United Hatzalah program honors our survivors, war veterans with specialized medical care
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States and Israel are creating a working group to help Israel advance toward joining the visa waiver program. “This is a goal of both the United States and Israel, and it would make travel easier for citizens of both countries,” Julia Frifield, the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, said in a letter sent Thursday to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
The Department of Homeland Security is also part of the working group, Frifield said.
The letter was the first indication that the U.S. government is dedicating resources to facilitate Israel’s entry to the program, which allows travel without pre-arranged visas.
Two major obstacles have kept Israel from joining the program: Allegations by U.S. officials that Israel has discriminated against Arab- and Muslim-Americans seeking entry, and a proliferation of young Israelis traveling to the United States as tourists and then working illegally.
The maximum visa rejection rate for entry into the program is 3 percent, and Israel’s is at 9.7 percent, spiking up from a 6 percent average in recent years.
The letter from Frifield to Lowey outlined measures that would address concerns about visas denied because of suspicions that applicants planned to seek illegal employment, but did not touch the issue of discrimination, although State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki raised it last month, saying it was a core issue.
Among the measures outlined by Frifield in her letter were a review of practices affecting Israelis aged 21-26 who want to travel to the United States, more education about how best to obtain visas for such travel and expanding cultural exchange programs for young Israelis. Frifield said the State Department had reviewed the visa refusal rate for Israelis aged 21-26 and found it had doubled from 16 percent to 32 percent in 2013. She said the main factor in the increase was Israelis seeking work illegally and noted the visa approval rate for that age group was nonetheless relatively high.
“We know that despite a two-thirds approval rate, this increase has led to a perception by some that young Israelis are unwelcome to travel in the United States,” Frifield said. “Clearly that is not the case. Israel is one of our closest friends and allies.”
Lowey, who with other lawmakers led demands for a review of the visa rejection rate for young Israelis, praised the measures outlined by Frifield.
“I am pleased Embassy Tel Aviv and the State Department will undertake this full review of visa policies and have committed to making it easier — not more difficult — for young Israelis to travel to the United States,” she said in a statement.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The wannabe terrorist wanted to be arrested more than he actually wanted to stab the soldier.
Israeli workers raise a large Star of David (Magen David) onto the “Harp Bridge” at the entrance of Jerusalem on April 17, 2015, in honor of Israel’s upcoming Israel’s Memorial Day and the 67th Independence Day. Israel will mark its 67th Independence Day on April 22, 2015.
First thwarted at the Israeli polls, now V15 funder’s “healthy” bars are also losers.
The EU wants to label Settler products. Liberman want to remind them of the last time they labeled Jews.
A pro-BDS professor at Sydney University may face disciplinary action over his conduct at lecture where anti-Israelis disrupted a speech by retired British Col. Richard Kemp, who has often praised the IDF for its morality while fighting terror. The university issued a “show cause” letter to Prof. Jake Lynch, according to The Australian. Jewish students […]
Liberman is adamantly insisting on receiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but Netanyahu wants Liberman to step back and take something else.
The teacher could face three years in jail for displaying Nazi symbols, which includes singing Nazi songs.
Ministerial distributions are starting to firm up, but Bennett reportedly has a new demand.
Egypt’s clampdown on tunnel has left Gazans without popular and addictive drug that helps them forget their misery.
“Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are.”
12 Christian Africans ‘thrown overboard’ by Muslim African migrants
The rock under the mosaic floor that was damaged is the foundation where the two Holy Temples stood.
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry calls the Shoah “the most painful and horrific chapter in human history.”
Thousands paid their respects to Shalom Yochai Sherki, 25, who succumbed on Thursday morning to injuries he received when a car that slammed into a bus stop he was standing near.
More than 20 cars and buildings in a Jewish community in north London were vandalized with swastikas. The Nazi symbol was drawn on approximately 27 cars in the Osbaldeston Road area of Stoke Newington on Sunday night, The Daily Mail reported. An unnamed 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the vandalism Tuesday. The neighborhood […]
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on the Jewish community to attend the funeral of an assassinated New York police officer. “The brave men and women of the NYPD risk their lives every day to protect us. We value them and stand with them,” Hikind, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, said in a statement […]
“Move Jew” scrawled on a Philadelphia home and slurs written on a synagogue and 10 garages in Chicago.
Cuba has “the largest pool of untapped baseball talent in the world, and Major League Baseball may tap and leave Cuba dry.
Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson under a […]
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/u-s-israel-teaming-to-push-israel-into-visa-waiver-program/2014/04/18/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: