Congress, administration spar over Israeli visas

Associated Press + More

By BRADLEY KLAPPER and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration and Congress could be on a collision course within weeks over legislation to let Israelis enter the U.S. without a visa but not demand the exact same treatment for Americans wishing to travel to Israel.

Supporters hope to get approval from the House Foreign Affairs Committee before Congress takes a break in August. California Democrat Barbara Boxer is pushing a similar bill in the Senate.

The bills would add Israel to a reciprocal visa waiver program the U.S. has with 37 other countries. Their citizens are allowed to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa, and Americans can in turn visit those nations without visas.

Critics contend that Israeli border officials disproportionally single out, detain or deny entry to Arab and Muslim Americans.

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