As if blocking measures to make it more difficult for potential terrorists to infiltrate our country — as Senate Dems, led by Harry Reid, did yesterday — wasn’t bad enough, the Obama administration today announced new rules that could make it even EASIER for them to do so.
As Fox News reports:
The Obama administration on Thursday eased visa rules for certain European travelers who have visited terror hotspots in the Middle East and Africa, triggering a backlash from congressional lawmakers who sought the restrictions for security reasons.
Pause for a moment and let this really sink in. Making it easier for European travelers who might have visited, say, Syria or Iraq, to enter the United States. What could possibly go wrong, right? Maybe Obama hasn’t been watching the news enough to really understand what a hot mess Europe has become in the wake of the “refugee” crisis.
Moments after the announcement, two key Republicans declared the administration is “blatantly breaking the law” – a law that President Obama signed – by implementing the changes.
“This is not a difference of opinion over statutory interpretation, it is a clear contradiction of the law and the agreement we reached with the White House,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., author of the bill, said in a statement.
The revised requirements announced Thursday pertain to changes in the Visa Waiver Program passed by Congress.
Lawmakers had sought new restrictions to tighten up the program – which allows visa-free travel for residents of eligible countries — in order to prevent Europeans who have joined ISIS from entering the United States. Under the newly passed Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan as well as other travelers who have visited those countries since Mar. 1, 2011 now must apply for a visa in order to travel to the U.S.
The administration implemented those changes Thursday — but with some changes of its own.
Under the revised requirements, some Europeans who have traveled to those four countries in the last five years may still be allowed to travel to the United States without obtaining a visa if they meet certain criteria.
The administration announced it will use its waiver authority — granted to it in the legislation — to give waivers to travelers who traveled to the terror hotspots as journalists, for work with humanitarian agencies or on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations and sub-national governments on official duty.
Further, an additional waiver was announced for people who have traveled to Iran “for legitimate business-related purposes” since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal in July. The administration offers waivers for individuals who have traveled to Iraq for business as well.
And just how does one define “legitimate” business purposes when you’re dealing with the #1 state sponsor of terrorism, Iran? I’m guessing Iran has a slightly different take on this than you or I might.
Republicans reacted angrily to the waivers, saying the Obama administration had exploited the limited authority and has compromised national security.
“President Obama and his administration’s decision to abuse their limited waiver authority and allow scores of people who have traveled to or are dual nationals of countries like Iraq and Syria flies in the face of reason and congressional intent,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement.
“The Obama Administration is essentially rewriting the law by blowing wide open a small window of discretion that Congress gave it for law enforcement and national security reasons,” Goodlatte said.
Under the visa program itself, citizens of 38 countries, mostly in Europe, are generally allowed to travel to the United States without applying for a visa. But they still have to submit biographical information to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.
The new restrictions had previously been criticized by the Iranian government which suggested the U.S. might be violating the nuclear deal by penalizing legitimate business travel to the country.
Could it be that, with this move, the Obama administration is cowing (again) to Iran? Or is it all just part of Obama’s master plan to “fundamentally transform” America? Then again, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, are they?
So now, rightfully-outraged Republicans in Congress, what are YOU going to do to STOP this administration?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]