Obama Administration Tightens Visa Waiver Program in Wake of Paris Terror Attacks

PHOTO: Passengers walk through Terminal 3 at OHare International Airport, Nov. 21, 2015, in Chicago. PlayNam Y. Huh/AP Photo
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The Obama administration said it will tighten its visa waiver program to prevent foreign fighters from entering the U.S. in the wake of the Paris attacks two weeks ago, the White House announced today.

"We’re doing everything we can to ensure that the threat of foreign fighters or individuals who have been radicalized does not make its way to our homeland," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said today in Paris. "We want to ensure that we have tighter scrutiny in place, better information sharing."

The administration announced new changes today to the program, which allows 20 million visitors from 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without visas each year. The new changes include screening whether travelers have visited countries considered a "terrorist safe haven" and working with countries participating in the visa waiver program to help collect and use biometric screening.

Various government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, will work together to deploy "foreign fighter surge teams" to try to counter the travel of terrorists in certain countries, officials said.

The announcement came as President Obama visited Paris for a climate conference just two weeks after terror attacks rocked the French capital and killed 130 people.

On Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, told reporters he wants to see the House address concerns with the program in December before the end of the session. The national security task force McCarthy formed after the Paris attacks will meet Tuesday and will discuss potential legislation on the subject.

ABC's Ben Siegel contributed to this report.