President Obama’s recent trip to Disney World provided some much-needed good news for immigrants in the United States.
Obama used Disney World as his venue to sign an executive order that will benefit Chinese and Brazilian applicants for U.S. visas. While the order is most directly aimed at increasing the turnaround in processing for tourist visas from the two countries, the order also aims to speed up the U.S. visa process by waiving the interview requirement for thousands of low-risk applicants from the two countries. Demand for visas is particularly high in these two nations.
Obama signed the order after potential visitors from both Brazil and China have opted to exclude the United States from their travel plans due to historically long delays in the visa process. In the past, travelers from both countries have had to wait weeks for a U.S. tourist visa, while many countries in Europe have a less than 24-hour turnaround for tourist visas.
Proponents of the idea included the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Travel Association, which believe that reduced visa wait times for China and Brazil could greatly bolster economic recovery in the U.S, according to a blog post from The Hill.
The visa system changes are part of the White House’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative, designed to create and support U.S. jobs related to international travel. Another “We Can’t Wait” job creation measure was announced earlier in January. Several private companies and other organizations have committed to providing about 180,000 youth employment opportunities during the summer of 2012.
“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job,” said Obama. “It’s important for their future, and for America’s.”