Lipinski pushes to add Poland to US Visa Waiver program

Lipinski pushes to add Poland to US Visa Waiver program
SHARE THIS POST
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Lipinski pushes to add Poland to US Visa Waiver program

Lipinski Praises Step Forward Towards Admitting Poland to the Visa Waiver Program as Polish President Visits U.S. House to review Polish Visa Waicver legislation introduced by U.S. Congressman Dan Lipinski. Chicago and its suburbs have one of the largest concentrations of Polish Americans

Under current U.S. Law, citizens of Poland must obtain a Visa before entering the United States. Obtaining visas sometimes can be a difficult and costly process if the U.S. Embassy is in another city. Under a new law introduced by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, citizens of Poland will be able to enter the United States without first obtaining a Visa. They will still have to be processed through Customs but the sometimes difficult process of obtaining a Visitor’s Visa will now be removed.

Lipinski who represents the 3rd Congressional District which has one of the largest concentrations of Polish Americans, introduced the legislation that made the Visa change possible. More than 1.5 million people of Polish ancestry or heritage live in the greater Chicagoland region. Chicago ranks as one of the top seven cities outside of Poland where Poles live and is second only to New York.

In the late 1880s, a large group of Chicagoans of Polish descent began raising $30,000 for a monument to Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Polish hero of the American Revolution. After arriving in America in 1776, Kosciuszko joined the Continental Army. As a skilled engineer, he made significant contributions to the war by designing fortifications for several strategic places such as Philadelphia, West Point, and Saratoga. Kosciuszko later returned to Poland to lead his native military in a 1794 uprising. In Chicago, Courtesy of the Chicago Park DIstrict.

In the late 1880s, a large group of Chicagoans of Polish descent began raising $30,000 for a monument to Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Polish hero of the American Revolution. After arriving in America in 1776, Kosciuszko joined the Continental Army. As a skilled engineer, he made significant contributions to the war by designing fortifications for several strategic places such as Philadelphia, West Point, and Saratoga. Kosciuszko later returned to Poland to lead his native military in a 1794 uprising. In Chicago, Courtesy of the Chicago Park DIstrict.

Lipinski issued the following statement:

“As co-chair of the Congressional Poland Caucus and a proud Polish-American, I was pleased to hear today’s news that the United States and Poland are making progress towards Poland’s entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program by agreeing to a Preventing and Combatting Serious Crimes Agreement. Poland is one of our closest allies and I’m happy this agreement includes a framework for the United States to deploy an additional 1,000 troops to Poland and continue our longstanding security cooperation.  Polish troops have fought alongside U.S. servicemembers in multiple conflicts throughout history beginning with the American Revolutionary War.  Though there is still more work to be done to get Poland admitted into the Visa Waiver Program, agreements like this are very helpful as part of the current process,” Lipinski said.

=======================================

SUBSCRIBE TO RAY HANANIA'S COLUMN

Enter your email address and

receive ALL of Ray Hanania's columns

Delivered by FeedBurner

=======================================

“I have long worked to get Poland admitted into the Visa Waiver Program and last month I introduced the Allied Nations Travel Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R.2946) to create an alternative pathway into the program for NATO nations like Poland who have met the 2% GDP defense spending obligation. Poland’s admittance into the Visa Waiver Program is important because it would make it much easier for Poles to visit the United States.  My office has helped hundreds of relatives and friends of Polish constituents obtain visas to visit the U.S. for weddings, baptisms, and other special family events.  Inclusion of Poland in the Visa Waiver Program would also help improve the economic relationship between the U.S. and Poland.  I am hopeful that the time in near for Poles to finally be rid of this burden of needing to obtain a visa to enter the U.S.”

Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Polish hero of the American Revolution. After arriving in America in 1776, Kosciuszko joined the Continental Army. As a skilled engineer, he made significant contributions to the war by designing fortifications for several strategic places such as Philadelphia, West Point, and Saratoga. Kosciuszko later returned to Poland to lead his native military in a 1794 uprising. In Detroit, Courtesy of WIkipedia

Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Polish hero of the American Revolution. After arriving in America in 1776, Kosciuszko joined the Continental Army. As a skilled engineer, he made significant contributions to the war by designing fortifications for several strategic places such as Philadelphia, West Point, and Saratoga. Kosciuszko later returned to Poland to lead his native military in a 1794 uprising. In Detroit, Courtesy of WIkipedia

Although restrictions during World War I and in the 1920s cut off this immigration, by 1930 Polish immigrants and their children had replaced Germans as the largest ethnic group in Chicago, according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago History.  The first Polish emigrants to Chicago were noblemen who had fled Polandafter the Polish-Russian War of 1830–1831.

The Encyclopedia notes that Polish immigrants to America have fully embraced American customs and th elanguage,a lthough they maintain a continued love for their culture and their homeland, Poland.

The Lipinski bill would have to go to the U.S. Senate for Approval and if approved owuld go to President Trump for his signature.

