Archive for April 20th, 2011

ACTION NEEDED in Support of Visa Waiver Legislation

 

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 Program.

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 bill.

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)
Rep. Berkley, Shelley [NV-1]
Rep. Higgins, Brian [NY-27]
Rep. Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52]
Rep. Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9]
Rep. Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3]
Rep. Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [NJ-8]
Rep. Polis, Jared [CO-2]
Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9]
Rep. 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):
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) California, 24th, Chairman Phone: (202) 225-5811 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-5811 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (202) 225-5811 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-5811 end_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Steve King (R) Iowa, 5th, Vice-Chairman Phone: (202) 225-4426 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-4426 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Dan Lungren (R) California, 3rd Phone: (202) 225-5716 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-5716 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) California, 16th Phone: (202) 225-3072 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-3072 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Maxine Waters (D) California, 35th Phone: (202) 225-2201 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-2201 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Dennis Ross (R) Florida, 12th Phone: (202) 225-1252 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-1252 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R) South Carolina, 4th Phone: (202) 225-6030 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-6030 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) Texas, 1st Phone: (202) 225-3035 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-3035 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Ted Poe (R) Texas, 2nd Phone: (202) 225-6565 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-6565 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) Texas, 18th Phone: (202) 225-3816 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-3816 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D) Puerto Rico, Resident Commissioner Phone: (202)
225-2615

BILL IN THE U.S. SENATE:
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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-4242 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Jon Kyl R-Arizona Phone: (202) 224-4521 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-4521 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Jeff Sessions R-Alabama Phone: (202) 224-4124 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-4124 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-California Phone: (202) 224-3841 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-3841 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Richard Blumenthal D-Connecticut Phone: (202) 224-2823 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-2823 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Christopher A. Coons D-Delaware Phone: (202) 224-5042 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5042 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Dick Durbin D-Illinois Phone: (202) 224-2152 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-2152 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Chuck Grassley Ranking Member, R-Iowa Phone: (202) 224-3744 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-3744 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minnesota Phone: (202) 224-3244 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-3244 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Al Franken D-Minnesota Phone: (202) 224-5641 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5641 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Chuck Schumer D-New York Phone: (202) 224-6542 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-6542 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Tom Coburn R-Oklahoma Phone: (202) 224-5754 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5754 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse D-Rhode Island Phone: (202) 224-2921 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-2921 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Lindsey Graham R-South Carolina Phone: (202) 224-5972 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5972 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. John Cornyn R-Texas Phone: (202) 224-2934 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-2934 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Michael S. Lee R-Utah Phone: (202) 224-5444 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5444 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch R-Utah Phone: (202) 224-5251 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5251 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Sen. Herb Kohl D-Wisconsin Phone: (202) 224-5653 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5653 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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: http://thomas.loc.gov and enter bill number: H.R.959 or S.497
About your Representatives: www.house.gov or by calling (202) 224-3121 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-3121 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
About your Senators: www.senate.gov or by calling (202) 224-3121 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-3121 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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