March 1, 2009 (Washington, DC -- Congressman Bob Filner has re-introduced H.R. 937, the Visitors Interested in Strengthening America (VISA) Act. The bill gives Port Directors the discretion to issue humanitarian visa waivers to Mexican children making brief, pre-scheduled visits to the United States for medical, educational or recreational purposes. This legislation does not affect the number of legal or illegal immigrants living in the United States - the children and accompanying adults will visit for one day and then return home to Mexico.
“Turning away school field trips and kids with specialized medical appointments does not give us the secure and efficient border we need,” said Filner. “This bill reflects our country’s friendly bi-national relationship with Mexico and makes our federal law compatible with the reality of daily life in border communities.” Since September 11, 2001, Port Directors have stopped issuing these visa waivers. As a result, children have been blocked from receiving specialized medical attention, participating in educational exchanges between border schools, and taking field trips to tourist sites across the border.