Democratic Leader Tulsi Gabbard Urges Suspending Visa Waiver System

Published on November 30th, 2015

Congressional Army veteran calls for
suspending dangerous VWP.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the Democratic National Committee’s Vice Chair, recently came out in favor of suspending the controversial visa waiver program (VWP) with European countries. Gabbard said that the VWP represents yet another risk to America’s national security.

People from war-torn Syria and other parts of the Middle East are flooding France, Germany, Belgium, Greece and other terrorist hotbed countries covered under the VWP agreement. In all, 38 European and Asian countries can enter the U.S. without a visa, dangerous practice even before the Paris terrorist attacks.

As pointed out in an earlier CAPS blog written after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in France, the VWP is a sham, and semi-skilled con artists or determined terrorists can easily get around its few conditions. Residents of VWP-qualifying countries have only to fill out an online application instead of going to a U.S. Consulate abroad to provide tangible evidence of their identity and proof that they intend to return home. Then, once at a U.S. airport, VWP travelers rarely undergo face-to-face interviews with customs officials who might weed out any discrepancies between the online application and what the traveler claims.

Another reason to eliminate VWP is because the sheer volume of processing visa applications in the country of origin slows down travel to the U.S., a good thing given the levels of fraud and the ability travelers have to overstay their visas, undetected.

In a CNN interview, Gabbard said that the VWP doesn’t address “the open and porous borders between Syria and Turkey…So, we need to temporarily suspend this visa waiver program until the intelligence community gets a handle on this, and exactly how large it is, and what’s going on.” With porous borders between Syria and Turkey, ease of movement through Europe and ease of movement to the U.S. with VWP, a terrorist  could be only “a matter of hours” away, Gabbard said, as she called for a return to the “normal visa application process.”

Gabbard’s support for suspending VWP is encouraging because she holds an influential position in the Democratic Party, and knows more about terrorism’s perils than the average congressional representative. She served in two Middle East tours of duty, and remains active in the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Please sign the White House We the People petition to place a moratorium on Middle East refugee resettlement. The December 14 deadline is fast approaching and signatures are needed.

Please sign here.

Also, call your senator to insist that funding for Syrian resettlement end immediately. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Lindsey Graham want to add $1 billion to expedite Syrian resettlement. A CAPS Action Alert to cut funding is here.

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