Published on : Tuesday, January 31, 2017
On the Today Show this morning, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claimed that the Visa Waiver Program “allows people from France, Belgium – places where there are known terrorists – to come in no questions asked.”
This is factually inaccurate, as the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) has a number of rigorous requirements for travelers, starting with the sharing of passenger information between the U.S. and Western governments. Operated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the VWP subjects travelers to a number of screens, including the use of a biometric passport, a requirement to be subject to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a valid and current passport, a clean criminal history, and the intention for a short-term transit, tourism, or business visit.
The following statement can be attributed to Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO.
“The Visa Waiver Program continues to be the gold standard of security and efficiency in balancing the need to protect the American public while facilitating global business travel. With thousands of travelers flying every day, the program has been effective at facilitating the travel that fuels the global economy and generates jobs throughout the U.S., while ensuring public safety.
While the rollout of the new travel ban has not been flawless and many questions remain, adding misinformation to the public debate is counterproductive and creates more confusion for business travelers and the flying public.
I hope in the days ahead we can have greater clarity for the flying public both with the travel ban and the Visa Waiver Program.”