Immigration to the United States

Biometric Exit Improvement Act: Wrong Solution To Broken Visa And Immigration System

Email Print PDF Several Members of Congress recently released the Biometric Exit Improvement Act in an effort to enhance the U.S.’s security and immigration system. However, the law triples down on a costly policy that adds little real security. Instead of feel-good but ineffective strategies, Congress should reconsider the biometric exit requirement and push the Administration to faithfully execute the U.S.’s existing immigration laws. Biometric Exit Has Consistently Not Been Implemented The requirement for an integrated entry-exit system has been in place since the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. In the following years, several other bills were passed that called for an entry-exit system, with increasing requirements for biometric technology, leading to the creation in 2003 of US-VISIT, a program focused on developing a biometric entry-exit system. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 explicitly required and called for the acceleration of US-VISIT’s efforts to create an automated biometric entry and exit data system. While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made progress on the entry portion of US-VISIT, the exit system largely went nowhere. Congress repeated its demand for a biometric exit system in 2007, setting a deadline of 2009. That deadline came and went with only two small pilot programs. Since then, DHS has continued its slow move to meet this requirement in what the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has called “a long-standing challenge for DHS.” [1] The Biometric Exit Improvement Act would be at least the third law to call […]