U.S. Tightens Visa-Waiver Rules Following Terror Attacks

Daily News Article - January 25, 2016


1. Define the following as used in the article:

  1. visa
  2. waiver
  3. a national
  4. to have dual citizenship/dual nationality
  5. to vet

2. Until now, citizens of 38 (mostly European) countries were able to travel to the U.S. without a visa. For what purposes were they able to travel to the U.S. without a visa?

3. a) Currently, what steps do those eligible for the visa-waiver program take when traveling to the U.S.? (see para. 5)
b) Under Congress’ new law, who will now be ineligible for the visa waiver program?
c) What steps will they now need to take to be able to travel to the U.S.?
d) What steps do foreigners not from one of the 38 visa-waiver countries need to take to be permitted entry into the U.S.?

4. For what reason did Congress pass the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015? Be specific.

5. a) The Obama administration plans to consider waiving the new requirements for people traveling for certain purposes. What are they?
b) How do Republicans explain their opposition to the President’s proposed exemptions?

6. Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said the visa-waiver program should be reformed, “but singling people out because of their national origin is fundamentally at odds with American values and invites discrimination against American citizens who are dual nationals.” He added, “Our focus should be on people with possible links to terrorism, regardless of their nationality.”
a) Do you agree with Sen. Durbin’s assertion? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.

7. Carl Shusterman, a Los Angeles immigration attorney and former immigration official, said the changes based on nationality address only part of the problem. “Someone born in France who had never set foot in the Middle East could be involved in terrorist activities and would not be covered by the new restrictions,” he said. “It’s more complex than just changing the visa-waiver program,” he added.
a) Do you agree with Mr. Shusterman’s assertion? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.

8. From para. 15-16: “The changes have also been opposed by those who believe they undermine U.S. business with the affected countries, as well as impede aid workers, journalists and others who wish to enter the U.S. Since its establishment in 1986, the visa-waiver program has been a boon to the U.S. economy, particularly tourism.”

Consider the following:

Are the concerns from opponents in para. 15-16 legitimate? Explain your answer.

1. Who were the sponsors of this bill?
2. How did your senators and representatives vote on this bill?
3. Do you agree with their votes?