[Congressional Record: April 25, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
URGING INS TO RECONSIDER PROPOSED LIMITATION ON VISITS FROM FOREIGNERS
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the
gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I come to the House floor this evening to
express my opposition to a proposal put forward by INS Commissioner
James Ziglar several weeks ago. The Immigration and Naturalization
Service proposal would limit foreigners to visiting the United States
for only 30 days. The current policy on visitor visas allows a stay in
the United States for at least 6 months.
Mr. Speaker, this new proposal severely undermines the family
structure of U.S. residents who have loved ones living in a foreign
country; and on another note, the new proposal severely jeopardizes an
important segment of
the U.S. economy that depends on foreign tourists.
The driving force behind the INS proposal is the attempt to improve
our homeland security and to prevent terrorists from entering our
country. Although I believe that INS reform is badly needed to better
address our homeland security concerns, I am completely convinced that
limiting visitor visas to 30 days will do nothing to better protect us
from terrorists, and will in fact only place severe, undue burdens on
the lawful, decent individuals abroad who come to visit the United
I would like to expand on exactly who would feel the effects of this
proposal. It is the grandmother or grandfather who lives in another
country and chooses to come to the United States to spend time with
their family that has settled here. Is 30 days enough time to reunite a
family? Is 30 days enough time, if thousands of dollars and over 24
hours have been spent traveling to the United States? Is 30 days enough
time to spend with a newborn grandchild, or a grandchild getting
married? I do not think so.
Mr. Speaker, over 70,000 people in the United States have signed a
petition against this proposal in the last 10 days or so. Interestingly
enough, the INS has not thought so, or has not agreed with this
proposal for the past 10 years. In fact, they have suggested the
The INS is arbitrarily changing this law in response to September 11,
but the change will be ineffectual in preventing further terrorism. In
fact, there are two detrimental effects that I foresee with this
First, if visitors are provided only a 30-day visa, it is likely that
upon entrance to the United States, these visitors will apply for a
visa extension. This type of extra paperwork is the exact reason why
the INS extended the visitor's visa to 6 months, so tourists could
accomplish the purpose of their visit, leave the United States within
the given time here, and not further overload the INS. This will not be
the case if the 30-day limit is implemented.
Mr. Speaker, the second reason, I think, which is so important, is
that we are all aware of the impact on the tourism industry in the
United States after September 11. The airline industry and tourism
industry would be drastically affected by the decrease in visits to the
United States that would be a result of visitors finding that 30 days
is not worth the great effort required to visit the United States.
Mr. Speaker, I know that the INS has thought about this, but I think
they need to reconsider. I urge the INS to reconsider their proposal.
It will in no way fight terrorism, and only serves to trample on the
legitimate visits from relatives with legitimate residents of the
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