U.S. Lawmakers Ask Biden to Make Travel Easier From Taiwan

A group of nine lawmakers asked the Biden administration to establish a facility to expedite travel to the U.S. from Taiwan’s main international airport, a show of support for the island amid fear it could be targeted by an increasingly aggressive China.

The group of seven Republicans and two Democrats said in a letter dated March 25 that a pre-clearance facility at Taoyuan International Airport “would improve the ease of travel between the United States and Taiwan and reinforce the importance of our relationship with Taiwan.”

The airport “already hosts numerous non-stop flights to the United States, and is a major transit point in Asia,” the lawmakers wrote to Troy Miller, the senior official performing the duties of the commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“Taiwan is America’s ninth-largest trading partner and its government strongly supports Taoyuan airport’s bid for the pre-clearance facility program,” they added. Among those who signed the letter were Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida, Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan and Republican Representative Jim Banks of Indiana.

Pre-clearance facilities put U.S. customs agents in a traveler’s starting country to make entry into the U.S. go more smoothly. Former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in a speech in December that Taiwan had made the request, and a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said Friday that the administration is still evaluating Taiwan’s request.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have focused on Taiwan as a potential flashpoint as tension heats up with China, which claims full sovereignty over the island.

In a Senate hearing this week, Admiral John Aquilino, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said the “most dangerous concern” is the potential use of military force against Taiwan.

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