Discriminatory H.R. 158 Bill Targets the Wrong People
The Iranian-American community and its allies are rallying against discriminatory bill H.R. 158, Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. In essence, the bill is overly and unreasonably broad in that it will render ineligible citizens of visa waiver countries who are of Iranian origin (and therefore dual citizens by Iranian law) from the visa waiver program. It will also, in effect, render ineligible U.S. citizens of Iranian origin who are dual citizens from reciprocal visa waiver programs in other countries, notably, European Union countries. Descendants of Iraqi, Sudanese, and Syrian nationals will also be affected. The bill also has punitive effects for people who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Sudan since 2011.
The visa waiver program allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa. In turn, those countries reciprocate and allow U.S. citizens to travel without obtaining a visa as well. For example, if you travel to France or the U.K. and you are a U.S. citizen, you do not have to obtain a visa, and vice versa.
The bill has been “rushed to the House floor without ever being reviewed in Committee. In fact, the bill was not even made public until just a day or two ago“. It places “racially charged restrictions” and makes “second class citizens” of Iranian-Americans and the other groups targeted. “One may ask what role Iran has played in committing terror attacks in America? Most credible reports would say none. “Unfortunately, instead of combating the roots of terrorism, this bill scapegoats Iranian Americans, millions of US professionals who have helped build America. Professionals that strive in education and economy in the US and in the Mid-East, the real weapons that can end terrorism.”
Citizens are being urged to contact members of Congress to remove the discriminatory language in the omnibus bill that targets the wrong people.
By Grace Alano. Grace Alano is an immigration attorney at Alano Immigration in San Francisco, CA. Find Grace Alano on Google+