The Obama administration is implementing new legal changes made by Congress
to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), sometimes referred to as ESTA (Electronic
System for Travel Authorization).
Currently residents of 38 different countries can visit the United States
under the VWP, meaning they do not need to obtain a visa before visiting
the United States. Under the new changes, anyone who has visited Iran,
Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 1, 2011 will need to apply for a visa
before coming to the United States.
Attorney Jamie Gorton, principal attorney at the Law Offices of Jamie Gorton,
said, "The changes to the Visa Waiver Program are discriminatory
and reactionary. American citizens deserve a border protection system
that keeps them safe, but American citizens should also demand a border
protection system that is fair, even-handed, and non-discriminatory. In
the 134 years since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, immigration professionals
have learned that blanket targeting based on nationality is not a good
way to protect American safety, freedom, or values. Congress has forgotten
this important lesson, and instead acted in a knee-jerk way that worsens
American relations with our global neighbors."
The Ammerican Immigration Lawyer's Association, of which Attorney Gorton
is a member, has also spoken out against the restrictions to the Visa
found here. NPR's coverage on the issue can be found at their blog,