We have a great opportunity to include Poland into the Visa Waiver Program in next year’s Congress. It’s more important than ever to speak up in order to make sure your representatives know this is important to you. Fortunately, it’s quite simple and should not take more than 10 minutes of your time. Let’s act together and get this finally done!
- First please read the petition below to become aware of important points surrounding the issue.
- CALL your representative as soon as you can. Your calls need to be answered by a human (as opposed to email collection) and will have a MUCH bigger impact.
- Sign our petition below to have your e-petition signature sent to all members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.
“Together, our voice will be heard!”
To the members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees,
We are petitioning on behalf of ten million strong Polish Americans living in the United States to encourage the 20 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the 40 members of the House Judiciary Committee to move forward legislation that will allow the Republic of Poland to join the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
It is important to stress the enormous contributions and impact that Polish immigrants have made in the United States. From the very inception of British colonial life in America, Poles were active participants at each major turn of American history. Our collaborative efforts go back to the very first settlement of the Jamestown colony established in 1607. Heroic Polish immigrants such as Tadeusz Kościuszko, Kazimierz Pulaski, and scores of others, rushed from distant Poland to come to the aid of General Washington and ultimately helped America gain its independence from England.
Over eleven years ago when the United States was faced with a serious threat of global terrorism, Poland was quick to join the Allied Coalition to fight in Afghanistan and later Iraq without any preconditions. Poland currently has the fifth largest troop contribution in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. To date, 23 Polish soldiers died in Iraq and 36 Polish soldiers have given their lives in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan in an effort to make the region more stable and safeguard the world from terrorism. Despite the sacrifices on behalf of the United States and Poland’s strategic partnership with the United States, Poles still find themselves pleading with the U.S. Government for visas to gain entry into the United States.
Today, Poland’s economy is thriving. In fact, it was the only nation in the European Union to experience growth in its gross domestic product since the beginning of the recession that began in 2008. Ernst & Young pointed out in a 2012 report that “although many countries remain in economic difficulty, Poland, in contrast, is enjoying dynamic growth”. We must emphasize Poland’s economic stability to underscore an important point: Poles are no longer seeking to permanently immigrate to the United States for job opportunities. Instead, they want to come here to do business with American companies, foster cultural and academic exchange, and spend their hard-earned money in the United States as tourists.
Although Poland has been nominated by the U.S. Department of State as a “road map country” for entry into the VWP, headway has slowed in past attempts because Poland is just outside the range for visa denial rates. Visa denial rates, the current standard that the U.S. government employs for prospective VWP countries, has been criticized by many outside organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation, and even the GAO, as ineffective and inaccurate. Bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation has been introduced to reform the VWP criteria, and allow the metric to be based on overstay rates. Currently, Poland has a visa overstay rate of 2.8%, less than the 3% threshold that is called for in the pending legislation. Additionally, according to Ambassador Mull, Poland in 2013 has implemented and adopted all security measures and information-sharing protocols asked of them by the U.S. government. Thus, security concerns relating to Polish citizens should be minimal.
Given the current economic climate, the U.S. should ask itself another question – with the proper security measures in place, how quickly can we give new countries visa waiver approved status? Each admitted VWP country has an extremely positive effect on the U.S. commerce and economy overall. The numbers are staggering – in 2010 more than 17 million visitors to the United States were from VWP countries. These 17 million visitors comprised 65% of all entries from other countries, and their presence added $61 billion to our economy and generated 433,000 new American jobs. In order to extrapolate the magnitude of the economic impact by the admission of Poland to the VWP, let us consider the impact of South Korea, one of the newer VWP entries.
In 2010 alone, the United States saw a 49% rise in tourists from South Korea, which totaled $1.6 billion in tourism receipts and resulted in the creation of 4,800 new U.S. jobs. It is no wonder that the U.S. Tourism industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, over 100 Fortune 500 companies, and many other business oriented organizations support an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program.
The Polish American Leadership Political Action Committee (PAL-PAC) is a bi-partisan political organization that represents the interests of the Polish American community. PAL-PAC, along with hundreds of Polish organizations, and millions of Polish Americans and Poles living here and abroad, have high expectations that under the leadership of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congress will move these commonsense VWP reforms forward in the 113th Congress. These reforms will ultimately allow Poland to join the 37 other countries already a part of the Visa Waiver program, and strengthen the longstanding bond of friendship between United States and Poland. As the United States’ faithful and steadfast NATO ally, Poland desires to do more to contribute the success, safety, and development of the United States. We hope these committees will do everything in their powerw to ensure that Poland’s addition to the VWP comes to fruition. We thank you for your consideration.
|3,619||Michelinan South||Alexandria, VA||Apr 20, 2017|
|3,618||Angelika Jasielec||Palos Hills il||Apr 19, 2017|
|3,617||Shawnee Reid||Venice , Florida||Apr 19, 2017|
|3,616||Evan Sikorski||Plymouth, MN||Apr 17, 2017|
|3,615||Steven Slomkowski||Indio, CA||Apr 10, 2017|
|3,614||Anna Klos||Lodz||Mar 06, 2017|
|3,613||Aneta Lech||Chester, Va||Mar 03, 2017|
|3,612||Sheri Holt||York, PA||Feb 25, 2017|
|3,611||David Rak||Kentucky||Feb 18, 2017|
|3,610||Natalie Cespedes||New York, NY||Feb 02, 2017|
|3,609||Aubrey Kenstler||Sandy, UT||Jan 29, 2017|
|3,608||Clerice Hampton||Salt Lake City, Ut||Jan 28, 2017|
|3,607||Rusty Kuciemba||Woodville, TX||Dec 20, 2016|
|3,606||Alicja Skulimowska||aberdeen,uk||Dec 19, 2016|
|3,605||Cara Kingsley||Phoenix, AZ||Dec 15, 2016|
|3,604||Michael Roach||Bay Village, OH||Dec 05, 2016|
|3,603||Maciej Krawczyk||Round Rock, TX||Nov 08, 2016|
|3,602||Claudia Krawczyk||Round Rock Texas||Nov 07, 2016|
|3,601||Vincent DeVeau||New York, NY||Nov 03, 2016|
|3,600||Barbara Przybylska||Albuquerque, NM||Nov 03, 2016|
|3,599||Brian Palma||Scottsdale Arizona||Jul 31, 2016|
|3,598||Richard Ellsworth||Glenview Il 60025||Jul 29, 2016|
|3,597||Alex Iori||East Rutherford NJ||Jul 23, 2016|
|3,596||Scott Eberting||Missoula, MT||Jul 20, 2016|
|3,595||Joanna Davila||Illinois||Jul 18, 2016|
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