that VWP critics are not taking the proper time to listen to security experts, who overwhelmingly extol the security benefits of the program. We are concerned even more by the unknown consequences or expenses of an elaborate new 'system'—devised and deployed in an instant—to overhaul VWP without appropriate vetting or scrutiny.
"Members who are just tuning into this issue need to be aware that the VWP is a rare, exemplary government program that delivers both security and economic benefits. It makes the world safer through secure travel partnerships between allied countries, with rigorous additional standards for passport security, intelligence sharing, and inspection of each other's screening protocols. It also significantly bolsters travel to the U.S., which happens to be serious business that could easily go elsewhere. We urge Congress to thoroughly review the security and facilitation aspects of the program, as well as the effectiveness of new requirements, before rushing to legislate.
"There are more effective measures that would increase travel security without such an economic risk, which could easily garner bipartisan support. Some of these we hope to see Congress consider and enact:
"We understand the political urge to act after the fact to prove that one is 'on it,' but we urge Congress to carefully consider how to tweak the VWP to respond to the threat, rather than engaging in security theater.
Background on the Security Benefits of the Visa Waiver Program:
Fact sheet compiled by the U.S. Travel Association
Tags: visa waiver program,
u.s. travel association
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 15 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
Contact: Cathy Keefe /Jamie Morris
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org /
202.408.2183 / 202.218.3621
U.S. Travel Responds to Report that Trump Assisted U.S. Bid to Co-Host World Cup
Travel Trends Index: Business Travel Thriving as Travel Expands for 100th Straight Month
Visit U.S. Coalition Launches Amid Drop in U.S. Share of Global Travel
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow Says Addressing Falling Inbound Travel Needs to Become a National Priority
Travel Trends Index: Domestic Leisure Travel Withstands Harvey and Irma
Travel Trends Index: Slight Uptick Across All Travel Segments
U.S. Travel Statement on New Travel Restrictions
Portions of Travel Trends Index Revised Sharply Downward on New Data
U.S. Travel Association Presents Florida Governor Rick Scott with Distinguished Leadership Award for Commitment to Travel and Tourism
Louisiana's Kyle Edmiston Wins 2017 State Tourism Director of the Year
Workers Who Start in Travel and Tourism Achieve Higher Peak Salary Than Most Industries
Marriott's Arne Sorenson and STR's Randy Smith to Be Inducted into U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders
Travel Trends Index: Int'l Travel to U.S. Continues Strong Showing Post-Executive Order
U.S. Travel Trends Index: International Travel Post-Executive Order Stronger Than Expected
U.S. Travel Industry Rallies Behind Brand USA
Travel Trends Index: International Inbound Travel Shows Signs of Weakness
Wyndham Hotel Group’s Geoff Ballotti Named U.S. Travel National Chair
Travel Trends Index: International Travel Unexpectedly Strong to Start 2017
U.S. Travel Reacts to Trump's Joint Session Address
International Travel to U.S. Finally Returns to Pre-9/11 Levels
Please login or register to post a comment.