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Emanuel Urges Poland Inclusion in Visa Waiver Program

December 01, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), released the following letter to President Bush expressing his strong support for including Poland in the Visa Waiver program. Emanuel sent the same letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Following is text of the letter:

Dear President Bush:

I was pleased to hear your remarks at the 2006 NATO Summit when you stated, “I am going to work with our Congress and our international partners to modify our visa-waiver program.” I agree with this important goal, and I am writing today to express my strong support for including Poland in this program.

It is vital for the United States to ensure the safety and security of the Visa Waiver Program. Equally important, we must ensure that we do not treat our proven allies as second-class citizens. We must be responsive to those who seek to immigrate to this country by legal means, and those who wish to visit their families in the United States from countries that have been our strong allies, such as Poland.

In 2005, President Kwasniewski agreed to the Roadmap for Poland, a series of steps each nation will take to fulfill the goal of Poland entering the Visa Waiver Program, including working together to improve the security of the program.

During the 109th Congress, I introduced H.Res 78 to recognize the importance of designating Poland as a Visa Waiver Program country. H.Res 78 recognizes the vast contributions Polish immigrants have made to our culture and society, and it assists those who seek to visit our country and also those who wish to visit their families. Similar legislation regarding Poland and the Visa Waiver Program has been introduced and passed by six state legislatures. I plan on reintroducing my resolution in the next Congress.

It is important to note that Poland joined other European leaders in signing a letter of support for our efforts in disarming Iraq. In fact, over the last three years of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Poland has demonstrated strong support for the foreign policy goals of the United States, committing thousands of troops and providing considerable resources to the war effort.

Including Poland in the Visa Waiver Program is in our economic, political and national security interests and demonstrates our
continued commitment to our strong Polish allies.

I look forward to working with you to achieve this goal.

Rahm Emanuel
Member of Congress