H. R. 6130
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 13, 2012
Ms. Hochul introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To require priority visa processing for visitors to National Heritage Areas or National Parks, to invest in communities hosting these national treasures, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
National Treasure Promotion and Investment Act of
Findings; Sense of Congress
Congress finds the following:
The United States is blessed with natural and historic treasures, including 58 National Parks and 49 National Heritage Areas.
The liberty, beauty, and history of the United States draw visitors from every corner of the world.
Over 62 million international travelers visited the United States in 2011.
The average overseas traveler spends approximately $4,300 during his or her stay in the United States.
Wait times for travel visas can exceed 100 days and deter tourists from visiting the United States, supporting its economy, and learning about its culture and heritage.
The Department of State collects visa issuance fees from nonimmigrant visa applicants from countries that levy excessive visa fees on United States citizens.
Visa issuance fees generated over $28 million in revenue in 2011 and are not required to cover Department of State expenses.
Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that—
the maintenance of infrastructure in communities hosting National Parks and National Heritage Areas is important to the safety of residents and visitors to such communities; and
visa issuance fees should be invested in the maintenance of such infrastructure in such communities, which draw visitors from across the globe.
Prioritization of certain visas
In issuing visas under section 101(a)(15)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(B)) to applicants seeking to visit the United States temporarily for pleasure, a consular officer (as defined in section 101(a)(9) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(9))) shall give priority to applicants intending to visit a National Heritage Area or National Park.
Transportation infrastructure in communities hosting national treasures
Transportation infrastructure grants
The Secretary of Transportation shall make grants to support infrastructure projects—
in communities hosting National Heritage Areas or National Parks;
that have been prioritized for completion by an applicable metropolitan planning organization (as defined in section 134(b) of title 23, United States Code); and
that are determined beneficial to the upkeep of roads or bridges utilized by international visitors drawn to these regions.
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out subsection (a) for a fiscal year the total amount of all nonimmigrant visa issuance fees collected by the Secretary of State during the prior fiscal year.