Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 08121821 (posted Dec. 18, 2008)"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, December 18, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today expressed deep concern over the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issuance of a final rule that suddenly and exponentially expands the population of immigrants who will be subject to US-VISIT requirements to nearly all immigrants, including lawful permanent residents. "The idea that lawful permanent residents, immigrants who have been living in the United States for years, will be subject to fingerscans and other biometric data collection procedures when traveling to and from the U.S. is simply wrong and borders on the absurd," said Charles H. Kuck, President of AILA.
Kuck continued, "A bedrock principle of our society is freedom from government intrusion without reason. The sole reason permanent residents will be singled out for data collection is the fact that they are not yet United States citizens. Without any reason to suspect wrongdoing, the U.S. Government will now collect biometric data from lawful permanent residents each time they enter the United States; privacy is now extinct. The expansion of this unproven program is premature. The proposed implementation strategy requires a far more detailed assessment of the costs of implementation and ongoing administration. The impact on the free flow of international travel and trade especially in this current time of economic upheaval has not even been assessed. This new rule will only harm the U.S. economy even more, and lead to lost productivity, competition, and jobs."
The US-VISIT program was established in 2003 to verify the identities and travel documents of visitors. US-VISIT automates this verification by comparing biometric identifiers, and by comparing biometric identifiers with information drawn from intelligence and law enforcement watch lists and databases. Visitors subject to US-VISIT may be required to provide fingerscans, photographs, or other biometric identifiers upon arrival at, or departure from, the United States. Currently, people entering the United States pursuant to a nonimmigrant visa, or those traveling without a visa as part of the Visa Waiver Program, are subject to US-VISIT requirements, with certain limited exceptions.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.