RealNews

Starting next year, U.S. to fingerprint most foreign visitors

Foreign visitors arriving with visas at U.S. airports or seaports next year will have their travel documents scanned, their fingerprints and photos taken and their identification checked against terrorist watch lists. Such a tracking system could have stopped two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Homeland Security Department undersecretary Asa Hutchinson said Monday as he gave details of the department’s new U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indication Technology, or U.S. VISIT. The system, which goes into effect Jan. 1, will check the comings and goings of foreign travelers who arrive in this country carrying visas. Travelers with visas made up about 60 percent, or 23 million, of foreign visitors to the United States last year. Hutchinson said such a system could have caught hijackers Mohammed Atta, who had overstayed his visa on a previous occasion, and Hani Hanjour, when he failed to show up at school as required by his student visa. “Border security can no longer be just a coastline, or a line on the ground between two nations. It’s also a line of information in a computer, telling us who is in this country, for how long and for what reason,” Hutchinson said. Full Story

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