June 16, 2023


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Representatives Lou Correa (CA-46), Ranking Member of the House Border Security and Enforcement Subcommittee, and Mike Levin (CA-49) sent a letter to the Ambassador of Chile to the United States, Juan Gabriel Valdés, regarding the country’s participation in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and related issues regarding burglary tourism.

The letter raises concerns about the rise of burglary tourism in Orange County and its connection to Chilean nationals entering the United States through the VWP. The VWP allows citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel.

Qualifying VWP countries must meet certain criteria to be eligible for participation, including requirements that participants share specified information regarding nationals of the country who pose a threat to U.S security, and refrain from compromising the law enforcement or security interests of the United States. Countries can be terminated from the VWP for failing to meet requirements or otherwise presenting a threat to U.S. security or immigration interests.

“We ask you to provide us with the steps that Chile will take to meet the information-sharing requirements and agreements immediately,” the members wrote. “We understand and value the cultural and economic ties our country has with Chile. At the same time, we must ensure the safety and protection of our communities.”

The letter emphasizes Southern California burglaries and other related crimes committed by individuals entering the United States under the VWP have been increasing. According to the Orange County (OC) District Attorney’s office, 14 Chilean nationals have been charged with burglaries and other crimes in the last year after entering the U.S. under the VWP. The letter urges the Chilean Ambassador to take proactive steps to meet the information-sharing requirements under the VWP, and stresses that if action is not taken, Chile may be suspended or terminated from the VWP.

You can read the full letter text HERE.