U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Friday threatened to use congressional appropriations to block funding for a U.S. visa waiver program for Chile, blaming rising criminal activity in the United States on the program.
At a news conference in Santa Ana, California, McCarthy called on U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to suspend the program, a step that would allow law enforcement officials to run criminal background checks on those who have entered the country.
McCarthy, a California Republican said the appropriations will not allow Mayorkas “to use money when it comes to Chile for the visa waiver program until this issue is solved.”
“If he will not act, we will take that action in the next two weeks inside our appropriations.”
McCarthy said people entering the United States through the program have joined organized crime organizations that he said have carried out raids on homes and businesses in California and elsewhere.
He accused Mayorkas of failing to take action to address the problem.
Both Republicans and Democrats have recently raised concerns about the program and its impact on crime.
Representative Lou Correa, a Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, called on Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take steps to prevent the program from fueling criminal activity.
“I am concerned that some citizens of Chile are abusing the visa waiver program to commit burglaries throughout the United States, including in my district in Orange County,” Correa said in a statement on Thursday.
Source : usnews