Here is the Text of Lipinski’s new bill, House Resolution 2946:

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for certain additional means of qualification for the Visa Waiver Program, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Allied Nations Travel Modernization Act of 2019”.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) In 2016, 23 million people entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Visitors through VWP constituted roughly 13 of all temporary visitors. According to the Department of Commerce, VWP travelers in fiscal year 2014 spent approximately $84 billion on goods and services.

(2) Due to the VWP, the U.S. Government saved from $1.9 billion to $3.2 billion for the cost of interviewing visitors in 2010.

(3) All VWP countries are required to enter into information-sharing agreements with the United States on whether the citizens or nationals of that country traveling to the United States represent a security or criminal threat to the United States.

(4) VWP countries have provided the United States with information on more than 6,000 known or suspected terrorists as a result of VWP information sharing arrangements.

(5) VWP countries have provided nearly 70 percent of the records in INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document Database, which DHS utilizes in its daily vetting of ESTA applications and Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record data.

(6) According to a Department of State FY 2018 annual report, the United States issued over 120,000 nonimmigrant visas to Polish nationals and over 50,000 nonimmigrant visas to Romanian nationals.

(7) A Fiscal Year 2017 Report by the Department of Homeland Security found that the suspected in-country overstay rate was 1.17 percent for Poland and 1.19 percent for Romania.

(8) Poland has taken a serious stance against terrorism in recent years. This has included withdrawing from a refugee relocation plan by the EU after the 2015 Paris terror attacks.

(9) Romania deployed approximately 730 troops to Afghanistan and Iraq and has signed all twelve of the international protocols and conventions pertaining to terrorism.

(10) Congress should continue to promote the economy and provide government agencies with the necessary resources through the VWP. The inclusion of Poland and Romania in the VWP program would contribute to program goals.

SEC. 3. DESIGNATION OF PROGRAM COUNTRIES.

Section 217(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(c)) is amended—

(1) in paragraph (2)(A)—

(A) in the heading for the subparagraph, by inserting after “LOW NONIMMIGRANT VISA REFUSAL RATE” the following: “; LOW VISA OVERSTAY RATE”;

(B) in clause (i), by striking “or” at the end;

(C) in clause (ii), by striking the period and inserting “; or”; and

(D) by adding at the end the following:

“(iii) in the case of any other country—

“(I) the visa overstay rate (as such term is defined in paragraph (8)) for that country was not more than 2 percent during the previous 2 fiscal years;

“(II) the country is a signatory to and has committed, during the previous two fiscal years, sufficient resources to support its obligations under the Wales Summit Declaration, issued at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales on September 5, 2014; and

“(III) the Department of State has not, in the previous fiscal year, issued a travel advisory other than ‘exercise normal precautions’ for travel to the country.”; and

(2) in paragraph (3), to read as follows:

“(3) CONTINUING AND SUBSEQUENT QUALIFICATIONS.—For each fiscal year after the initial period—

“(A) CONTINUING QUALIFICATION.—In the case of a country which was a program country in the previous fiscal year, a country may not be designated as a program country unless—

“(i) the sum of—

“(I) the total of the number of nationals of that country who were denied admission at the time of arrival or withdrew their application for admission during such previous fiscal year as a nonimmigrant visitor, and

“(II) the total number of nationals of that country who were admitted as nonimmigrant visitors during such previous fiscal year and who violated the terms of such admission,

was less than 2 percent of the total number of nationals of that country who applied for admission as nonimmigrant visitors during such previous fiscal year; or

“(ii) in the case of that country—

“(I) the visa overstay rate (as such term is defined in paragraph (8)) for that country was not more than 2 percent during the previous 2 fiscal years;

“(II) the country is a signatory to and has committed, during the previous two fiscal years, sufficient resources to support its obligations under the Wales Summit Declaration, issued at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales on September 5, 2014; and

“(III) the Department of State has not, in the previous fiscal year, issued a travel advisory other than ‘exercise normal precautions’ for travel to the country.

“(B) NEW COUNTRIES.—In the case of another country, the country may not be designated as a program country unless one of the following requirements under clause (i) or (ii) is met:

“(i) LOW NONIMMIGRANT VISA REFUSAL RATE.—The average number of refusals of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country—

“(I) during the two previous full fiscal years was less than 2 percent of the total number of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country which were granted or refused during those years; and

“(II) during either of such two previous full fiscal years was less than 2.5 percent of the total number of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country which were granted or refused during that year.

“(ii) LOW VISA OVERSTAY RATE.—In the case of that country—

“(I) the visa overstay rate (as such term is defined in paragraph (8)) for that country was not more than 2 percent during the previous 2 fiscal years;

“(II) the country is a signatory to and has committed, during the previous two fiscal years, sufficient resources to support its obligations under the Wales Summit Declaration, issued at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales on September 5, 2014; and

“(III) the Department of State has not, in the previous fiscal year, issued a travel advisory other than ‘exercise normal precautions’ for travel to the country.”.

SEC. 4. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act may be construed to require or direct the termination of the designation of a country as a program country under section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187).

THIS POST HAS BEEN READ 6483 TIMES SO FAR. THANK YOU!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.

SHARE THIS POST
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Suburban Chicagoland

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Leave a Reply