According to a report in the Washington Post, the Bush administration plans to remove visa requirements for citizens of seven allied countries. Requirements could be lifted for citizens from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and South Korea as early as next month.
The Bush administration has sought to lift requirements with allied nations, but opponents say the visa waiver program makes it easier for terrorists to slip into the country.
Twenty-seven nations currently have visa waivers, mostly Western European nations. Newer NATO members that have supported U.S. actions in Afghanistan and Iraq have asked for inclusion in the program, but some were left of Friday's list, including Poland who did not meet admission requirements.
Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman told the Washington Post that the administration waived some program requirements to get nations into the program before their term ended. "I am dismayed the administration has decided to expand the Visa Waiver Program before implementing security measures required by law, a move that could very well jeopardize the security of the United States," Lieberman, a supporter of the program, said Thursday in an e-mail.
Congress passed a measure last year that required governments to implement a system requiring non-visa visitors to notify U.S. authorities before their departure, however, Lieberman believes the systems will not be in place in time.
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Updated: Mon, Oct 20th 2008 @ 10:48am EDT