Visa Waivers Boost Risk

Posted June 15, 2012 at 2:46pm

In his recent op-ed, Tad Taube argues we should expand the Visa Waiver Program to boost jobs and tourism. While we should enact policies that improve our economic and unemployment challenges, expanding the VWP is the wrong way to do so. This program is actually a loophole for entry by those who may wish to do us harm. We know that terrorists have used the VWP to their benefit. Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, “shoebomber” Richard Reid and 1993 World Trade Center conspirator Ahmed Ajaj all entered or attempted to enter the U.S. through this program.

Criticism of the VWP on security-related grounds is nothing new. Over the years the inspectors general of both agencies responsible for this program, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, have issued reports detailing significant security risks with the VWP. The Government Accountability Office has also repeatedly reported on and testified in Congress to those same types of security risks. A recent GAO report found that half of the countries participating in this program have not met specific security requirements mandated by Congress.

Because of these inherent risks and unmet requirements, it makes no sense to expand the program at this time.

— Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Judiciary Committee