Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 13, 2006

US-VISIT exit system moves forward

Filed under: Border Security,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on November 13, 2006

Washington Technology has a story today that looks at an issue that I haven’t seen reported in a while: the status of efforts to develop the “exit” portion of US-VISIT:

Ten years after Congress ordered tracking of entries and exits by foreign visitors to the United States, the exit control plan may be moving forward, but also may be less comprehensive than expected.

To date, the Homeland Security Department has been fairly quiet about plans for the exit part of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (U.S. Visit) program, which collects personal and biometric information on all incoming visa holders. In three years, it has processed about 64 million visitors upon entry.

…An exit plan that U.S. Visit officials last month submitted to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is now under review, said DHS spokeswoman Kimberly Weissman.

The article is mum on the details of the plan submitted to Sec. Chertoff, but provides a good summary of the challenges and complexities associated with the implementation of the “exit” system, mainly related to re-engineering physical border points in a way that maintains throughput and facilitates screening and identification.

These are real challenges, but it’s still worthwhile to try to meet them, as a necessary and core part of the entry-exit system concept dating back to the 1996 mandate in IIRIRA. If the exit segment of US-VISIT languishes, then the benefits of the investments in entry systems made over the past several years will not be realized.

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Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » US-VISIT: No Exit?

December 15, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

[…] As I noted in my previous post on the exit system, I think the develop of an exit system is a critical part of a border security strategy, and I’m concerned by the idea of scuttling this activity. To be sure, there are real challenges with this in terms of the land border infrastructure (e.g. very few exit “lanes” at major border checkpoints today, creating the need for significant amounts of construction), but many of the other technology issues should be feasible; for example, why did DHS’s RFID test only work 10% of the time when RFID-based EZPASS works with nearly 100% reliability? […]

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