Team pushes ahead on Entry-Exit Program

'We have been working on getting all the requirements developed' and refining the interfaces that will be needed with other systems.

'INS' Robert Mocny

Henrik G. DeGyor

As Immigration and Naturalization Service chiefs work to bring the agency under the aegis of the new Homeland Security Department, a systems team is scrambling to keep INS' premier antiterrorism effort'the Entry-Exit Program'on pace.

The agency has released a request for proposals for development efforts for the program, through which Homeland Security will build a database of information about aliens who cross U.S. borders.

INS already has awarded a contract to BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., to help it with Entry-Exit program planning. That deal runs through 2005.

'The new RFP is a program support contract,' said Robert Mocny, director of the Entry-Exit Program. The winning vendor will help INS develop the solicitation for building the system, he said, adding that BearingPoint is eligible to submit a proposal.

INS received $362 million to spend on the project this year. Congress approved the administration's full request. For fiscal 2004, President Bush's proposal seeks an additional $480 million.

The more things change

Although there have been many changes since INS first conceived the border registration system, including the agency's absorption into Homeland Security, the goals of the program are essentially unchanged, Mocny said. INS already gathers some data on aliens; the new system will expand on those efforts.

The INS Data Management Improvement Act of 2000 outlined the Entry-Exit Program rollout schedule: Deploy it at all air and sea entry points by the end of this year, field it at the 50 largest land entry points by the end of next year, and launch it at all ports of entry by March 1, 2005.

'We have been working on getting all the requirements developed' and refining the interfaces that will be needed with other systems, he said.

INS officials and the HSD transition team have been shifting the project to one of the INS bureaus at the new department, the Border and Transportation Security Directorate.

INS has set a four-stage process for the system:
  • Pre-entry: State Department officials will access the system and run checks against their systems, such as the Consolidated Consular Database, and other screening data from airlines and cruise lines.

  • Entry: Border officers collect information as people enter the country.

  • Stay management: INS checks and, if necessary, changes the terms of someone's stay in the country.

  • Exit: The system closes out a record when someone leaves the country.
    'Another element would be analysis of the information,' Mocny said.

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