by Loren Edelstein | November 30, 2015
The White House released an announcement today outlining enhanced security measures with respect to the Visa Waiver Program, in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and the ongoing threat posed by terrorism. 
The Department of Homeland Security will immediately take steps to modify its Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) applications to capture information from VWP travelers regarding any past travel to countries constituting a terrorist safe haven. The director of national intelligence, in coordination with the secretary of homeland security, will identify and regularly review these countries so that traveler risk assessments can be made on the most up-to-date information. 

In response to the announcement, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement:

"The American travel community continues to be amenable to enhancements to the Visa Waiver Program. Travel cannot thrive without security, and even the most successful programs should be continually evaluated and updated to reflect the ever-evolving security landscape.

"Over the past year, and as recently as today, the Obama administration has taken tangible steps to strengthen the VWP and bolster screening-and all are measures that have the support of the travel community. Currently, a number of congressional offices are crafting VWP legislation, and we have heard a number of smart ideas for enhancing the program. We have long been on-record supporting the VWP bill offered by Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, and we anticipate that other measures will arise in both the House and the Senate that we can support.

"Our hope is that the debate remains a substantive one and does not devolve into political theater. We will approach proposals for strengthening the VWP with an open mind, and will evaluate ideas based on their feasibility and contributions to our security."