Congress extends deadline for INS data system

Congress extends deadline for INS data system

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

May 24—The House yesterday passed by voice vote an amendment requiring the Justice Department to establish an entry and exit data collection system at airports, seaports and high-traffic land border ports of entry by Dec. 31, 2005.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service Data Management Improvement Act of 2000, HR 4489, amends section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act, enacted in September 1996.

"This bill will integrate all Immigration and Naturalization Service and State Department databases that support the entry and exit of aliens at airports, seaports, and land border ports of entry," said Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Texas), who sponsored the amendment.

"The database systems the INS currently use are often independent from each other," he said. "As a result, INS officers and inspectors and State Department consular officers are unable to learn an alien's prior U.S. travel activities from the INS and State Department consular offices."

The Justice Department has plans underway to integrate two bureau automated fingerprint systems to improve data management of illegal alien entries. The department plans to complete an interface between the INS IDENT system and the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System by 2006 [GCN, May 8, Page 1].

Section 110 originally called for an automated entry-exit control system by late 1998. Congress later extended the deadline to March 30, 2001. But with that deadline less than a year away and the INS no closer to a control system at land border ports of entry, Congress extended the deadline once again.

The new mandate requires that by Dec. 31, 2003, Justice implement the integrated entry and exit data system using available alien arrival and departure data at airports or seaports.

No more than a year later, Justice must implement the integrated system at the 50 U.S. land border ports that serve the highest numbers of arriving and departing aliens. The department will then have another year, until December 2005, to fully integrate the system.


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