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Rubio, Cruz Introduce the Securing the Visa Waiver Program Act

May 16, 2022 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the Securing the Visa Waiver Program Act. The bill would codify certain information-sharing agreements and require the Secretary of Homeland Security to impose consequences for non-compliance under the visa waiver program (VWP). It addresses critical vulnerabilities exposed by Malik Faisal Akram, the British citizen who took members of Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue hostage in January 2022. Akram was able to enter the United States under the VWP despite having been investigated previously by British intelligence.  
“Travel to America is a privilege, not a right,” Rubio said. “If foreign governments are not sharing critical information with us, then their citizens should not be able to enter the country as easily. This should be common sense. It is time to close this security loophole so we can protect the American people.” 
“As Americans, we should know who is coming into our country, whether they are here to work or here to visit,” Cruz said. “Information-sharing agreements will help our Homeland Security Department recognize threats in advance, so we can stop the next Beth Israel Synagogue hostage crisis before it begins.”
Specifically, the Securing the Visa Waiver Program Act would:

  • Codify Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6 (HSPD-6), which is an arrangement between VWP countries to share watch-list information about known or suspected terrorists; 
  • Codify the Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PCSC), which is an agreement between VWP countries to establish frameworks for enhanced law enforcement cooperation, including sharing of aggravated criminal history information;
  • Require participating VWP countries to comply within three months of enactment; 
  • Require the Secretary of Homeland Security to terminate VWP participation immediately if a country fails to comply; and
  • Create an avenue to rejoin the VWP upon evidence the country has come into compliance with the information-sharing agreements and has complied continuously for the most recent three-month period.