WASHINGTON — Today Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation & Trade, issued the following statement on the passage of H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.

“ISIS fighters hold passports from different countries around the world,” said Chairman Poe. “We know they are embedded in western countries, able to travel freely and are hard to track. And, they want to do us harm. Under the current visa waiver program, individuals from 38 countries are exempt from the standard vetting process to get a visa. Hold a passport from one of these 38 countries? You can just hop on a plane and come here. Those 38 countries are also supposed to share their watch lists with us. Unfortunately, for some nations, that’s not happening.

This means that some on watch lists overseas are able to hop on a plane for the U.S. without us knowing. This bill changes that. Those 38 countries are required to share their watch lists with us. If they don’t, they’re prohibited from the program. Their citizens who have recently travelled to Iraq and Syria are also required to go through additional screening. These fighters have their eyes on America. We must do all we can to stop them from coming here. The status quo will not keep us safe.”