Republicans were outraged Thursday after the Obama administration eased new visa requirements for certain European travelers who have visited Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Sudan in the last five years — accusing President Barack Obama of appeasing Tehran and charging that the changes would undercut efforts to prevent terrorists from entering the United States.
“The Obama administration is blatantly breaking the law, a law the president himself signed,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas. “This is not a difference of opinion over statutory interpretation, it is a clear contradiction of the law and the agreement we reached with the White House.
“President Obama is again putting his relationship with Iran’s supreme leader over the security of Americans.”
Both McCaul and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said that the new exemptions had already been rejected by Congress.
President Obama and his administration’s decision to abuse their limited waiver authority and allow scores of people who have traveled to or are dual nationals of countries like Iraq and Syria flies in the face of reason and congressional intent,” Goodlatte said. “This needlessly compromises our national security and the safety of the American people.”
The Virginia senator cited a report Tuesday from the Department of Homeland Security saying that more than a half-million temporary visa holders — including thousands from the Middle East — illegally remained in the U.S. last year.
“Terrorism has and continues to be a very real threat to our country, and it’s unconscionable that the president and his administration continue to weaken the enforcement of our immigration and national security laws,” Goodlatte said.
The announcement came on the same day that Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that some of the more than $100 billion Iran received with the easing of sanctions last week under the nuclear deal could be used to support terrorism.
Furthermore, based on various reports given today it appears as though the sum of $100 billion dollars went directly toward releasing various prisoner’s from the USA as well as the demand for certain Tehran-linked prisoner’s as well. This is just one of the reasons that Obama is disliked even by staunch Democrats.
The State Department and DHS said that the new restrictions could be made under a law Congress passed in December that sought to block Europeans who have fought for the Islamic State and were likely to commit Islamic jihadism after entering the United States.
Currently, citizens of 38 countries, primarily in Europe, can generally travel to the United States without applying for a visa — though they still must submit biographical information to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.
But under the eased restrictions, people who traveled to those countries as journalists, for official work with humanitarian agencies or on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations and provincial or local governments may still be eligible to visit the United States without first obtaining a visa.
It is really rather an easy decision. First find out what the public wants; then confirm that decision with actions from Congress, and above all, follow the laws of the land even if you have signed them into action.