ImmigrationAdministration loosens visa requirements, expands VWP

Published 23 January 2012

President Obama, during a visit to Disneyland, announced that the administration was working on expanding the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and waiving the consular interview requirement for people renewing U.S. visas; critics of the administration’s immigration policy are upset.

VWP makes it easier for skilled labor to remain in the U.S // Source:

In response to pressure from the tourism industry, the Obama administration announced that the consular interview requirement will be waived for people renewing U.S. visas. President Obama, who made the announcement last week during a visit to Disneyland, also said that the administration will also expand the number of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Citizens of VWP nations can enter the United States without obtaining a visa in advance.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a non-profit organizations calling for more restrictive immigration policies, says that the result of both changes is that millions of additional people will enter the United States with less scrutiny.

The changes the President is making to the visa issuance process, without Congressional approval, weaken important safeguards against terrorism and increase the potential for more visa over-stayers,” stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “The longstanding requirement for an in-person interview allows trained consular officers to identify people who might pose a threat to national security or who are likely to remain in the United States illegally.”

A FAIR release reports that the proposal to expand the VWP program ignores  warnings made by the 9/11 Commission which cited the VWP as a weakness that can be manipulated by terrorists. “It is exceedingly reckless to operate a visa waiver system, much less expand it, in an age where terrorists carry many different passports. Moreover, the U.S. still has no comprehensive system that matches the entry and exit of foreign travelers to ensure we are alerted when visa holders stay in the country illegally,” Stein cautioned.

FAIR argues that this latest move is the latest “in a two-year campaign of unilateral policy changes designed to minimize immigration enforcement. It is also a clear effort to appeal to business interests in an election year.”

Stein was harsh in his criticism of the president. “President Obama claims his new initiatives will create jobs. If the President really wants to change immigration policy to expand jobs he’d restore credibility to our immigration system by securing our border, stepping up interior enforcement, supporting mandatory E-Verify, and substantially reducing legal immigration.  That would reduce foreign competition for scarce jobs that Americans need.  And in the process, not one of those things would jeopardize national security,” Stein said.