Quigley Visits Poland to Support Visa Waiver Inclusion and Examine Missile Defense Operations



WASHINGTON – This weekend, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) returned home after a five-day congressional delegation trip to Poland where he met with President Bronisław Komorowski and other state officials to discuss Poland’s aspirations for inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as well as defense and national security issues.  


Poland has been an incredible partner for the United States and their inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program would provide substantial economic opportunities for Chicago,” said Rep. Quigley. “President Komorowski and I discussed how best to move Poland’s inclusion forward, which would benefit the people of Poland as well as the numerous Polish-American families in my district who have loved ones overseas.  In addition to Visa Waiver Program discussions, I greatly appreciate the opportunity this second trip to Poland has afforded me to see more of this beautiful country and meet more of its people.”


Quigley and Senator Mark Kirk (IL) maintained a rigorous itinerary of briefings and tours while overseas.  In Warsaw, the delegation met with President Komorowski and U.S. Ambassador Lee Feinstein to discuss expansion and reform of VWP, a top priority for Quigley since his arrival to Congress in 2009.  Later that day, the delegation was briefed by United States European Command officials on missile defense programming. 

The following day they met with former President Lech Wałęsa and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski to continue VWP discussions.  They also visited both the Polish Senate and Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, and met with Sejm Foreign Affairs Chair Gregorz Schetyna and Senate Foreign Affairs Chair Włodzmierz Cimoszewicz.  Rep. Quigley concluded the day with a meeting that included Presidential National Security Advisor Stanisław Koziej.


On the third day of the trip, the Congressman paid his respects at two of the country’s most well-known historical sites: the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.  The delegation laid wreaths at both sites.  This was Rep. Quigley’s second visit to Auschwitz.


The fourth day of the trip included a short visit in Kraków, where Rep. Quigley met with Mayor Jacek Majchrowski before visiting with local religious leaders.  Rep. Quigley met Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz before touring St. Mary’s Basilica and went to Temple Synagogue to meet with local Jewish leaders.  Later that day, the delegation viewed the future Missile Defense site in Redzikowo while in transit to Toruń.


On the final day of the trip, Rep. Quigley visited the Patriot Battery currently on rotation in Toruń.  There he received a briefing on operations from the site commander, toured the facilities and equipment, and had breakfast with U.S. troops.


PHOTO: Rep. Quigley (third from the left) meets President Komorowski (second from the left) at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.


PHOTO: Rep. Quigley (second from the left) discuss the Visa Waiver Program with President Komorowski (fifth from the left) at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.


PHOTO: Rep. Quigley participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.


 PHOTO: Rep. Quigley (right) and Sen. Kirk (left) lay a wreath at the Wall of Death at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial.


PHOTO: Rep. Quigley is greeted by Cardinal Dziwisz at the Archbishop’s Office in Kraków.


This was the Congressman’s second trip to Poland in less than two years.  In 2010, he traveled to Poland and attended a conference in Krakow commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Community of Democracies.


Rep. Quigley has worked tirelessly to promote Polish-American relations during his two terms in Congress.  In December 2011, he testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement in favor of expanding VWP to Poland and other U.S. partners.  Legislation authored by Rep. Quigley to expand VWP to include Poland has been endorsed by President Obama


Illinois’ 5th Congressional District is home to more than 100,000 citizens of Polish ancestry.  More than 1 million Poles call Chicago home, making it the highest concentration of Poles of any city outside of Warsaw.