Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the Visa Waiver Program provisions included in the omnibus:
“The provisions included in the omnibus bill are a significant step in strengthening the security of the Visa Waiver Program. I am pleased a number of provisions in the bill I introduced with Senator Flake are incorporated, including the requirement for the use of electronic passports, which are more secure and harder to tamper with, as well as improved information-sharing between the United States and participating countries.
“The risk of foreign fighters exploiting the program will also be reduced by requiring individuals who have traveled to high-risk countries to use the traditional visa process, which requires an in-person interview and the collection of biometric information such as photographs and fingerprints.
“I do believe we must take additional action to improve the program, including looking at ways to collect biometrics from first-time visa waiver travelers before they depart their home countries. Congress must examine this issue in the coming months as we consider additional steps to keep our country safe.
“Photographs of the apparent ringleader of the Paris attacks, a French national, were prominently featured in the magazine produced by ISIL, known as Dabiq, nine months before the attacks took place. That is why biometric checks like facial recognition are important to protecting our security.”