EU Parliament votes to impose visa requirements on US citizens

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The EU Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday directing the EU Commission  to take measures to temporarily reintroduce visa requirements for US and other nationals whose countries still do not grant visa-free access to nationals of five EU countries—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. The parliament wants the Commission to set a one-year suspension for the US within two months.

The Parliament has particularly taken issue with the fact that there is no reciprocity from the US. The EU Commission contacted the US with a notice of non-reciprocity concerning the five countries in April 2014, and according to its rules, the Commission should have already taken action last April after the expiry of 24 months since notification. The four other countries the EU Commission notified in April 2014 are Australia, Brunei, Canada, and Japan—three of these four have already lifted visa requirements since then while Canada has announced [press release] its intention to do so by the end of the year.

US immigration law continues to be a controversial and heavily politicized area of law at both the state and federal levels. President Trump’s immigration policies have signaled a significant change from other Post-WWII Presidents. Experts have said that his Muslim ban violates the Constitution. In October the Supreme Court denied a petition to rehear United States v. Texas, a case challenging the Obama administration’s policies supporting deferred action which would permit around 4 million immigrants to legally remain and continue working in the US.

In September the Ninth Circuit ruled that children facing deportation proceedings may not file a class action suit to determine whether they are entitled to an attorney as a due process right. In September 2015 the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a report criticizing the Obama administration’s immigration detention facilities, stating that some “are not fully complying with detention standards regarding medical care, legal information and other basic standards of treatment.” In August 2015 a California judge upheld her July decision and ordered the government to release immigrant children held in family detention centers, “without necessary delay.”