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[Congressional Record: April 25, 2002 (House)]
[Page H1667-H1668]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr25ap02-47]                         



 
 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

[[Page H1668]]

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 
States.
  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 
opposite.
  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 
proposal.
  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 
United States.

                          ____________________






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