[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]                         

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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.

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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

[[Page 236]]

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]
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