Trump approves Poland's entry to visa waiver program

Trump approves Poland's entry to visa waiver program
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE on Friday said he has approved granting Poland access to the State Department's Visa Waiver Program, making it easier for Polish citizens to travel to the United States.

Trump told reporters outside the White House that he had signed off on "preliminary" paperwork and would soon finalize the agreement with Poland. He had teased the announcement last week during a United Nations meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

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"They’ve been trying to get this for many, many decades, and I got it for the Polish people, in honor of the Polish people in the United States and in Poland," Trump said.

Under the waiver program, citizens of participating countries are able to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa. Poland has long sought to gain access to the program.

Thirty-eight countries are participating in the visa waiver program, including several close U.S. allies like France, Germany, Australia, Sweden and Japan.

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamWhite House vows to appeal ruling blocking use of military funds for border wall On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday Trump, White House rip Democrats over impeachment articles MORE said in a statement Friday that the Department of Homeland Security will assess Poland's entry into the visa waiver program now that Trump has given his approval.

"The bilateral relationship between the United States and Poland has never been stronger, and this would serve as a remarkable accomplishment for both countries," she said.

Trump was previously scheduled to travel to Poland in late August, where the waiver program was expected to be a point of discussion. He canceled that trip to monitor Hurricane Dorian, but met with Duda last week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Trump said at the time that the two countries had to work out the visa waiver agreement "structurally," but that he expected it to come together quickly.

Poland and the U.S. have brokered an increased partnership on defense matters in recent months, with the U.S. agreeing to send additional troops to the country and Poland purchasing U.S. military equipment. Duda has joked that a new military installation there could be named "Fort Trump."

--Updated at 11:54 a.m.