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Yesterday, I addressed the Group of Latin American Ambassadors in Washington (GRULA) at the Embassy of Peru to discuss our important security partnership in the Americas and joint efforts to facilitate trade and travel.
Today, more than ever, our relationship with Latin America is focused on partnership. The Department of Homeland Security is committed to collaborating with our Latin American partners to enhance the security of not only the United States, but that of the entire Western hemisphere, while facilitating the movement of goods and people through trusted shipper and trusted traveler programs.
Chile became the 38th participant in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on February 28, 2014. Following Chile’s designation, several Latin American countries have expressed interest in joining the program. DHS views the VWP as much as a security and law enforcement partnership with like-minded countries as well as an opportunity to facilitate travel.
Among these countries is Peru, which DHS has been working with extensively, both bilaterally and through multilateral organizations, to reaffirm our shared interest in facilitating the flow of people and goods between our two countries while protecting our citizens from the threats posed by terrorism and transnational crime. Recognizing Peru’s desire to be designated as a participant in the VWP and the complexity of the qualifying process and the many requirements, DHS and the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Relations intend to consult closely and to take the necessary steps that would enable Peru to meet the requirements for VWP designation.