GOP Congressman to Censure Obama Over Visa Waiver Program Exemptions for Iran, Terror Hotspots

tracking visa overstays Nick Ut, AP
Nick Ut/AP

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) says he plans to censure President Obama over the administration’s move to exempt certain travelers to the U.S. who have recently been in Iran or other terrorist hotspots from the newly enhanced Visa Waiver Program security measures.

“The President must be stopped from further harming our nation, which is why I plan to immediately introduce legislation that formally censures President Obama for failing to uphold his responsibility to enact the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act,” Ross said in a statement.

Last week the Obama administration unveiled the security enhancements to the Visa Waiver Program, but excluded large categories of travelers who have recently traveled to Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Sudan from the new requirement that they must first obtain a visa to come to the U.S.

While Congress mandated that dual nationals and travelers who recently visited countries of concern obtain a visa, the administration waived the requirement for individuals who visited Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Sudan for official duties like government, journalism or humanitarian purposes and for travelers who went to Iran or Iraq for business purposes.

Republicans have met the exemptions with outrage and anger. Ross called it an abuse of the law that “deliberately put American lives in danger.”

“It is clear now, for the second time, that President Obama has sold his soul to Iran, first for negotiating away our national security by lifting sanctions on Iran and handing the country billions of dollars to build a nuclear bomb, and second for welcoming potential terrorists from Iran into the U.S. with open arms,” he said.

The Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act passed in the FY 2016 omnibus appropriations bill at the end of last year.

According to Ross, Obama is “blatantly circumventing Congress’ intent and violating the American people’s trust by allowing this exemption and placating to Iran’s deceptive intentions.”


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