Conyers & Lofgren call for formal guidance on dual national provisions of Visa Waiver law

February 10, 2016
Blog Post

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, released a new letter calling for formal guidance related to the dual national provisions of the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

The letter applauds the Administration's recently issued guidance on implementation of statutory waivers as "a common sense approach," and urges publication of guidance on implementation of the dual national provisions as soon as practicable.

"With respect to the dual national provisions, the legislation never sanctioned discrimination against Americans based on heritage, but Iranian-Americans and others have expressed concern that the new law will result in disparate treatment because of ancestry," the letter reads. "While we have received assurances from senior officials in both [the Departments of Homeland Security and State] that the new law will not rely on the laws of other countries to dictate what constitutes dual citizenship or nationality, it is critical that formal guidance be published to address concerns from the potentially affected communities."

The lawmakers also recommend "an additional category for VWP exemption for travel to Iran: academic oriented travel," citing the potential to foster closer ties between international scholars and Iranian academics as a means to "open Iran's closed society and ultimately help Iran rejoin the community of nations."

A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.