Set-Asides

Appropriations bill amendment targets INS information sharing

The Commerce, Justice, State appropriations bill passed by the Senate last month included a provision that would require the Immigration and Naturalization Service to do a better job of sharing information with other federal agencies.

Under an amendment proposed by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), INS would be required in fiscal 2000 to develop "a plan for coordinating and linking all relevant Immigration and Naturalization Service databases with those of the Justice Department and other federal law enforcement agencies to determine criminal history, fingerprint identification and record of prior deportation." The amendment was adopted just weeks after suspected killer Angel Maturino Resendez was detained and later released by INS because an alien identification database apparently produced no unusual information about him.

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Trade groups lobby Hill to fund $1B Customs trade project

Last week, a dozen automobile companies, retailers and international trade associations lobbied Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) to support funding for Customs' $1 billion Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

Kolbe heads the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee in charge of Customs' budget. Citing weak management by the agency, both the House and Senate decided not to fund ACE, which would modernize Customs' aging trade systems.

Jason Clawson, a spokesman with the lobbying firm JBC International, said the group told Kolbe that without a budget, Customs will not be able to hire an integrator to oversee the project. Clawson said it is "still a question" whether any money would be provided next year, adding that "we still have a lot of work to do" to convince lawmakers to support the program.

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