White House Says It’s Working with Senate on Visa Waiver Program Reforms

Capitol Hill Building dome at dusk with light and blue sky, Washington DC.

The administration is working with the Senate to improve America’s visa waiver program, according to White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

Earnest criticized the Republican-backed effort to pause the Syrian refugee program, and said the White House was looking into other possible reforms to strengthen national security.

“We noted that voting to further encumber and bog down the refugee process is not likely to do much to improve the national security of the United States,” Earnest said at a press conference. “There probably are some reforms to the visa waiver program that we’re currently discussing with members of the U.S. Senate that actually could further enhance our national security.”

On Thursday, Nov. 19, a group of Senate Democrats introduced a plan to enhance security in the visa waiver program. The program is separate from the refugee program and allows foreign visitors from designated countries to travel to and stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. The senators are concerned that an ISIS recruit could travel into the U.S. through that program without going through the more rigorous security checks that are attached to the traditional U.S. visa system.

Morning Consult