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106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3767

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 12, 2000

Received

May 1, 2000

Read twice and placed on the calendar


AN ACT

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make improvements to, and permanently authorize, the visa waiver pilot program under section 217 of such Act.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Visa Waiver Permanent Program Act'.

TITLE I--PERMANENT PROGRAM AUTHORIZATION

SEC. 101. ELIMINATION OF PILOT PROGRAM STATUS.

(a) IN GENERAL- Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187) is amended--

(1) in the section heading, by striking `PILOT';

(2) in subsection (a)--

(A) in the subsection heading, by striking `Pilot';

(B) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking `pilot' both places it appears;

(C) in paragraph (1), by striking `pilot program period (as defined in subsection (e))' and inserting `program'; and

(D) in paragraph (2), in the paragraph heading, by striking `PILOT';

(3) in subsection (b), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking `pilot';

(4) in subsection (c)--

(A) in the subsection heading, by striking `PILOT';

(B) in paragraph (1), by striking `pilot';

(C) in paragraph (2)--

(i) by striking `subsection (g)' and inserting `subsection (f)'; and

(ii) by striking `pilot'; and

(D) in paragraph (3)--

(i) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking `(within the pilot program period)';

(ii) in subparagraph (A), in the matter preceding clause (i), by striking `pilot' both places it appears; and

(iii) in subparagraph (B), by striking `pilot';

(5) in subsection (e)(1)--

(A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking `pilot'; and

(B) in subparagraph (B), by striking `pilot';

(6) by striking subsection (f) and redesignating subsection (g) as subsection (f); and

(7) in subsection (f) (as so redesignated)--

(A) in paragraph (1)(A) by striking `pilot';

(B) in paragraph (1)(C), by striking `pilot';

(C) in paragraph (2)(A), by striking `pilot' both places it appears;

(D) in paragraph (3), by striking `pilot'; and

(E) in paragraph (4)(A), by striking `pilot'.

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS-

(1) DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS- Clause (iv) of section 212(a)(7)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(7)(B)(iv)) is amended--

(A) in the clause heading, by striking `PILOT'; and

(B) by striking `pilot'.

(2) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents for the Immigration and Nationality Act is amended, in the item relating to section 217, by striking `pilot'.

TITLE II--PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS

SEC. 201. EXTENSION OF RECIPROCAL PRIVILEGES.

Section 217(a)(2)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(2)(A)) is amended by inserting `, either on its own or in conjunction with one or more other countries that are described in subparagraph (B) and that have established with it a common area for immigration admissions,' after `to extend)'.

SEC. 202. MACHINE READABLE PASSPORT PROGRAM.

(a) REQUIREMENT ON ALIEN- Section 217(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(a)) is amended--

(1) by redesignating paragraphs (3) through (7) as paragraphs (4) through (8), respectively; and

(2) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

`(3) MACHINE READABLE PASSPORT- On and after October 1, 2006, the alien at the time of application for admission is in possession of a valid unexpired machine-readable passport that satisfies the internationally accepted standard for machine readability.'.

(b) REQUIREMENT ON COUNTRY- Section 217(c)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(c)(2)(B)) is amended to read as follows:

`(B) MACHINE READABLE PASSPORT PROGRAM-

`(i) IN GENERAL- Subject to clause (ii), the government of the country certifies that it issues to its citizens machine-readable passports that satisfy the internationally accepted standard for machine readability.

`(ii) DEADLINE FOR COMPLIANCE FOR CERTAIN COUNTRIES- In the case of a country designated as a program country under this subsection prior to May 1, 2000, as a condition on the continuation of that designation, the country--

`(I) shall certify, not later than October 1, 2000, that it has a program to issue machine-readable passports to its citizens not later than October 1, 2003; and

`(II) shall satisfy the requirement of clause (i) not later than October 1, 2003.'.

SEC. 203. DENIAL OF PROGRAM WAIVER BASED ON GROUND OF INADMISSIBILITY.

(a) IN GENERAL- Section 217(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(a)), as amended by section 202, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

`(9) AUTOMATED SYSTEM CHECK- The identity of the alien has been checked using an automated electronic database containing information about the inadmissibility of aliens to uncover any grounds on which the alien may be inadmissible to the United States, and no such ground has been found.'.

(b) VISA APPLICATION SOLE METHOD TO DISPUTE DENIALS OF WAIVER BASED ON GROUND OF INADMISSIBILITY- Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187), as amended by section 101(a)(6) of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

`(g) VISA APPLICATION SOLE METHOD OF DISPUTING GROUND OF INADMISSIBILITY FOUND IN AUTOMATED SYSTEM- In the case of an alien denial a waiver under the program by reason of a ground of inadmissibility uncovered through a written or verbal statement by the alien or a use of an automated electronic database required under subsection (a)(9), the alien may apply for a visa at an appropriate consular office outside the United States. There shall be no other means of administrative or judicial review of such a denial, and no court or person otherwise shall have jurisdiction to consider any claim attacking the validity of such a denial.'.

