Chicago has long been known as the “largest Polish city after Warsaw,” so it is no surprise that an issue very dear to many Poles’ (and Polonia’s) hearts is being brought up by a senator from that city.
Representative Mike Quigley (D.-Ill.), hailing from Chicago and representing the 5th district of Illinois, called on President Obama earlier this month to add Poland to the Visa Waiver Program. The program, already enjoyed by most members of the EU, would allow Poles to visit the United States for tourism purposes for up to three months without a visa. Many Poles view the nation’s exclusion from the program as a snub given Poland’s very pro-American record.
The newly-elected representative argued in a press release that Poland “has proven to be an indispensable ally in the global campaign against terrorism.” Stating that he spoke for the thousands of Polish-Americans in his district, he added that “We owe it to a country that has stood by us, and to the people who would like to visit the United States.” 17 percent of the residents of Representative Quigley’s district are of Polish descent.