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U.S. Travel Association Supports JOLT Act to Strengthen and Expand the Visa Waiver Program

March 19, 2015 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Today, the U.S. Travel Association applauded the introduction of the JOLT Act by Reps. Joe Heck (R-NV) and Mike Quigley (D-IL). The bipartisan bill would strengthen and expand the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), facilitating travel and trade while protecting the homeland. U.S Travel President and CEO Roger Dow testified about the VWP’s economic impact and security benefits at the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing on the program.

“The travel industry’s top priority is the security of our nation and travelers,” said Roger Dow. “We thank Chairwoman Candice Miller and Ranking Member Filemon Vela for holding a constructive discussion about the VWP.”

Dow continued, “We support effective reforms to the VWP like those in the JOLT Act which would both strengthen and expand the program. The VWP helps keep our country secure while facilitating international travel that adds billions in economic output and supports nearly one million jobs.”

The VWP is part of a layered approach to national security that protects the homeland and the traveling public. The program enhances national security through individualized pre-screening of travelers, greater information sharing, enhanced international partnerships with law enforcement and intelligence services, and more secure passports for participating countries. According to national security experts this reliable program helps ensure a strong and secure nation, supported by a resilient and robust economy. To learn more about the VWP visit https://vwp.ustravel.org/.

The JOLT Act would strengthen and expand the VWP by:

  • Amending the VWP to make mandatory several security requirements that are currently discretionary, including those related to airport security standards and a country’s air marshal program.
  • Tightening passport requirements.
  • Directing DHS to better integrate information from multiple U.S. government systems and databases in order to conduct more efficient vetting for VWP applicants.
  • Amending the VWP to make mandatory several security requirements that are currently discretionary, including those related to airport security standards and a country’s air marshal program.
  • Ensuring the Secretary of Homeland Security has the requisite authority to expand VWP to countries that fully meet all the security guidelines.

The JOLT Act is the most recent introduction of VWP legislation. The travel industry supports measures that provide sensible reforms and further enhance the VWP’s security provisions.

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