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POLONIA - Action
needed in support of
the Visa Waiver
Dear Members and Friends of the Polish American Community:
April 2011 - After years of continued hard work of the Polish American
Congress on the federal and state levels of government in the matter of
securing the admission of Poland to the United States Visa Waiver Program
(VWP), our effort has attracted key members of the Illinois Congressional
delegation in Washington, DC - notably, Senator Mark Kirk (R) and
Congressman Mike Quigley (D) - who pledged to spearhead bipartisan
legislation to include Poland in the Program.
As the result, two corresponding bills, sharing the same title of: "Secure
Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Program Act of 2011", were
introduced in both chambers of the U.S. Congress: H.R. 959 sponsored by Rep.
Quigley in the U.S. House of Representatives, and S. 497 sponsored by Sen.
Mikulski (D-MD) in the Senate. Both bills were then forwarded to the
respective committees on the Judiciary.
The aim of the bill is to update and modernize the VWP requirements by
setting the overstay rate (rather than the refusal rate, as it is practiced
now) as the main criterion for country's legibility and membership in the
This development creates a golden opportunity for all members of American
Polonia as well as friends of our community to work on, especially with
their respective Congressional delegations in ensuring a passage of the
We must not allow our golden opportunity to become a lost opportunity. Only
through concerted and energetic political action on the part of all members
of our Community can the golden opportunity translate into success.
To this end, a strong effort is urgently needed to saturate, by phone,
letters and the Internet, the Congressional delegations of ALL states. In
particular, we ask you to:
1. Concentrate on those Representatives and Senators from your state who
also serve on the Committee of the Judiciary (lists provided below) and urge
them to support the bill and ensure that legislation's successful referral
"out of Committee" for a vote on the floor of both houses.
2. If your Representative and/or Senators are not in the Committee to
which the bill was referred, please urge them strongly to support the bill
by becoming its co-sponsor (if they are not already), AND
3. Urge your Representatives and Senators to vote for the passage of the
bill when it comes for a vote.
4. In addition, please make sure to express your gratitude to those
Legislators who already took action. They would like to hear from you and
will appreciate your support.
BILL IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
H.R.959 : Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Program Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep. Quigley, Mike [D-IL] (introduced 3/8/2011)
Cosponsors (As of April 13, 2011)
Representative Berkley, Shelley [NV-1]
Representative Higgins, Brian [NY-27]
Representative Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52]
Representative Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9]
Representative Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3]
Representative Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [NJ-8]
Representative Polis, Jared [CO-2]
Representative Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9]
Representative Shimkus, John [IL-19]
Latest Action: 3/21/2011 Referred to the House Subcommittee on Immigration
Policy and Enforcement.
Members of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement (U.S.
House of Representatives):
S.497: Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Program Act of 2011
Sponsor: Sen Mikulski, Barbara A. [D-MD] (introduced 3/7/2011)
Cosponsors (As of April 13, 2011)
Sen Kirk, Mark Steven [IL]
Latest Action: 3/7/2011 Referred to Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary:
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman, D-Vermont Phone: (202) 224-4242
Sen. Jon Kyl R-Arizona Phone: (202) 224-4521
Sen. Jeff Sessions R-Alabama Phone: (202) 224-4124
Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-California Phone: (202) 224-3841
Sen. Richard Blumenthal D-Connecticut Phone: (202) 224-2823
Sen. Christopher A. Coons D-Delaware Phone: (202) 224-5042
Sen. Dick Durbin D-Illinois Phone: (202) 224-2152
Sen. Chuck Grassley Ranking Member, R-Iowa Phone: (202) 224-3744
Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minnesota Phone: (202) 224-3244
Sen. Al Franken D-Minnesota Phone: (202) 224-5641
Sen. Chuck Schumer D-New York Phone: (202) 224-6542
Sen. Tom Coburn R-Oklahoma Phone: (202) 224-5754
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse D-Rhode Island Phone: (202) 224-2921
Sen. Lindsey Graham R-South Carolina Phone: (202) 224-5972
Sen. John Cornyn R-Texas Phone: (202) 224-2934
Sen. Michael S. Lee R-Utah Phone: (202) 224-5444
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch R-Utah Phone: (202) 224-5251
Sen. Herb Kohl D-Wisconsin Phone: (202) 224-5653
It is absolutely crucial that you contact both your Representative AND your
Senators to express your support for the bills.
Finally, please make sure to encourage your family and friends as well as
friends of Polonia to do the same and also contact their representatives in
Washington in support of Poland's membership in the Visa Waiver Program.
Together we can finally make it happen but we need to generate the greatest
response from voters as possible.
WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION:
About the bill:
www.thomas.loc.gov and enter bill number: H.R.959 or
About your Representatives: www.house.gov or by calling (202) 224-3121
About your Senators:
www.senate.gov or by calling (202) 224-3121