For Immediate Release
NIAC Action Deeply Concerned by House Passage Discriminatory Visa Waiver Program Bill
WASHINGTON - NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 158, a bill reforming the visa waiver program and containing discriminatory measures targeting Iranian dual nationals:
"Unfortunately, the House of Representatives took a page from Donald Trump today and voted for legislation that discriminates against certain dual nationals by barring them from the visa waiver program. Under the bill, dual nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran and Sudan would be barred from entering the country without a visa, in addition to any citizens who have visited those countries in the past five years. This proposal will not make our country safer, it compromises our core values and risks discriminating against American citizens.
"If this bill passes into law, the European Union has warned that it will consider travel restrictions targeting American citizens because the visa waiver program operates on the system of reciprocity. This could mean that a second tier of American citizens, including Iranian Americans, would be forced to apply for a visa to travel to many nations in Europe and other eligible countries.
“We hope the Senate revises this legislation so that it does not discriminate on the basis of national origin or risk triggering unequal treatment of American citizens traveling abroad by rejecting this backward proposal.”
The National Iranian American Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. We accomplish our mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision making by lawmakers.