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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York


Donovan Questions Obama Administration on Visa Waiver Program Bait-and-Switch

February 10, 2016
Press Release
Administration circumvented law to appease Iranian business interests

Washington, DC—February 10, 2016….Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today joined his colleagues on the House Committee on Homeland Security in grilling Obama Administration officials over flouting a law – signed by the President in December – intended to restrict terrorist entry into the United States. The law strengthened entry requirements to thwart passport-holding citizens of European countries who train in terrorist hotspots, then travel to America.

Congressman Donovan said, “After the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the federal government has a basic responsibility to scrutinize foreigners who have visited terrorist havens. Congress worked with the Obama Administration to enact the very law they’re now ignoring.”

Last December, Congress and the Administration reached bipartisan agreement on legislation requiring all travelers who visited Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan in the past five years to apply for visas before entering the United States. Previously, citizens of 38 nations participating in the Visa Waiver Program could enter the United States without obtaining a visa, regardless of which countries they had visited in the past.

The day after the President signed the provision into law, Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to the Iranian Foreign Minister promising to interpret the statute “so as not to interfere with the legitimate business interests of Iran.” The United States lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Congressman Donovan continued, “We’re already giving Iran access to billions of dollars, money they might use to finance additional terror operations against America and our allies. Now, the Administration is bending over backwards to appease Iran over common-sense security protocol. It’s mind-boggling.”