While Republicans in Congress were trying to tighten the requirements for people visiting the United States, Barack Obama was doing the exact opposite.
The Obama Administration announced Thursday they were making getting a U.S. visa easier for some European travelers who have visited terrorist hotbeds like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
It’s a dangerous slap in the face to Congressional Republicans and a potentially deadly new policy directive.
Previously, nationals and travelers who have visited those four countries were required to apply for a visa directly from the United States if they wanted to travel here. Now, Fox News reports, no such visa application is required.
Republicans reacted angrily to the waivers, saying the Obama administration had exploited the limited authority and has compromised national security.
“President Obama and his administration’s decision to abuse their limited waiver authority and allow scores of people who have traveled to or are dual nationals of countries like Iraq and Syria flies in the face of reason and congressional intent,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement.
“The Obama Administration is essentially rewriting the law by blowing wide open a small window of discretion that Congress gave it for law enforcement and national security reasons,” Goodlatte said.
The new restrictions had previously been criticized by the Iranian government that the U.S. is violating the nuclear deal by penalizing legitimate business travel to the country.
Citizens of 38 countries – mostly in Europe – are allowed to travel to the United States without applying for The administration announced Thursday that it will use its waiver authority — granted to it in the legislation — to give waivers to travelers who traveled to the terror hotspots as journalists, for work with humanitarian agencies or on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations and sub-national governments on official duty.
Likely to cause ire among congressional Republicans is an additional waiver for people who have traveled to Iran “for legitimate business-related purposes” since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal in July. The administration also offers waivers for individuals who have traveled to Iraq for business as well.
[whttp://www.thefederalistpapers.org/wp-admin/tools.phpidget:text-42] About Robert Gehl
Robert Gehl is a college professor in Phoenix, Arizona. He has over 15 years journalism experience, including two Associated Press awards. He lives in Glendale with his wife and two young children.