Magazine article National Defense

Controversial Fingerprint Collection Plan Halted, for Now

Magazine article National Defense

Controversial Fingerprint Collection Plan Halted, for Now

Article excerpt

* Congress has suspended funding for a plan to collect biometric information from foreign visitors who are exiting the United States.

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In an effort to ensure that foreign nationals do not overstay their visas, the Department of Homeland Security, under its US-VISIT program, now requires most non-U.S. citizens to submit digital fingerprints when entering the United States. DHS also wants these biometrics to be collected once those same visitors leave the country.

But the department has still not worked out how to gather the departure data.

Last year, DHS mandated that airlines and cruise lines would have to gather the information.

The airlines vehemently opposed this. One reason was that it would cost them more than $3 billion. They also did not recognize DHS' legal authority to force them to comply. That is a job for government, said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association.

Congress is now suspending funding for the exit portion of the US-VISIT program, said Kimberly Weissman, spokeswoman at the Department of Homeland Security. …

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