Upstate Republicans Back Visa Waiver Overhaul


Representative Richard Hanna voted with other upstate Republicans to overhaul the U.S. visa waiver program.

Republican Congressman Tom Reed of Corning says new House reforms to the U.S.’s visa waiver program are a much-needed update.

“It closes a potential risk that is legitimately there in regards to terrorists being able to come to those 38 countries [and] into America,” Reed says.

Reed voted “yes” on the bill Tuesday, as did Republican Richard Hanna of Utica and Albany-area Republican Christopher Gibson. The House passed the bill 407-19.

The visa waiver program allows travelers from 38 countries to enter the United States and stay up to 90 days without a visa. The bill would bar people who have been in Iraq or Syria within the past five years from using the program. The New York TImes reports that the Senate has indicated it’s willing to accept the House measure in order to speed the reform process, but a vote has not been scheduled.

President Obama said in Sunday’s address to the nation that he’s ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the visa waiver program.