NO. R-45. Joint resolution urging the Department of Homeland Security to list Poland as an eligible nation for the United States Visa Waiver Program.
Offered by: Representatives Obuchowski of Rockingham, Baker of West Rutland, Emmons of Springfield, Krawczyk of Bennington, Martin of Springfield and Potter of Clarendon.
Whereas, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1187, the Visa Waiver Program was established under the joint auspices of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice and the United States Department of State, and
Whereas, since the program’s establishment, responsibility for visa regulations, in accordance with the provisions of Sec. 428 of Pub. L. 107-296 (commonly referred to as the U.S. Patriot Act), has been transferred to the United States Department of Homeland Security, and
Whereas, the program provides that citizens of designated nations who: 1) have a valid passport; 2) are visiting the United States for a period of time not exceeding 90 days; 3) show a return transportation ticket to their own country upon entering the United States; and 4) are not disqualified for any reason from entering this country, may enter the United States without a visa, and
Whereas, 8 C.F.R. § 217 delineates the specific requirements of the Visa Waiver Program including the list of countries whose citizens may avail themselves of its provisions, and
Whereas, these nations include Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and
Whereas, missing from this list of nations is Poland, a country which has been a staunch ally of the United States during the hostilities in Iraq and whose soldiers have fought bravely in military missions under United States command, and
Whereas, since the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, Poland has been a free and democratic nation and has been granted membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, better known as NATO, and
Whereas, the individuals who take advantage of the Visa Waiver program are not infrequently the relatives of American citizens who are traveling to this country for important family events such as weddings, funerals, and graduations, and
Whereas, the complex procedures required for obtaining a visa to enter the United States, especially since September 11, 2001, have proven to be a major impediment for upstanding Polish citizens to either celebrate with or provide consolation to family members during some of life’s most pivotal moments, including those occurring in Vermont, and
Whereas, in light of Poland’s enormous democratic strides during recent years and its staunch support for the United States at a time when other nations, including some on the Visa Waiver Program list, are openly criticizing this country, it is only fair that Poland be placed on the Visa Waiver Program list with a status equivalent to all other nations already listed, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly expresses its strong support for the placement of Poland on the Visa Waiver Program list as codified at 8 C.F.R. § 217.2, and be it further
Resolved: That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Secretary of Homeland Security, the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation, and to Anthony Bajdek, president of the Polish American Congress of Eastern Massachusetts, Inc.
The Vermont General Assembly
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