Help repeal discriminatory travel restrictions

joannafurlong
  • By: joannafurlong
  • In: BLOG, EUROPE, FEATURE STORIES, HOME, MIDDLE EAST, NEWS, TOP STORIES
  • Posted: February 23, 2016

Did you know that this past December the U.S. enacted a law to end visa-free travel for people with Middle Eastern or African heritage? The core intent of the law was to increase national security measures—however, these discriminatory travel provisions were folded into the new law. And, they have the potential to drastically harm the economy.

What has changed?

Prior to this enactment, U.S. citizens and those of Europe, Japan, South Korea and others—38 countries total—enjoyed visa-free travel. This new law, however, discriminates based on heritage. Travelers of Middle Eastern and African descent (for example, Europeans of Iranian descent), will have these travel privileges revoked.

What does this mean for U.S. passport holders?

This action could invite reciprocal measures, meaning U.S. citizens traveling abroad could, too, have their visa-free travel privileges revoked. This could weaken the power of the U.S. passport for millions of U.S. citizens.

What are the other implications?

These restrictions could negatively impact U.S. business interests. There are millions of travelers of European, Japanese and Korean descent that are U.S. employees, customers and suppliers for American businesses. Restricting their travel by requiring visas will likely reduce agility and create costly delays.

“It’s not just the direct impact, it’s the unforeseen repercussions that is concerning,” said Adriana Gascoigne, Founder and CEO of Girls in Tech. “This law is essentially a form of ‘sanction’ against our closest allies and trading partners: Europe, Japan, Korea, etc. We should be working with them, not against them.”

“I understand some people are pressuring the White House to categorically waive the discriminatory travel restrictions,” Gascoigne added. “Whether that’s legal or not, it’s not the right way to solve this. The problem should be fixed at the root, which is in the legislation.”

Sign the petition

We encourage you to sign the petition here, stating that you support the bipartisan Equal Protection in Travel Act (H.R.4380/S.2449.

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