INS upgrades zero in on IDs

INS upgrades zero in on IDs

The Immigration and Naturalization Service is building up its information systems as part of its efforts to bolster national security.

Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration last month, INS commissioner James W. Ziglar said the agency will deliver its enterprise architecture, on which work began October 2000, by next April.

The agency will require airlines to submit passenger information before boarding international flights to prevent suspected terrorists and criminals from getting aboard aircraft, an INS spokesman said.

The data will be made available to other law enforcement agencies to identify potential threats and prevent the departure of people who may have committed crimes in the United States, Ziglar said.

Your papers, please

The National Crime Information Center Interstate Identification Index will be implemented at all ports of entry so that aliens with criminal histories can be identified prior to or upon arrival in the United States, Ziglar said.

The agency is working to meet the January 2003 date set by Congress to put into operation the Student Exchange Visitor Information System, a Web-based data collection and retrieval system it plans to deploy nationwide.

The data entered by a school or exchange program will reside in a central database maintained by INS. Schools will be able to access the data via the agency's Web site, at www.ins.gov, and will be able to update records through interactive screens.

The agency will deploy the system in 55,000 schools by the end of 2003.

INS now collects data only on the entry and exit of nonimmigrants. The agency gets the data on paper, which is then transferred by hand to an electronic database.

'This is an extremely inefficient way of processing data, which delays access to the data by weeks and months,' Ziglar said.

INS is developing a fully automated integrated entry-exit data collection system, which will be installed at airports and seaports by the end of 2003.

The system will be deployed at the 50 largest land ports of entry by the end of 2004 and all other ports by 2005.

INS is also working with the FBI to integrate its fingerprint identification system, called IDENT, with the bureau's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, Ziglar said.

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