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Iran-FlagThe House Judiciary Committee approved a bill last Wednesday that would require the federal government to use social media to figure out if a visa applicant is eligible, as well as DNA testing and in-person interviews for petitioners. The bill is entitled Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016 (H.R. 5203) which is sponsored by House of Rep. Members Forbes, Goodlatte, Gowdy, Marino and Sensenbrenner.    This Visa Act targets Visa Seeker from Iran, as well as Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, for enhanced security measures and provides no way for a listed country to be removed at all, meaning the enhanced security for Iranians would become PERMANENT.

Additionally, this bill also imposes draconian hurdles and delays against all Immigrant Visa seekers and their American family members. For example, under this bill, if an Iranian American Petitions for a Visa for their family members, the VISA Act would force them to undergo unnecessary and expensive DNA testing to prove their familial relationships.    Also, this bill would make it significantly more difficult for foreign nationals to come to the USA by increasing the burden of proof requirements at the time of the Visa application at the Consulate level. Consequently, as intended this could and would make it especially difficult for Iranian Students who seek to study at American Universities to demonstrate they will not overstay their visa requirements.

I urge everyone to wake up and challenge this outrageous attempt to once again discriminate against Iranian nationals and make it very difficult to immigrate to the United States, the land of the free and the brave. Also I urge everyone to take a moment and read the text of this new Visa Act and to judge for yourself the very harsh and unreasonable requirements outlined within this Visa Act against the nationals of the above listed countries, including, Iran. It is very clear that House Republicans are content on moving forward with this discriminatory Visa Law inspired by the bigoted rhetoric of our decaying political atmosphere. This negative attitude must end in order for our two countries to move forward toward peace and prosperity.

Text of the House Resolution

Please note that if this new Visa Act is enacted into Law, this legislation would negatively impact the Iranian American Community, undermine U.S. Interests and make is increasingly difficult for all Immigrants and travelers to come to the United States without ensuring our safety from International terrorism.  On its face and as outlined, this new Visa Act is simply and purely DISCRIMINATORY & BURDENSOME, without any difference to protecting out National security.

On May 25, 2016; In a 14-10 vote, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016, or H.R. 5203, which includes several additional screening measures for visa applicants. The bill would require the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security to use social media to assist in determining whether an applicant is eligible for a visa, and would require DHS officials to perform interviews of petitioners and beneficiaries hoping to adjust their immigration status, according to the committee.

The legislation would also require evidence of relationships using DNA testing, submitted with select visa petitions, the committee said. The Visa Security Program — which, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sends agents with immigration enforcement knowledge to diplomatic outposts — would also be expanded to every U.S. embassy and consular location.
“The Visa Integrity and Security Act will close security gaps in our current immigration system and ensure our embassies and consulates have the tools necessary to determine whether a visa applicant presents a potential risk to the United States,” House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in a statement.

Victor Nieblas, the president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, criticized the legislation in a statement Wednesday, saying the bill “imposes a host of bureaucratic mandates that are unnecessary and do little to improve national security.”  As an active member of American Immigration Lawyers Association, I applaud our leadership for such a positive statement against this Visa Act and I urge all AILA Members to take action immediately against any future action on this Visa Act.
“This bill would tie up every business traveler with excessive red tape, keep families apart with expensive and unnecessary DNA testing, target groups by nationality and faith for discriminatory treatment and mandate in-person interviews of all visa applicants without regard to risk,” he added.

The committee’s moves come a couple of months after the House passed a bill to improve border security screening by foreign nations, including through the sharing of U.S. screening technology, a measure intended to help prevent travel by terrorists and suspected terrorists.

Lastly, I believe that all our House Republicans must be reminded of the basic guidelines of our U.S. Constitution of Fairness and equality for all since the Iranian American Community is one of the hardest working, honest and sincere community in the United States.

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