A new campaign by the U.S. Travel Association is highlighting the negative aspects of coming to America.
Yes, the negative aspects.
In a move to catch the attention of lawmakers, the pro-travel group created a website that features international travelers’ views on the United States entry process. Over the past four weeks, foreign visitors were interviewed immediately after entering America at a handful of airports. Travelers were complimentary of Customs and Border Patrol officers, but were concerned by the lack of available staffing to process visitors.
The interviews can be seen on travelersvoice.org.
The website was released as the U.S. Travel Association is in the midst of fighting against the Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013 while advocating for the national immigration reform bill. The former aims to institute spending limits and transparency requirements for federal conference and travel spending, while the latter provides for additional customs officers and reducing average wait times at high-volume international airports.
“Travel for meetings and events is a proven tool to help government employees do their jobs more effectively, which in turn benefits American taxpayers. Travel is a tool of productivity, which federal policies should support, not undercut,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement.
The association recently commissioned a survey from Consensus Research Group that found overseas travelers are avoiding visiting the United States due to often lengthy lines and delays at customs.
“Federal agencies are already adhering to stringent guidelines put in place last year by Congress and the Administration to prevent unethical spending on government conferences. This is a bill in search of problem that has already been addressed,” Dow said.
The GSA Act passed the House July 31 and moves to the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives is just beginning its work on immigration reform, which already passed in the Senate.
“I applaud the Senate for their actions to improve the entry process and urge the House to address the wait time delays we are hearing about first-hand from international travelers,” Dow said.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.