Press Release

DHS official fails to answer Rep. Jordan’s visa waiver questions

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Washington, December 10, 2015 | Darin Miller (202-225-2676) | comments

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) co-chaired a joint subcommittee hearing today titled “Terrorism and the Visa Waiver Program” with Chairman Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) and his Subcommittee on National Security.

During the hearing, Rep. Jordan questioned Kelli Ann Burriesci, a deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, about the number of visa waiver overstays in the U.S. and the number of individuals who traveled to Syria before using the visa waiver program. Burriesci was unable to answer his questions during the hearing.

Rep. Jordan responded:

“Ms. Burriesci, I’ve asked you the number of Americans that have traveled to Syria – you don’t know; the number of Americans that may have traveled and returned – you don’t know; the number of Syrian refugees who have entered the country in the last year – you don’t know; the number of Visa Waiver Program overstays – you don’t know; the number of visa waiver overstays who may have been to Syria before they came here – you don’t know; and the number of American citizens on the no-fly list – and you don’t know.”

After the hearing Rep. Jordan said:

“The American people are rightly concerned about two issues right now – our nation’s visa waiver program and our Syrian refugee program. I’m frustrated that the Homeland Security official in charge of screening people coming to our country was unable to answer any of my questions about either program. Congress has a responsibility to use the Omnibus to pass legislation that addresses these issues – particularly pausing our Syrian refugee program until we can be sure that terrorists are not exploiting it.”

Along with Burriesci, Brian Michael Jenkins, president of the RAND Corporation; Janice Kephart, a director at MorphoTrak, LLC; and Ken Gude, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, served as witnesses.

VIDEO of Rep. Jordan Q/A with Deputy Assistant Secretary Burriesci: https://youtu.be/DMndPRF6V8o

PICTURE of Rep. Jordan during the hearing: https://flic.kr/p/B5Ybnk

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