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White House Responds to Petition for Ukrainian Visitor Visa Access

by Mark Davis on November 11, 2014

Earlier this year I asked the men of the Tribe in the US to respond to a petition at the White House to allow Ukrainian citizens to visit the US for 90-days on just a passport the same way we are able to visit Ukraine with just a passport.

This was an official petition and the president is obligated to submit all petitions that receive at least 100,000 signatures within 30-days to the appropriate Congressional review committees for full consideration.

I know many of you have been asking what ever happened to the petition since it was done this last March.  Today we received the response from the White House.  In essence they are saying Ukraine doesn’t meet the standards required for this type of simple access, but it also does not say what those requirements are.

We’re disappointed by this response, but hope that Ukraine will soon meet the requirements needed so my wife’s family – and your future families – can find it easier to come and go.

Mark

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe December 11, 2014 at 2:45 am

I wrote back and told them if they are going to allow 10 million illegals to stay in USA, then they should allow a 90 visa to Ukrainians. I also told them this current a admin is a disgrace and a joke to the USA:) These clowns have to go:):)

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Erik December 11, 2014 at 5:49 pm

FYI on those requirements. From http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1187

(2) Qualifications
Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, a country may not be designated as a program country unless the following requirements are met:

(A) Low nonimmigrant visa refusal rate
Either—

(i)the average number of refusals of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country during—
(I)the two previous full fiscal years was less than 2.0 percent of the total number of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country which were granted or refused during those years; and

(II)either of such two previous full fiscal years was less than 2.5 percent of the total number of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country which were granted or refused during that year; or

(ii)such refusal rate for nationals of that country during the previous full fiscal year was less than 3.0 percent.

(B) Machine readable passport program
(i)In general Subject to clause (ii), the government of the country certifies that it issues to its citizens machine-readable passports that satisfy the internationally accepted standard for machine readability.

(ii)Deadline for compliance for certain countries In the case of a country designated as a program country under this subsection prior to May 1, 2000, as a condition on the continuation of that designation, the country—
(I)shall certify, not later than October 1, 2000, that it has a program to issue machine-readable passports to its citizens not later than October 1, 2003; and

(II)shall satisfy the requirement of clause (i) not later than October 1, 2003.

(C) Law enforcement and security interests
The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State—

(i)evaluates the effect that the country’s designation would have on the law enforcement and security interests of the United States (including the interest in enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States and the existence and effectiveness of its agreements and procedures for extraditing to the United States individuals, including its own nationals, who commit crimes that violate United States law);

(ii)determines that such interests would not be compromised by the designation of the country; and

(iii)submits a written report to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate regarding the country’s qualification for designation that includes an explanation of such determination.

(D) Reporting lost and stolen passports
The government of the country enters into an agreement with the United States to report, or make available through Interpol or other means as designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to the United States Government information about the theft or loss of passports within a strict time limit and in a manner specified in the agreement.

(E) Repatriation of aliens
The government of the country accepts for repatriation any citizen, former citizen, or national of the country against whom a final executable order of removal is issued not later than three weeks after the issuance of the final order of removal. Nothing in this subparagraph creates any duty for the United States or any right for any alien with respect to removal or release. Nothing in this subparagraph gives rise to any cause of action or claim under this paragraph or any other law against any official of the United States or of any State to compel the release, removal, or consideration for release or removal of any alien.

(F) Passenger information exchange
The government of the country enters into an agreement with the United States to share information regarding whether citizens and nationals of that country traveling to the United States represent a threat to the security or welfare of the United States or its citizens.

(3) Continuing and subsequent qualifications
For each fiscal year after the initial period—

(A) Continuing qualification
In the case of a country which was a program country in the previous fiscal year, a country may not be designated as a program country unless the sum of—

(i)the total of the number of nationals of that country who were denied admission at the time of arrival or withdrew their application for admission during such previous fiscal year as a nonimmigrant visitor, and

(ii)the total number of nationals of that country who were admitted as nonimmigrant visitors during such previous fiscal year and who violated the terms of such admission,

was less than 2 percent of the total number of nationals of that country who applied for admission as nonimmigrant visitors during such previous fiscal year.

(B) New countries
In the case of another country, the country may not be designated as a program country unless the following requirements are met:

(i)Low nonimmigrant visa refusal rate in previous 2-year period The average number of refusals of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country during the two previous full fiscal years was less than 2 percent of the total number of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country which were granted or refused during those years.

(ii)Low nonimmigrant visa refusal rate in each of the 2 previous years The average number of refusals of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country during either of such two previous full fiscal years was less than 2.5 percent of the total number of nonimmigrant visitor visas for nationals of that country which were granted or refused during that year.

(4) Initial period
For purposes of paragraphs (2) and (3), the term “initial period” means the period beginning at the end of the 30-day period described in subsection (b)(1) of this section and ending on the last day of the first fiscal year which begins after such 30-day period.

(5) Written reports on continuing qualification; designation terminations
(A) Periodic evaluations
(i)In general The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, periodically (but not less than once every 2 years)—
(I)shall evaluate the effect of each program country’s continued designation on the law enforcement and security interests of the United States (including the interest in enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States and the existence and effectiveness of its agreements and procedures for extraditing to the United States individuals, including its own nationals, who commit crimes that violate United States law);

(II)shall determine, based upon the evaluation in subclause (I), whether any such designation ought to be continued or terminated under subsection (d) of this section;

(III)shall submit a written report to the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Homeland Security, of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate regarding the continuation or termination of the country’s designation that includes an explanation of such determination and the effects described in subclause (I); and

(IV)shall submit to Congress a report regarding the implementation of the electronic travel authorization system under subsection (h)(3) and the participation of new countries in the program through a waiver under paragraph (8).

(ii)Effective date A termination of the designation of a country under this subparagraph shall take effect on the date determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State.

(iii)Redesignation In the case of a termination under this subparagraph, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall redesignate the country as a program country, without regard to subsection (f) of this section or paragraph (2) or (3), when the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, determines that all causes of the termination have been eliminated.

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Erik December 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm

So bottom line is that until Ukraine makes the necessary changes to their passport program and other systems, which I understand they are initiating now, and demonstrates a history of low rejections of regular visas they will not be eligable to be a program country. However, they are aggressively persuing an agenda to be admitted into the EU. Once this happens I think it will only be a matter time until they could be a “program country”. But unfortunately I think it will be years from that happening. The job at hand of improving the government of Ukraine has to be overwhelming. I admire these people that are stepping up and taking on this challenge during very difficult times.

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Erik December 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm

One last note and I’ll quit on this subject. Ukraine’s visa rejection rate for the US is around 27% so they’re quite a bit out of line with the requirements for admittance. Countries that are now under consideration already have their rates down in the range of 2-3%.

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Bernie December 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

Mark,

I understand your frustration. The bottom line is that the so called “standards required,” will change on a regular basis that is dependent on political needs. In the past several months, I have written two letters to the White House. And yes, I did receive two boiler plate replies that towed the political line in a very fluent manner. Unless your company has millions of dollars to spend on political campaign contributions, don’t expect too much in the way of change.

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