SCHUMER HONORED BY POLISH-AMERICAN CONGRESS WITH MEDAL OF FREEDOM; SENATOR HAS BEEN STRONG SUPPORTER OF INCLUDING POLAND IN THE U.S. VISA WAIVER PROGRAM – PLEDGES TO RE-INTRODUCE “JOLT ACT”; BILL WOULD ADD POLAND TO VISA WAIVER PROGRAM AND PROMOTE OTHER POLAND-TO-AMERICA TOURISM INITIATIVES
Schumer Has Supported Legislation to Allow Polish Citizens to Get Expedited Visas; Poland is One of the Only European Countries Not Able to Travel to America Under U.S. Visa Waiver Program
Schumer Has Met Personally With Ambassador of Poland About Support for Making Poland Eligible for Visa Waiver Program; Schumer Successfully Passed Fix in Comprehensive Immigration Reform Last Congress & Pledges to Keep Pushing For Its Passage
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer spoke at the Polish-American Congress today and was presented with the Medal of Freedom for his continued support in working to include Poland in the Visa Waiver Program. Last Congress, Schumer passed this fix in Comprehensive Immigration Reform and today, Schumer said he intends to keep pushing for its eventual passage. In 2013, Schumer met personally with Ambassador of Poland Ryszard Schnepf about including Poland in the Visa Waiver Program, which is one of the highest priorities for the Polish Government and Polish-Americans. Schumer today said that he will be reintroducing the JOLT Act and is working hard to gain bipartisan support.
“Poland has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. over the past two decades: Poland served as a forward outpost for our missile defense shield, Poland has been a reliable voice on behalf of the trans-Atlantic partnership in European Union councils, and our troops fought side by side in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s time we finally fix this injustice; I was proud to pass this fix in Comprehensive Immigration Reform last Congress, and I fully intend to keep pushing for its eventual passage. There’s still no bill in Congress that would be better for our economy, better for the relationship between Poland and the United States. I truly believe that and it’s one of the reasons I’ve been fighting so long to overturn the unjust exclusion of Poland from the Visa Waiver Program,” said Senator Schumer.
Schumer continued, “I plan to reintroduce the JOLT Act and have been working hard in Congress to gain bipartisan support. When this legislation passes, it will be a boost for our economy, it will create jobs and it will nurture the strength and vibrancy of Polish-American communities across the United States. I am honored to be awarded the Polish American Congress’ Medal of Honor and I will continue to work hard to serve the Polish-American community – from Greenpoint to Greenport to Cheektowaga!”
The Visa Waiver program gives citizens of selected countries the ability to travel to the US under the ESTA program, rather than go through the more lengthy and complicated US Tourist Visa application process. Poland has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. over the past two decades on issues that include deployment of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, willingness to serve as a forward outpost for our missile defense shield, and being a reliable voice on behalf of the trans-Atlantic partnership in European Union councils.
Schumer’s effort, which he prioritized in Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2013, would make Poland part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and would allow citizens to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, when they meet all requirements. Travelers must be eligible to use the VWP and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without obtaining a visa, for business, tourism, visiting or pleasure.
While the global travel market is expected to double over the next decade, the United States’ market share of this industry has declined by five percent since 2000. The JOLT Act is aimed at reversing that trend and recapturing the United States’ historic share of worldwide overseas travel, which could add billions to the economy over the next decade and create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. If Poland gained entry to VWP and saw a similar increase, the additional visitors to the United States would create $181 million in new spending and support 1,500 new jobs.
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