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House passes legislation barring travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan from entering U.S. without visa

Middle East refugee map

WASHINGTON – The House overwhelmingly passed legislation on Tuesday (407 to 19) that would overhaul the federal visa waiver program and bar those from Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Sudan, or those who have visited those countries in the last five years, from traveling to the United States without a visa.

Action on the proposal comes in response to the recent attacks in Paris from ISIS operatives, and the shooting in California by a couple that expressed support for the terror group on social media.

“This will help neutralize the threat from foreign terrorists entering our country,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday.

The GOP proposal, which top House Democrats have endorsed, calls for greater sharing of information among the 38 countries that participate in the program with the United States. Currently those eligible can travel for limited time periods without having to apply for a visa. The bill would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to terminate any country’s participation in the program if it doesn’t adequately transmit data. It also looks to beef up efforts to detect fraud from those traveling with electronic passports.

President Barack Obama called on Congress to address the visa waiver program during his prime-time address to the nation on Sunday about his administration’s efforts to combat the threat from ISIS.

Ryan criticized the Oval Office speech, saying, “We heard the President defend staying the course. But why would we stay the course when the enemy is evolving?”

He repeated his call for the President to offer a “real, comprehensive strategy to defeat — defeat, not contain, ISIS.”

The vote was delayed for a short period on the House floor, as Democrats offered procedural motions designed to force a vote on Rep. Peter King’s, R-New York, measure to block gun purchases from those on the terror watch list. Ryan has argued that idea is a “distraction” and that the broader focus should be on measures aimed at fighting terrorism.

The No. 2 House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said he worked closely with GOP leaders on the visa waiver bill and that the measure said it was “reasonable” and “measured” plan. He contrasted it with the call from Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman who is calling for a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S.

“The important issue here is no one is excluded by this bill. There are however additional requirements designed to ensure that those who come in this country are in fact not a risk to this country,” Hoyer said.

The Senate may consider the bill as well although Republican leaders have not said when that would occur.

38 comments

  • Mehdi

    How could this action be a response of recently ISIS attack, when none of the f..ing Jihadis were Iranian. And why I can’t see Saudi Arabia in this list instead of Iran?

    • Marco

      Another happy GOP nonsense vote, same as invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan because Saudi Arabian nationals’ 9.11 attach on New York, and this time a Saudi and Pakistani SUNNIs attacked, Blame the Shiaites, why not just drop a few Atom Bombs on these 3 countries Saudies and Zios will be even more pleased!!!! way to go GOP / NEOCONs Smacks…

      • Pat

        You obviously don’t realize that only 19 of 188 house democrats voted against this and Obama was the one who called for this to happen? Not exactly a GOP issue…

  • Ajax Lessome

    If the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino do not wake up those who still refuse to believe that the rising tide of Islamic extremism is flowing from radical safe havens such as Syria and Iran is an imminent threat, then the Iranian regime’s actions in firing another missile in direct violation of sanctions should be an urgent alarm bell

    • Marco

      I pity you sir… You should take some headache pills and read a little of Real News, not just the corporate brainwashing news, the Paris and San Bernardino attachs were commited by SUNNIs, those are from Wahabi Islam (as in “Saudi Arabian! Hello…!”), Jihad and extremism are product of Wahabism not from Shiaism(as in “Iran” ) please wake up and try to study befor blabber mouthing… And accusing Iranians and Syrians or Iraqis. You want to stop Extremism, Jihad, Beheading, Terrorism, and all? Change the F***ing Saudi Arabian Regime… & Stop Air dropping and supplying Arms to ISIS, Al Nusra, Al-Qaeda and others….. In short sir Shut the F*** UP.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Your inability to communicate without dropping the F bomb is an indicatfion of immaturity and lack of education. It may increase your personal self esteem but it doesn’t impress the rest of us.

    • ryan

      Are you aware that iran has killed more is soldiers than united states has!? What does the attack on Paris has to do with Paris? Why isn’t edgept, Pakistan a Saud Arabia are nt on the list? When is US gonna get off. Saudis dck

  • Alen

    There is no single Iranian Jihadi in the world. All Jihadi terrorists are Sunni-Salafi Muslims. Most of Iranians are not even Shia, they are secular and peaceful people contributing to the societies they live in. Go to any top-ranked engineering schools in the world and find out who the brightest are (besides Indians and Chinese).

    A non-muslim pro-Israel Iranian who doesn’t like right wing propaganda about my country.

    • Parham

      Thank you Alen! I am a young Iranian man. As Alen put it, most of us are not even Muslims. I’ve been born and raised in a moderately Islamic family. But our current population is mostly non-religious, including me… And it’s absolutely devastating that we are being blamed for what Saudi Arabian and Pakistani extremists are doing in the world… Just think for a moment my friends: Even the God-damned Iranian regime, which I and most Iranians hate, is fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria along with the US and Europeans… But Saudi Arabia is financing them, and Turkey is buying their oil… Awesome, right?!

