AHEPA Meets with Homeland Security;
Applauds Administration's Designation of Greece as a Visa Waiver Program Nation
WASHINGTON - The leading membership-based association for the nation's three million American citizens of Greek heritage, and countless Philhellenes, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), applauds today's news that Greece has been designated a member of the United States' Visa Waiver Program, announced National President Nicholas A. Karacostas following his meeting today with officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"This is exciting and welcomed news," Karacostas said. "Greece has worked extremely hard to meet, and in some cases exceed, the United States' rigid visa waiver program criteria. We also thank the efforts of officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and our champions on Capitol Hill, especially the Hellenic Caucus, for working ceaselessly to see this process through to its proper completion."
He continued, "Greece's entry is a source of pride for the American Hellenic community. Now our relatives can visit us at a moment's notice if needed, commerce will flourish, and tourism to the United States will increase. Today, the long-standing strategic partnership between the United States and Greece becomes even stronger."
Greece's entry into the Visa Waiver Program is a significant initiative championed by AHEPA because of the organization's historical role as a bridge between the United States and Greece for 88 years. Since January 2006, AHEPA worked with Congress to introduce legislation that designates Greece as a visa waiver nation, and hosted a public policy forum with leading administration, congressional, and policy experts to create awareness of the subject. Moreover, AHEPA worked with the Departments of State and Homeland Security to present the position of the American Hellenic community on the issue.