WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Frank Guinta today voted for theVisa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, H.R. 158, a bill from the House Homeland Security Committee that would thwart terrorists with Western passports attempting to enter the United States.
“Radical Islamists are at war with us. They’ll use any means, including holes in our laws, to wage violent attacks against U.S. citizens at home. Congress is identifying gaps and closing them as quickly as possible,” said Rep. Guinta.
The State Department’s visa waiver program allows citizens of 38 participating countries, mostly European, to bypass some standard protocols, a vulnerability in U.S. border protections, said Rep Guinta (NH01) . “There are at least 5,000 Islamic State fighters with Western passports in Iraq and Syria,” he said,“and we know the terrorist group plans to return them to places like Britain and France, where boarding a plane to the U.S. is easier.”
Today’s legislation requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to Congress more potential high-risk countries, in addition to Iraq, Syria and several state sponsors of terror – a visit to which would disqualify a traveler to the U.S. from a visa waiver partner. The bill requires waiver partners to keep current records and share information, lost or stolen passports in particular.
Rep. Guinta recently cosponsored legislation to pause the U.S. refugee program, until stronger security measures are in place. FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that his federal agency lacks proper resources to screen every refugee. “Congress is always looking for more ways to improve Americans’ safety and security, especially after attacks in Paris and San Bernardino,” said Manchester’s former two-term mayor.
He emphasized theTerrorist Travel Prevention Act is part of his larger agenda to protect the Granite State. A member of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Guinta also oversees the federal response to illegal terrorist funding.