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Queens Chronicle

Senator, Polish envoy meet

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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:42 am, Thu May 30, 2013.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), left, met with Polish Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf last Friday to discuss making Poland eligible for the Visa Waiver Program as part of an immigration reform bill, versions of which are now being considered in Congress. The change would enable Polish citizens to travel to the United States for 90 days or less without visas, something that citizens of all other countries in the eurozone already can do.

“Despite the fact that Poland is a stalwart ally, whose troops fought alongside ours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Poland is one of the only European countries excluded from the visa program that would allow Polish citizens to travel to New York for leisure or business more easily. That needs to change,” Schumer said.

Schnepf gave Schumer Poland’s National Medal of Honor for his work on the issue and support of Polish Americans. The senator’s office said inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program is one of Poland’s top priorities.

Poland’s close ties to the United States go back to the Revolution, when heroes such as Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski, whose names live on today in New York, played key roles in helping free the 13 colonies from Great Britain; and many Queens residents are of Polish descent.

— Peter C. Mastrosimone

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