System In Place To Track Visitors To U.S.
Every sea, land, and air border crossing point in the United States is now equipped with U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology, or US-VISIT, that allows inspectors to identify, photograph, and fingerprint incoming visitors as part of the war against terrorism.
Hailed as the “greatest single advance in border security in three decades” by former Homeland Security Department head Tom Ridge, US-VISIT is now active at 154 land crossings, 15 seaports, and 115 airports handling international travel.
The technology has been used to process 44 million people since its introduction in January 2004. Thus far 970 people have been redflagged for criminal or immigration violations, none for terrorism links.
The technology is not yet interoperable with the FBI fingerprint database and does not track visitors as they leave, weaknesses that along with scant use at land border crossing points significantly reduces its utility, say critics.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the State (SC) (01/01/06) P. A9; Gaouette, Nicole .