Proposed Anti-Terror Rules for Travelers Get Personal
Byline: Frank J. Murray, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Justice Department yesterday published proposed anti-terrorism regulations that for the first time would require American citizens traveling abroad to disclose detailed personal information.
Under the new proposal, Americans on commercial air and sea travel would be required to fill out forms detailing their comings and goings.
Under the new regulations, the information would be sent electronically to the government to be matched against security databases.
"It's another way to enhance security for travelers," Immigration and Naturalization Service spokeswoman Kimberly Weismann told the Associated Press.
The rule published yesterday would not apply to domestic flights.
INS spokesman Chris Bentley said the portion involving American citizens and resident aliens with green cards will not take effect until a final rule is imposed after a 30-day comment period.
But he said the rule was put in force on an interim basis Wednesday, requiring details on all temporary foreign visitors such as tourists, students or business travelers.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has been critical of much of the administration's terrorism information-gathering initiatives, said these rules should not encroach on people's privacy.
"We don't see a huge downside," spokeswoman Emily Whitfield told the Associated Press.
Congress ordered the changes in legislation that was signed into law by President Bush last May. The legislation also mandated that the rules concerning the issuance of visas to visitors and students coming to the United States be tightened, as well as that additional Border Patrol officers be hired.
The proposal requires all passengers arriving or departing, as well as crew members, to provide information such as name, date of birth, citizenship, sex, passport number and country of issuance, country of residence, U.S. visa number and other details of its issuance, address while in the United States, and, where it applies, alien registration number.
All commercial airlines, cargo flights, cruise ships and other vessels carrying crew or passengers would be affected, with the exception of most ferry boats. Private transportation is not affected, nor are commercial buses or trains.
An INS press statement announcing the proposed rule on Tuesday said a new law "requires the submission of Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) on all temporary foreign visitors. …