    • majid ahmadi

      hi thanks for your support i hope one day our people come together salut merci pour votre soutien je l espere un jour nos gens se reunissent

  • mattmeleg

    This is BEYOND stupid. They are banning people from SHIA MUSLIM countries. Shia muslims (like Iran) are the ones who are FIGHTING ISIS. They should be banning people from Saudi Arabia. I swear the media is going to start telling people that it`s Iran who is ISIS. When it`s Iran who is the MORTAL ENEMY of ISIS! This is pure 1984!

  • james

    This proves that US congress is comprised of a bunch of dumb idiots who do not want to understand the realities of the world.

  • Sam

    Where is Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey and the rest of Sunni Wahhabi terrorist countries who actually fund and carry out those attacks against the west and also in SYRIA and IRAQ on a daily basis?
    I am really wondering what universe these dumb people in the congress are living in? Iran, Iraq and Syria are actually the countries that are fighting ISIS. Iran has been fighting ISIS since day 1. They are actually Shiite Muslims not Sunni Wahhabi.
    Given that we are punishing the countries that are fighting ISIS, I think US congress made it quite obvious that ISIS is actually working for us.

  • Cyrus

    Where was the last time a terrorist came from Iran you dumb congress.
    Do you think ISIS and al Qaeda are from Iran ?
    Or from US allies, countries like Saudi scum Arabia and Pakistan?
    Get a clue house of non representatives.

  • Joe Schulte

    Ok I said this once and I will say it again. If we do not put a stop to not only ISIS but all terrorism in the United States terrorists will continue to do what they did in France and California. However, the response given by France less than 24 hours after the attack there was and should be the response to ISIS. The U.S. SHOULD HAVE done the same thing. Only instead of that our idiot president gives some meaningless speech. Once again making himself look like an ISIS sympathizer. This is only going to get worse unless those responsible for these attacks are wiped out. The only thing they seem to understand is lethal violence.

  • Billy

    Really?? all these Jihadi guy’s return trip is through Turkey. Everybody knows that. This vote is just another BS vote from House. Turkey and Saudi Arabia should be on that list.

  • Ray

    Sunni Muslims saw the heads of Christians and Shia Muslims off and to punish them, we ban travel from three Shia countries! Makes lot of sense. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the cesspool of Terrorism but we look the other way… Jews ans Saudi money at work again:) Our politicians are nothing but prostitutes…..

  • shapour (@kingshapour)

    if u look who did terrorists things in usa and across the world u cant see any Iranians between them. %99.9 are Arabs nationals or saudis or other people who connected to saudi arabia. this is ridicules.

  • Ali

    What a stupid decision!!
    All terrorists are come from Saudi Arabia and supported by Turkey and Gulf Arabs then You limit Iranians who are in front-lines of fighting ISIS!

    Ridiclous

  • Brad

    So let me get this straight….Donald Trump says ban ALL muslims and faces extreme and warranted critism. Meanwhile government then takes it a step further and segregates down to a selct few countries…

  • m

    they are beyond crazy!!! people who recently have traveled to Iraq, syria, sudan and Iran, need to get new visa! and Saudi arabia isn’t in the list!!! saudi arabia are officially help terrorists and they are more reliable to USA than Iran! idiots.

  • BoulderPhinfan

    All of the terrorists that have attacked us are from Saudi Arabia, pakistan or have passed through turkey. Putting IRan on the list is for AIPAC and other Israeli lobbies. it has nothing to do with our security.

  • humam

    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    so funny terrorist came from Saudi Arabia while they ban Iraq and Syrian people !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rocko

    I fully support a ban of every Muslim from any country. Let them kill each other over there, have at it, stay out of The USA!

  • sean

    When was the last time an Iranian did a terrorist attack in US or even in Europe??? This idiots dont even understand that beside the fact that Iranians are the most secular muslims worldwide, they belong to shia sect! But ISIS, Alqaida, Alshabab, Bukuharam, Taliban, Alnusra etc all belong to sunni groups being supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, pakistan, egypt and evwn Turkey but for sure not from Iran! Iran in fact is fighting ISIS and was fighting Alqaida and Taliban. a pakistani couple just spent some month in saudi and became zombi!!! They dont know out of 19 sep. 11th terrorists, 15 were saudis, next to egyptians and an emirati. The terrorist couple last week was Pakistani origin. Very sad to see the US politicians are so dumb and I am afraid this dumb decisions dont stop terrorists at all but make them even more rude