(c) PAROLE AUTHORITY- Section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) is amended--

(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `subparagraph (B)' and inserting `subparagraph (B) or (C)'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

`(C) The Attorney General may not parole into the United States an alien who has applied under section 217 for a waiver of the visa requirement, and has been denied such waiver by reason of a ground of inadmissibility uncovered through a written or verbal statement by the alien or a use of an automated electronic database required under section 217(a)(9), unless the Attorney General determines that compelling reasons in the public interest, or compelling health considerations, with respect to that particular alien require that the alien be paroled into the United States.'.

SEC. 204. EVALUATION OF EFFECT OF COUNTRY'S PARTICIPATION ON LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY.

(a) INITIAL DESIGNATION- Section 217(c)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(c)(2)(C)) is amended to read as follows:

`(C) LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY INTERESTS- The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State--

`(i) evaluates the effect that the country's designation would have on the law enforcement and security interests of the United States (including the interest in enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States);

`(ii) determines that such interests would not be compromised by the designation of the country; and

`(iii) submits a written report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives and of the Senate regarding the country's qualification for designation that includes an explanation of such determination.'.

(b) CONTINUATION OF DESIGNATION- Section 217(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(5) WRITTEN REPORTS ON CONTINUING QUALIFICATION; DESIGNATION TERMINATIONS-

`(A) PERIODIC EVALUATIONS-

`(i) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State, periodically (but not less than once every 5 years)--

`(I) shall evaluate the effect of each program country's continued designation on the law enforcement and security interests of the United States (including the interest in enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States);

`(II) shall determine whether any such designation ought to be continued or terminated under subsection (d); and

`(III) shall submit a written report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives and of the Senate regarding the continuation or termination of the country's designation that includes an explanation of such determination and the effects described in subclause (I).

`(ii) EFFECTIVE DATE- A termination of the designation of a country under this subparagraph shall take effect on the date determined by the Attorney General, but may not take effect before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which notice of the termination is published in the Federal Register.

`(iii) REDESIGNATION- In the case of a termination under this subparagraph, the Attorney General shall redesignate the country as a program country, without regard to subsection (f) or paragraph (2) or (3), when the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State, determines that all causes of the termination have been eliminated.

`(B) AUTOMATIC TERMINATION-

`(i) REQUIREMENT- On and after October 1, 2005, the designation of any program country with respect to a report described in subparagraph (A)(i)(III) has not been submitted in accordance with such subparagraph during the preceding 5 years shall be considered terminated.

`(ii) EFFECTIVE DATE- A termination of the designation of a country under this subparagraph shall take effect on the last day of the 5-year period described in clause (i).

`(iii) REDESIGNATION- In the case of a termination under this subparagraph, the Attorney General shall redesignate the country as a program country, without regard to subsection (f) or paragraph (2) or (3), when the required report is submitted, if the report includes a determination by the Attorney General that the country should continue as a program country.

`(C) EMERGENCY TERMINATION-

`(i) IN GENERAL- In the case of a program country in which an emergency occurs that the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State, determines threatens the law enforcement or security interests of the United States (including the interest in enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States), the Attorney General shall immediately terminate the designation of the country as a program country.

`(ii) DEFINITION- For purposes of clause (i), the term `emergency' means--

`(I) the overthrow of a democratically elected government;

`(II) war (including undeclared war, civil war, or other military activity);

`(III) disruptive social unrest;

`(IV) a severe economic or financial crisis; or

`(V) any other extraordinary event that threatens the law enforcement or security interests of the United States (including the interest in enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States).

`(iii) REDESIGNATION- The Attorney General may redesignate the country as a program country, without regard to subsection (f) or paragraph (2) or (3), when the Attorney General determines that--

`(I) at least 6 months have elapsed since the effective date of the termination;

`(II) the emergency that caused the termination has ended; and

`(III) the average number of refusals of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country during the period of termination under this subparagraph was less than 3.0 percent of the total number of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country which were granted or refused during such period.

`(D) TREATMENT OF NATIONALS AFTER TERMINATION- For purposes of this paragraph--

`(i) nationals of a country whose designation is terminated under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) shall remain eligible for a waiver under subsection (a) until the effective date of such termination; and

`(ii) a waiver under this section that is provided to such a national for a period described in subsection (a)(1) shall not, by such a designation termination, be deemed to have been rescinded or otherwise rendered invalid, if the waiver is granted prior to such termination.'.

SEC. 205. USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS.

