Travel Group Thanks White House for Visa Waiver Remark Fix

The head of the U.S. Travel Association thanked the White House on Monday for correcting the President’s mistake when he stated that one of the San Bernardino shooters entered the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”). The U.S. Travel Association stated that while the travel community supports examining the program for improvements, it should not be “unduly undermined”. Roger Dow, the President and CEO of the travel industry group, said the organization was “grateful” to the White House for working fast to correct the remark made by President Barack Obama during his televised Sunday speech on counter-terrorism efforts. Obama said the female terrorism suspect had entered the U.S. through the visa waiver program. However, the woman, was in the U.S. on a fiancé visa known as a K-1 visa. The White House acknowledged the President’s error in a transcript of his speech released Sunday night, correcting Obama’s statement to say he had ordered a review of the “visa program” under which Malik entered the U.S., rather than the “Visa Waiver Program”. The VWP allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa for 90 days or less. Although travelers are screened before being allowed to use the program, the VWP has been the subject of renewed scrutiny following the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to take up a visa waiver bill today, known as the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015. The bill, introduced by Representative Candice Miller, R-Mich., would generally exclude foreign individuals who have traveled to Syria and Iraq in recent years from being eligible for a waiver. It also calls for enhancements to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which is the automated system that screens people seeking to travel under the VWP. The White House aanounced in late November that it is incrasing security measures for the VWP, through steps that include helping the U.S. Department of Homeland Security obtain information on any past travel by applicants to countries considered terrorist safe havens.