  • Kia

    The worst part about this is that we are going to limit American citizen’s rights… we keep talking about having to fight for gun rights and people on the terror watch list can still buy guns legally, but when it comes to creating second class citizens, we are totally ok with it? We make fun of Trump and his ideas, while our own congress does this?? Yes I know for now, this is aimed to citizens of other countries who have visited Iran, Iraq etc… or have dual citizenship. i.e. Iranian-British etc… but the visa waiver program works both ways. If the US decides to require visas for say a British citizen who is of Iranian decent or has visited Iran in the past 5 yrs, The British government can also require the same exact thing from the American citizens; thus creating a new class of citizens who pay the same amount of taxes, but are just not as equal as the rest of the Americans. Really? This will impact our friends, families and fellow Americans who migrated here for the hope of freedom. These people contribute to the society the same way that all Americans do. why are we repeating history again?

  • Hani Lsi

    And then people wonder why everything is getting worse every day! 14 years ago Saudi citizens attacked the U.S. with the help of Taliban (a product of Pakistan intelligent agencies) therefore U.S. attacked Iraq and called Iran, Iraq and NKorea the axis of evil. For 11 year everybody said the bin laden is in Iran or was in Iran, Etc. and finally they found him in Pakistan near a military facility protected by their intelligent. Therefore U.S. put more sanctions on Iranians. Now a Pakistani couple who have lived in Saudi Arabia for years attack Americans again therefore U.S. put limitations on Iranians . . . if this limitations were for every Muslim county I would say “okay those idiots ruined it for all of us” but giving a pass to the citizens of the countries who are actually responsible for these attacked and punish others shows how empty these efforts are.

  • Amir

    This vote is not based on the past. There is not a single valid justification about it as most of the comments agree.
    1. Why Iran is in the list instead of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, qatar and…?
    2. Why Sudan?
    To understand this action we should focus in the underling motivation for the future. I guess there is a plan to put more pressure on Iran in future and expand this nasty violent game in Iraq and Syria to Iran and Sudan. But I think Iran is the number one target. These congressmen are not stupid. They are the warmongers.

  • aslan_ff@yahoo.com

    This is obvious discrimination. I cant believe there are just 19 wise persons in congress. Have you ever seen any Iranian terrorist? This is also funny and ridiculous, because so many European presidents and diplomats have traveled to Iran during the last 5 years. Do they need visa for going to UAS? This is a ridiculous and shameful legislation !!!

  • Elsa

    So where are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, UAE, Qatar who raise these terrorists. Since 9/11 we have not done anything to stop the extremists from these countries to come to US. Well IRAN doesn’t have anything to do with these suicide bombers and jihadists including ISIS!!!
    As long as the US law makers want to close their eyes they won’t solve the issue! Do these law makers really care about the American people or there is something else….

  • Amir

    This legislation is in response to ISIS!!!!! what the f**k does ISIS to do with Iran?!?!? honestly I was taken by GOP senators’ IQ!!! I am not defending Iranian government but specifically in this case ISIS is sworn enemy of Iran, you don’t need to be Einstein to know that just have a look at newspapers! … Interestingly Saudi Arabia, the biggest supporter of ISIS, is not in the list!

  • Milli from Germany

    Well done USA! now we understand why United States of Amerika are going to weaker and weaker every day. Beacause your government are the most stupid one in the world who don’t know who are actually attaking them but wait may be they are not stupid. may be they are just doing their job as the slave of Saudi Arabia and Isreal. you are going to lose Europe and the rest of the world very soon.

  • Robert Arakelian

    ok this is stupidest law ever, I am an American Citizen also a Cristian , been her 25 years , USA is my home, my old mother lives in Iran, my Sister & her family also lives in Iran, so for me to go visit a poor old sick mother back in Iran , I have to detour go to another country to get a visa just because I want to come back home? really? who the F##ing idiot comes up with this idea? neither I or my family like any of those terrorists, we do not support them, we all hate them just as much as everyone in the world hates them, but how the heck making it harder & inconvenience for me & other Iranians like me make it safer? why on earth US Citizens who live in US & work here, all their life is here, have to get visa just to come back home ?? please reconsider this stupidest legislation, because it is stupid & we all American-Iranians have to get to gather & sue the system BIG Time, this is F##king discrimination written all over it. If an American-Iranian like have to get visa , then every other race included white, black, hispanic, etc.. have to get visa too. I can not believe these Fu##ing idiots actually get paid for all the F#ck ups they do.

  • Bill

    Poor amirican people controled by non ethical people , do you think when a man want to fight with ISIS will go and stamp his passport in Tahran or Baghdad , or Damascus air port / borders ???? they will go to Turkey stamp there passport in Istanbul and taking money from whahbi Saudi and fight for ISIS . Now I understand why the world start to be a wild world , We are going for the end of the world.

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