Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls for Action to Close U.S. Visa Loopholes for Potential Terrorists

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today called for an immediate suspension of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for countries that have large numbers of Islamic extremists actively fighting alongside groups such as ISIL in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Congresswoman Gabbard, an Army National Guard captain who has served two tours of duty in the Middle East, said, “As things presently stand, Islamic extremists holding British, German, French or other European passports can simply get on a plane and fly to America without a visa. The safety and security of Americans should be of the highest priority, and this Visa Waiver Program puts the American people in great danger.

“I urge the Administration to immediately suspend the Visa Waiver Program for countries such as Great Britain, Germany, and France, which have thousands of citizens fighting alongside Islamic extremist groups like ISIL, in the Middle East or around the world.  By suspending the Visa Waiver Program, all visitors from these countries will have to go through a visa application process before they are allowed to step on U.S. soil.  Simultaneously, I will work with my colleagues to take action in Congress to address this issue and plug this gaping hole in our national security.”

The VWP, administered by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, has 38 countries participating. The program enables eligible citizens or nationals of those countries to travel to the United States and stay for up to 90 days without first obtaining a visa.