Letter: Fingerprinting process contributes to delays

Regarding "We can’t agree on the fingerprints, eh?"

Border crossing fingerprints now get obscured by another roadblock [FCW, "The Buzz," Sept. 8, 2008, page 3]. What's that barrier?

Years of government interagency disagreement about requiring definitive "rolled" impressions instead of the imprecise "flat" impressions. Rolled impressions take much longer to capture one finger at a time, especially when their "tire tread" arches, loops and whorls wore off into dotted pebbles like beach sand. Compounding that are the many stiff forearms and inflexible wrists that do not turn or twist as needed for the rolled impressions.

Keypad-worn and acid-etched fingertips increasingly bedevil the fingerprinting of hundreds of incoming staff each year.

Imagine all the bottlenecks to come when thousands of these 20-somethings come back to the United States from their foreign travels. Beware!

Donald E. White
Director of Safety and Security
Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute

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