Washington— The Republican-led House has approved a bill to grant 180 days visa free entry into the United States for citizens of Trinidad & Tobago and 15 others countries. The measure is expected to help reduce illegal immigration drastically.
The House also approved two bills to crack down on illegal immigration, a key priority for President Donald Trump.
President Trump in the early days of his administration signed an executive order to allow citizens of Trinidad and Tobago travel to the United States without visas for a maximum period of 180 days for Tourism or Business purposes only.
One bill would strip federal dollars from self-proclaimed “sanctuary” cities that shield residents from federal immigration authorities, while a separate measure would stiffen punishments for people who re-enter the U.S. illegally.
The visa free bill was approved 260-163 while the sanctuary measure was approved 228-195. The bill to punish deportees was also approved 257-167. The bills now go to the Senate.
If approved by the Senate, the Department of State will update the number of qualified Visa Waiver Program (VWP) designated countries to include the 16 new countries.
In order to travel to the US under the VWP, one has to obtain authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business.
Trump often railed against illegal immigration during his presidential campaign. He is hailing passage of the House bills and urging the Senate to act “save American lives.”
Trump met at the White House this week with more than a dozen family members of those killed by people in the country illegally.