Removing Burma From the Guam Visa Waiver Program

 [Federal Register: January 3, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 2)] [Rules and Regulations]                [Page 235-236] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:fr03ja01-4]                           ======================================================================= -----------------------------------------------------------------------  DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE  Immigration and Naturalization Service  8 CFR Part 212  [INS No. 2099-00] RIN 1115-AF95    Removing Burma From the Guam Visa Waiver Program  AGENCY: Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.  ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.  -----------------------------------------------------------------------  SUMMARY: The Guam Visa Waiver Program (GVWP) waives the nonimmigrant  visa requirement for nationals of certain countries, including Burma  (internationally recognized as Union of Myanmar), who apply for  admission as a nonimmigrant visitor for business or pleasure for the  sole purpose of visiting Guam for a period not exceeding 15 days. This  rule will remove Burma from the list of countries authorized to  participate in the GVWP without significantly restricting legitimate  travel to Guam. This action is necessary to protect the United States'  law enforcement and national security interests.  DATES: Effective Date: This interim rule is effective January 10, 2001.     Comment Date: Written comments must be submitted on or before March  5, 2001.  ADDRESSES: Please submit written comments, in triplicate, to the  Director, Policy Directives and Instructions Branch, Immigration and  Naturalization Service, 425 I Street, NW, Room 4034, Washington, DC  20536. To ensure proper handling, please reference INS No. 2099-00 on  your correspondence. Comments are available for public inspection at  the above address by calling (202) 514-3048 to arrange for an  appointment.  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marty Newingham, Assistant Chief  Inspector, Inspections Division, Immigration and Naturalization  Service, 425 I Street NW, Room 4064, Washington, DC 20536, telephone  number: (202) 616-7992.  SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  What Is the GVWP?      The GVWP waives the nonimmigrant visa requirement for certain  aliens who apply for admission as a nonimmigrant visitor for business  or pleasure for the sole purpose of visiting Guam for a period not  exceeding 15 days.     The Omnibus Territories Act of 1986, Public Law 99-396, provided  statutory authority to implement the GVWP. On December 18, 1987, the  Immigration and Naturalization Service (Service) published a final rule  in the Federal Register at 52 FR 48082, implementing the provisions of  Public Law 99-396. The final rule also designated several countries  including Burma to the list of countries authorized to participate in  the GVWP.  What Are The Requirements for Initial GVWP Participation?      For a country to participate in the GVWP:      The Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Secretary of  Interior, acting jointly, after consultation with the Governor of Guam,  must designate the country for the GVWP.      The waiver of a nonimmigrant visa must pose no threat to  the welfare, safety, or security of the United States, its territories,  or commonwealths.      The country must have a nonimmigrant visa refusal rate of  16.9 percent or less or have an established pre-inspection or pre- clearance program pursuant to a bilateral agreement with the United  States.      The country must be in geographical proximity to Guam,  unless the country has a substantial volume of nonimmigrant travel to  Guam and extends reciprocal privileges to citizens of the United  States.      The Department of State must not have designated the  country as being of special humanitarian concern.  What Are The Requirements for Removing a Country From Participation  in the GVWP?      The Commissioner shall immediately remove a country from the GVWP  if she determines that the program country poses a potential threat to  the welfare, safety, or security of the United States (including  enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States).  Why Is the Service Removing Burma From the List of Authorized GVWP  Countries With This Interim Rule?       The Service has consulted with the Department of Justice,  the Department of State, the Department of Interior, and the Governor  of Guam and determined that Burma no longer meets the eligibility  requirements for participating in the GVWP.      Although Congress intended to limit the GVWP to short-term  visitors to Guam, recently, the Agana Port-of-Entry has experienced an  increasing number of Burmese GVWP applicants for admission who seek to  remain permanently in the United States. Consequently, the Service has  expended disproportionate resources in order to process Burmese  travelers to Guam. These expenditures have created significant  obstacles for the orderly enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws in  Guam, including extended wait times for arriving travelers seeking to  enter Guam.      The refusal rate for Burmese applicants for visitors visas  exceeded 40 percent over the last 4 years (1996-1999).      The United States has not established a pre-inspection or  pre-clearance program in Burma.      Burma is a country in economic and political turmoil.      Despite multiparty elections in 1990 that resulted in a  decisive victory for the main opposition party, the military junta  ruling Burma has refused to relinquish power.      Burma lacks the will and ability to effectively  participate in the anti-drug effort.  Good Cause Exception      This interim rule is effective January 10, 2001, although the  Service invites post-promulgation comments and will address any such  comments in a final rule. The Service finds that good cause exists for  adopting this rule without the prior notice and comment period  ordinarily required by 5 U.S.C. 553. Section 212.1(e)(2) of the  Service's    existing regulations provides that the Commissioner will immediately  remove a country from the GVWP if she determines that the country poses  a potential threat to the welfare, safety, or security of the United  States, its territories, or commonwealths. As stated in the  supplemental portion of this rule the Commissioner has made such a  determination in the case of Burma. It would be contrary to the public  interest to allow such a potential threat to continue for the prior  notice and comment period normally required under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)  and (d)(3). The United States' law enforcement and national security  concerns outweigh the interests of Burma nationals in having the  nonimmigrant visa requirement waived under the GVWP.     The Service adopts this rule with a 7 day delayed effective date.  The delayed effective date is to provide some flexibility for nationals  of Burma who have already made plans to travel to Guam.     Burma nationals who have made travel plans in advance of 7 days,  will still be able to travel to Guam as nonimmigrant visitors, but they  will need to obtain an appropriate visa to do so.  Regulatory Flexibility Act      The Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, in  accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has  reviewed this regulation and, by approving it, certifies that this rule  will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of  small entities. After January 10, 2001. Burmese nationals who wish to  travel to Guam temporarily for legitimate business or pleasure purposes  will still be permitted to visit Guam, if, prior to their journey, they  acquire a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate. This rule  furthers the law enforcement and national security interests of the  United States without significantly restricting legitimate travel to  Guam. It does not affect small entities as that term is defined in 5  U.S.C. 601(6).  Executive Order 12866      This rule is not considered by the Department of Justice,  Immigration and Naturalization Service, to be a ``significant  regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f),  Regulatory Planning and Review, and the Office of Management and Budget  has waived its review process under section 6(a)(3)(A).  Executive Order 13132      This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States,  on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or  on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various  levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of  Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have  sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a  federalism summary impact statement.  Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995      This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local and  tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100  million or more in any one-year, and it will not significantly or  uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed  necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of  1995.  Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996      This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the  Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not  result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a  major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on  competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on  the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign- based companies in domestic and export markets.  Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform      This final rule meets the applicable standards set forth in  sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.  List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 212      Administrative practice and procedure, Aliens, Immigration,  Passports and visas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.      Accordingly, part 212 of chapter I of title 8 of the Code of  Federal Regulations is amended as follows:  PART 212--DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS: NONIMMIGRANTS; WAIVERS;  ADMISSION OF CERTAIN INADMISSIBLE ALIENS; PAROLE      1. The authority citation for part 212 is revised to read as  follows:      Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101, 1102, 1103, 1182, 1184, 1187, 1225,  1226, 1227; 8 CFR part 2.   Sec. 212.1   [Amended]      2. Section 212.1 is amended by:     a. Removing the country ``Burma,'' from the first sentence in  paragraph (e)(3)(i).      Dated: November 30, 2000. Mary Ann Wyrsch, Acting Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service. [FR Doc. 01-55 Filed 1-2-01; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-10-M  
Updated January 13, 2015