Petition statement to be delivered to President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate

Sunset the Discriminatory Provisions in the Visa Waiver Bill

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Sunset the Discriminatory Provisions in the Visa Waiver Bill

To be delivered to President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate

Petition Statement

President Obama and Congress should put a time limit on the nationality-based restrictions of the visa waiver reform bill as called for by the ACLU.
There are currently 13,146 signatures. NEW goal - We need 15,000 signatures!

Petition Background

On December 8, the House voted to tighten the Visa Waiver Program that lets people from certain countries travel to the U.S. without first obtaining a visa. Democrats Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, John Conyers, Jan Schakowsky, Raul Grijalva, and Keith Ellison were among the Democrats who voted no [1], citing discriminatory and overbroad provisions, and the lack of a time limit on these provisions.

Rep. Honda said that he voted against this bill “because it unjustly targets individuals based on their nationality" and that he could not "vote for a bill that categorically bars access to the Visa Waiver Program for dual nationals of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Iran and people who have traveled in the last 5 years to Iraq and Syria, including humanitarian workers…Under this bill, a French citizen of Syrian descent who has never been to Syria would still fall into this blanket category.” [2]

Rep. Lee said she shares “the concerns of the ACLU, AILA, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and others that this bill would allow for the discrimination of individuals based on their nationality." [3]

Rep. Conyers said, "I believe the provisions in the legislation restricting the use of the visa waiver program to individuals who have traveled to Syria or Iraq or are dual nationals of these or other covered nations – are discriminatory…I also believe the provision should have included a sunset date so we can assess its efficacy." [4]

Like Rep. Conyers, the ACLU has called for the discriminatory provisions of the legislation to have a sunset provision [5], meaning that they would expire and have to be reconsidered and reauthorized to remain in force - just like the Patriot Act, passed after the September 11 attacks, had a sunset provision so it would have to be reconsidered. Likewise, every major Democratic proposal for an authorization for the use of force against ISIS, including President Obama's proposal [6], has a sunset provision, so that it could not continue indefinitely without Congress having to reconsider it.

It is very likely that some version of the bill will be included in the omnibus spending package expected to be passed by December 18. Urge President Obama and Congress to sunset the nationality-based restrictions of the visa waiver reform bill by signing our petition.

References:
1. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/326f7ca541d945259e5cff4031264201/house-roll-call-visa-waiver
2. http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2015/12/08/30868/
3. http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2015/12/08/30868/
4. http://democrats.judiciary.house.gov/press-release/statement-honorable-john-conyers-jr-hr-158-visa-waiver-program-improvement-and
5. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/obama-visa-waiver-changes-backlash-215875; https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-letter-house-re-visa-waiver-program-improvement-and-terrorist-travel-prevention-act-2015
6. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/03/11/senators-split-on-obamas-war-powers-authorization

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