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SENATOR MARK KIRK: OPEN THE DOOR TO POLISH VISITORS

Publish Date: 
Monday, March 3, 2014
SOURCE: 
Chicago Sun Times

Monday marked the 37th celebration of Pulaski Day in Illinois. Hailed as the father of the American cavalry, General Casimir Pulaski fought alongside George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. His legacy reminds us now, more than 200 years later, of just how important our continued relationship with Poland remains.

This is why I have consistently supported and advocated for Poland’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program. Chicago is home to more than 1 million men, women and children who are citizens of Polish ancestry, the highest concentration of any city in the world outside of Warsaw. Poland remains one of the only allies of the United States excluded from this program — and it’s time for that to change.

The Visa Waiver Program would allow Polish citizens and their families to travel to the United States, visa-free, for a stay of 90 days or less. For the more than 1 million individuals who live in Chicago who have family abroad, this program would remove the red tape many face when traveling internationally to see loved ones. Thirty-seven countries are included in the VWP, and from those countries, more than 17 million people visited the United States in 2010.