Biometric reprieve granted

The House approved by voice vote June 14 a one-year deadline extension for visa-waiver countries to have machine-readable, tamper-resistant passports with embedded biometric identifiers.

Most of the 27 countries, whose citizens do not need visas to enter the United States, will have until Oct. 26, 2005, to have tamper-resistant entry and exit documents ready.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) sponsored a bill that amended the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 that required such countries to develop passports with biometrics. Face mapping is currently the only internationally recognized standard.

Bush administration officials had been lobbying for a two-year extension because they said the countries needed more time to achieve the technologically complex goal. The officials said the other countries are willing to meet the requirements.

Several House lawmakers have said they favored an extension for economic reasons. They said if the deadline had not been extended, travelers from visa-waiver countries that did not have such passports may not be inclined to visit the United States, thereby reducing tourism, education and business dollars.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) introduced similar legislation to extend the deadline by two years. The bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Yesterday, Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas) introduced legislation to extend the deadline by a year. He also said that watch list databases should be used to screen travelers before they're allowed to enter the country.

Homeland Security Department officials will begin processing travelers from visa waiver countries through the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program Sept. 30.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.