Visa Waiver Program: Implications for U.S. National Security, Hearing Before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, First Session, March 12, 2015   [open pdf - 679KB]

This is a testimony compilation from the March 12, 2015 hearing "Visa Waiver Program: Implications for U.S. National Security," held before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. From the opening statement of Chairman Ron Johnson: "Today's hearing will evaluate the security, economic and public diplomacy implications of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Specifically, we convened this hearing to examine the security screening and information-sharing mechanisms in place to ensure the VWP remains a secure travel program. The VWP allows nationals from 38 participating countries to visit the United States visafree for a period of 90 days or less. To prevent terrorists from exploiting the VWP, U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to compare a passenger's biographic information against law enforcement and national security databases. The VWP serves as an important economic tool for the United States, promoting tourism, trade and investment. According to the Congressional Research Service, in fiscal year 2012, 19.1 million visitors entered the United States under the VWP, representing 40 percent of all foreign travelers. Similarly, the VWP enhances the United States' bilateral relationships with participating countries by setting mutually beneficial security standards and providing an instrument to combat terrorist travel." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Michael Chertoff, Marc Frey, Brian Jenkins, Mark Koumans, Maureen Dugan, and Edward Ramotowski.

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