July 15, 2019

Congress Members Call for Israeli Visitors to Have Easier Entry Into US

An officer with the US Customs and Border Protection demonstrates a new arrivals processing kiosk at Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, August 24, 2009. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Two Congress members called on the Department of Homeland Security to admit Israel into a program that allows some of its visitors expedited entry into the United States.

Reps. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Brian Mast, R-Fla., sent a letter Wednesday to the acting Homeland Security secretary, Kevin McAleenan, urging him to admit the Jewish state into the Global Entry program for “pre-approved, low-risk travelers.”

“Israel’s full participation in this program would grow the U.S. economy, strengthen national security at each of our borders, and increase opportunities for people-to-people exchange, which bolsters our already unique bilateral relationship,” the letter reads.

Israel has been participating in a limited pilot version of the program since 2012. In March, all 100 members of the Senate signed a letter urging the Department of Homeland Security to expedite Israel’s full membership into the program.

Thirteen countries participate in the program: Australia, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, the Netherlands, Panama, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Switzerland, Argentina and India.