USA might start taking biometric data from visitors, who leave the country

New York City at night

The new amendment of the immigration law which is currently discussed by the US congress will require all foreigners to have their fingerprints taken when they leave the country.

The amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act 2013 was voted in by the Judiciary Committee of the US Senate, the upper house of Congress.

After that, it has been adopted the reform will be implemented if it achieves the majority of votes in both houses of the Congress – the Senate and The House of Representatives.

If the proposed act becomes law the government of the USA will install high tech fingerprint scanning equipment on all of the major airports in the country including JFK, La Guardia and O’Hare International.

According to the amendment, the equipment must be installed within two years on the busiest airports in the country and within six years on the other ones.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, some senators have tried to implement additional security measures in the ongoing immigration reform, despite the fact the bombers were naturalized US citizens and will not be subjects of the new measures.

Senators have expressed their concern that while, at present, arrivals at US ports and airports are recorded, there are no checks on those leaving the country.

Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the ‘Gang of Eight’ who wrote the Act currently before the Senate, worries that this failure creates ‘a hole in the system’.

His office has said ‘biometric data provides the government with certainty that travellers (and not just their travel documents) have or have not left the country’.

It is though the introduction of new exit checks will help the authorities to deal with individuals who have overstayed their visas.

An earlier proposal to introduce facial recognition terminals and iris checks for those leaving the US was rejected because the $25bn price tag was considered to be too expensive.


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