Notations On Our World: On #HR158 and the ensuing debate

In response to the San Bernardino Attack that claimed the lives of 14 innocent souls, the US House of Representatives has just adopted HR158 that has some very troubling provisions also being debated in the US Senate.   There has been a concerted grass roots effort as epitomized by this received at our World Headquarters--We will continue to monitor this over the ensuing days.

Just Foreign Policy

Urge Pres. Obama & Congress to put a time limit on the discriminatory provisions of the visa waiver bill.

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On December 8, the House voted for a bill to tighten the Visa Waiver Program that lets people from certain countries travel to the U.S. without first obtaining a visa.Mike HondaBarbara LeeJohn ConyersJan SchakowskyRaul Grijalva, and Keith Ellison were among the Democrats who voted against the bill, [1] citing discriminatory and overbroad provisions of the bill, and the lack of a time limit on these provisions.

Urge President Obama and Congress to "sunset" the discriminatory provisions of the visa waiver reform bill by signing our petition at MoveOn:


Rep. Honda said he voted against this bill because it "unjustly targets individuals based on their nationality" and that he could not "vote for a bill that categorically bars access to the Visa Waiver Program for dual nationals of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Iran and people who have traveled in the last 5 years to Iraq and Syria, including humanitarian workers…Under this bill, a French citizen of Syrian descent who has never been to Syria would still fall into this blanket category.” [2]

Rep. Lee said she shares “the concerns of the ACLU, AILA, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and others that this bill would allow for the discrimination of individuals based on their nationality." [3]

Rep. Conyers said, "I believe the provisions in the legislation restricting the use of the visa waiver program to individuals who have travelled to Syria or Iraq or are dual nationals of these or other covered nations – are discriminatory…I also believe the provision should have included a sunset date so we can assess its efficacy." [4]

Like Rep. Conyers, the ACLU has called for the discriminatory provisions of the legislation to have a sunset provision [5], meaning that they would expire and have to be reconsidered and reauthorized to remain in force - just like the Patriot Act, passed after the September 11 attacks, had a sunset provision so it would have to be reconsidered. Likewise, every major Democratic proposal for an authorization for the use of force against ISIS, including President Obama's proposal [6], has a sunset provision, so that it could not continue indefinitely without Congress having to reconsider it.

It is very likely that some version of the bill will be included in the omnibus spending package expected to be passed by December 18Urge President Obama and Congress to sunset the discriminatory provisions of the visa waiver reform bill by signing and sharing our petition:
Thanks for all you do to help U.S. foreign policy become more just,

Robert Naiman, Sarah Burns and Avram Reisman 

Contact your lawmaker today to stop this discriminatory bill from passing!
NIAC Action

Here is a very quick update on the Visa Waiver bill that threatens to force Iranian Americans into a seperate process for traveling to Europe.

As we speak, Senate leaders are negotiating with the House on whether or not to include discriminatory language in a government spending measure that must pass by TOMORROW.

Will you call your lawmakers before they reach the funding bill deadline on Dec. 11?

The Senate's phones need to start ringing off the hook now so that they get the message loud and clear that the discriminatory language must not be included in that funding bill.

So far, you have sent over 29,000 emails to lawmakers. From what we are hearing on the Hill, the message is starting to get through. But as it stands, the discriminatory language remains in the bill. We need to turn up the temperature now with urgent action to get it removed.

Please call your Senators right now and tell them not to include the discriminatory language in the funding bill.

Follow this link for the call-in tool that will connect you to your two Senators.

Then, just follow this simple three-step script:
  • Hi, I'm calling from [your city] to urge my Senator to oppose a Visa Waiver proposal that discriminates against Iranian American dual-nationals.
  • Lawmakers are threatening to add this bill to the annual government funding bill. Congress must not follow the path of Donald Trump.
  • Please oppose the discriminatory language in this bill and make sure it does not get added to the government funding bill.
NIAC Action is in contact with Senate offices, the White House and embassies to work to stop this dangerous legislation. We are fighting an uphill battle, but there is still time to win this.

We need your help to keep this bill from becoming law. Call your lawmakers now.
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Thank you for all that you do.

Elham Khatami
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