Feinstein-Kyl visa bill stresses value of biometrics

Feinstein-Kyl visa bill stresses value of biometrics

To prevent terrorists from entering the United States, the Immigration and Naturalization Service needs to use biometrics, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said this week at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the subcommittee, agreed. But to use biometrics, she said, the government needs to adopt uniform standards. Feinstein announced this week she wants to set up a biometrics clearinghouse to guide agencies working to expedite their implementations and vendors promoting products.

The clearinghouse would be a means of enabling her proposed Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001.

S 1627 would 'strengthen our counterterrorism efforts by connecting law enforcement with a centralized 'look out' database, upgrade technologies used to prevent fraud and illegal entry, and impose new restrictions on student visas to prevent misuse of the program," Feinstein said.

The bill, co-sponsored by Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, would set up a central database of biometric information about foreign nationals who visit the United States.

INS and the State Department would issue smart cards with built-in biometrics plus other identifiers for entry and exit. Managers of transportation modes would be required to enter passenger information into the central database.

All non-U.S. citizens would have to submit fingerprints and other biometric identification when applying for a visa. Students from nations that foster terrorists would receive visas sparingly.

'While individuals may be able to disguise their appearance sufficiently to fool the human eye, the technology described today can thwart the most sophisticated criminal,' Hatch said at the subcommittee hearing.

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