(a) IN GENERAL- Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187), as amended by section 203(b), is further amended by adding at the end the following:

`(h) USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS-

`(1) AUTOMATED ENTRY-EXIT CONTROL SYSTEM-

`(A) SYSTEM- Not later than October 1, 2001, the Attorney General shall develop and implement a fully automated entry and exit control system that will collect a record of arrival and departure for every alien who arrives by sea or air at a port of entry into the United States and is provided a waiver under the program.

`(B) REQUIREMENTS- The system under subparagraph (A) shall satisfy the following requirements:

`(i) DATA COLLECTION BY CARRIERS- Not later than October 1, 2001, the records of arrival and departure described in subparagraph (A) shall be based, to the maximum extent practicable, on passenger data collected and electronically transmitted to the automated entry and exit control system by each carrier that has an agreement under subsection (a)(4).

`(ii) DATA PROVISION BY CARRIERS- Not later than October 1, 2002, no waiver may be provided under this section to an alien arriving by sea or air at a port of entry into the United States on a carrier unless the carrier is electronically transmitting to the automated entry and exit control system passenger data determined by the Attorney General to be sufficient to permit the Attorney General to carry out this paragraph.

`(iii) CALCULATION- The system shall contain sufficient data to permit the Attorney General to calculate, for each program country and each fiscal year, the portion of nationals of that country who are described in subparagraph (A) and for whom no record of departure exists, expressed as a percentage of the total number of such nationals who are so described.

`(C) REPORTING-

`(i) PERCENTAGE OF NATIONALS LACKING DEPARTURE RECORD- Not later than January 30 of each year (beginning with the year 2003), the Attorney General shall submit a written report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives and of the Senate containing the calculation described in subparagraph (B)(iii) for each program country for the previous fiscal year.

`(ii) SYSTEM EFFECTIVENESS- Not later than October 1, 2004, the Attorney General shall submit a written report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives and of the Senate containing the following:

`(I) The conclusions of the Attorney General regarding the effectiveness of the automated entry and exit control system to be developed and implemented under this paragraph.

`(II) The recommendations of the Attorney General regarding the use of the calculation described in subparagraph (B)(iii) as a basis for evaluating whether to terminate or continue the designation of a country as a program country.

`(2) AUTOMATED DATA SHARING SYSTEM-

`(A) SYSTEM- The Attorney General and the Secretary of State shall develop and implement an automated data sharing system that will permit them to share data in electronic form from their respective records systems regarding the admissibility of aliens who are nationals of a program country.

`(B) REQUIREMENTS- The system under subparagraph (A) shall satisfy the following requirements:

`(i) SUPPLYING INFORMATION TO IMMIGRATION OFFICERS CONDUCTING INSPECTIONS AT PORTS OF ENTRY- Not later than October 1, 2002, the system shall enable immigration officers conducting inspections at ports of entry under section 235 to obtain from the system, with respect to aliens seeking a waiver under the program--

`(I) any photograph of the alien that may be contained in the records of the Department of State or the Service; and

`(II) information on whether the alien has ever been determined to be ineligible to receive a visa or ineligible to be admitted to the United States.

`(ii) SUPPLYING PHOTOGRAPHS OF INADMISSIBLE ALIENS- The system shall permit the Attorney General electronically to obtain any photograph contained in the records of the Secretary of State pertaining to an alien who is a national of a program country and has been determined to be ineligible to receive a visa.

`(iii) MAINTAINING RECORDS ON APPLICATIONS FOR ADMISSION- The system shall maintain, for a minimum of 10 years, information about each application for admission made by an alien seeking a waiver under the program, including the following:

`(I) The name of each immigration officer conducting the inspection of the alien at the port of entry.

`(II) Any information described in clause (i) that is obtained from the system by any such officer.

`(III) The results of the application.'.

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 217(e)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(e)(1)) is amended--

(1) in subparagraph (B), by striking `and' at the end;

(2) in subparagraph (C), by striking the period at the end and inserting `, and'; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

`(D) to collect, provide, and share passenger data as required under subsection (h)(1)(B).'.

SEC. 206. CONDITIONS FOR VISA REFUSAL ELIGIBILITY.

Section 217(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(c)), as amended by section 204(b) of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

`(6) COMPUTATION OF VISA REFUSAL RATES- For purposes of determining the eligibility of a country to be designated as a program country, the calculation of visa refusal rates shall not include any visa refusals which incorporate any procedures based on, or are otherwise based on, race, sex, sexual orientation, or disability, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law or regulation.'.

Passed the House of Representatives April 11, 2000.

Attest:

JEFF TRANDAHL,

Clerk.

Calendar No. 524

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3767

AN ACT

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make improvements to, and permanently authorize, the visa waiver pilot program under section 217 of such Act.


May 1, 2000

Read twice and placed on the calendar

END

 


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