|Congressman Rahm Emanuel's Statement on the Visit of Poland’s President Kwasniewski |
1/29/2004 - WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) released the following statement in response to President Bush’s comments on admitting Poland into the Visa Waiver Program.
“President Bush’s comments today about setting up a study group to examine the visa waiver program mean very little to our Polish friends. Poland is a first-class friend and should not be treated as a second-class citizen. I also disagree with President Bush's statement regarding Congressional authority over the Visa Waiver Program. In fact, that authority lies with the Department of State.
As I have written several times to Secretary of State Colin Powell, we should include Poland in the Visa Waiver Program as a measure of gratitude for its steadfast support for U.S. foreign policy objectives, for remaining our steady ally and advocate in Europe, and for its contributions and sacrifices in Iraq and the global war against terrorism.
There are 765,000 Polish Americans who live in the Chicago metro area, 111,000 of whom are my constituents, and more than 8.2 million across the country. All will benefit tremendously from the visa waiver by maintaining closer ties to their families and friends. I urge the President to reconsider.”