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  • US to fingerprint visitors from 27 countries


    U.S. Expands Fingerprinting of Foreign Visitors

    Apr 2, 7:37 PM (ET)

    By Arshad Mohammed

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of visitors from 27 U.S. allies, including Britain, Japan and Australia, will be fingerprinted and photographed on arrival in the United States to tighten border security, U.S. officials said on Friday.

    The policy, to begin at airports and seaports by Sept. 30 and at the 50 busiest U.S. land crossing by the end of the year, extends a program that started Jan. 5 under which everyone who comes to the United States on a visa -- except diplomats -- is fingerprinted and photographed on arrival.

    With the new policy, this will be extended to citizens of the 27 "visa waiver" nations whose citizens generally do not need visas for short visits.

    U.S. officials say taking two digital index finger scans and a photograph takes seconds and helps prevent attacks like those on Sept. 11, 2001, but the policy has upset many visitors and its expansion drew protests from the travel industry.

    The 27 countries affected are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

    U.S. officials said the new policy reflected the likelihood that those nations will miss an Oct. 26 deadline to begin issuing passports with biometric data like fingerprints.

    The Bush administration said it had asked the U.S. Congress for a two-year extension to the deadline and said that its decision to fingerprint and photograph even the visitors who do not need visas was designed to close a loophole.

    CRIMINAL WATCHLIST

    "It will add security by allowing us to check against our terrorist criminal watchlist those foreign visitors who are traveling from Visa Waiver Program countries," said Homeland Security Department Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson.

    Citizens from these countries, which include some of the closest U.S. allies whose governments backed the invasion of Iraq, are generally permitted to visit the United States without a visa for up to 90 days for pleasure or business.

    The old policy applied to people from these nations who required U.S. visas, for example to study or work legally.

    It has angered many visitors and triggered retaliatory measures from nations including Brazil, which now fingerprints U.S. visitors, and China, which has said it will require some U.S. citizens seeking Chinese visas to appear for interviews.

    U.S. and British travel groups criticized the policy.

    "(We are) greatly disappointed and very concerned about potential negative reactions in key inbound tourism markets in western Europe, Japan and other important ... countries," said U.S. Travel Industry Association President William Norman.

    "These new moves clearly will not help to encourage UK citizens to travel to the USA, and we would urge very strongly that the American authorities reconsider their actions," said a spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents.

    U.S. officials said most Canadian citizens, most of whom do not need visas, will not be fingerprinted or photographed.

    They also said that Mexicans carrying border crossing cards -- which include biometric identifiers and are only issued after the person has had a background check -- are also exempt if they enter for 72 hours and stay within the "border zone."

    Hutchinson said the United States would not oppose moves by other countries to impose more security measures on U.S. citizens. "We recognize that it's a two-way street," he said. (Additional reporting by Deborah Charles and John Crawley in Washington and Bernhard Warner and Kate Holton in London)
    Japan? Yeah they were on the plane on Sept 11th.

  • #2
    It's a toughie. But I'd submit to the same thing overseas if it meant we'd all be safer.
    Dude. Can. Fly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Han,

      What is so stupid about this?

      I think that it's dead on the right thing to do.

      Are you trying to tell me that those little cock sucking, maggot eating terrorist shit fucks can't take a flight from Japan to The United States of America?
      Jimmy Buffett quote of the week:

      "Open season on the open seas and Captain says no prisoners please. Skull and crossbones on a background of black. We ain't stealin' we're just takin' back ."


      - Jimmy Buffett, Take it Back, Boats, Beaches, Bars and Ballads Box Set

      "Now, she should be good-looking, but we're willing to trade looks for a certain... morally casual attitude."

      -

      Comment


      • #4
        I have no problem with this.
        Go Cards ...12 in 13.


        Comment


        • #5
          If people want to get into the country they will, be it via legal entry or not.

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          • #6
            As long as no one has an issue with other countries doing it to us in return I support it also.
            Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by madyaks@Apr 3 2004, 06:03 PM
              As long as no one has an issue with other countries doing it to us in return I support it also.
              But you know that won't happen. Americans will raise holy hell about being treated as criminals overseas, should we be, while having no problem with us treating foreigners as such here.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh we should DEFINITELY be fingerprinted in return.
                Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

                Comment


                • #9
                  In theory it is a good idea and I can't imagine it will cause people to queue any longer than you already have to at Heathrow.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It sounds like a digital thing. If it's a quick deal, who cares, let's do it.

                    Hell, put it on subway entrances etc.
                    Dude. Can. Fly.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When you're visiting another person's house, you abided by their rules, or you get the heck out.

                      It goes both ways. I have no problem with it.
                      Make America Great For Once.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It will work as long as they don't cock it up at immigration. If it is as easy to do as I've heard it to be, everything will be fine. If it is organised like your typical INS piss up in a brewery, it will be horrible.

                        Of course all the annoying people who can't fill in the visa waiver forms don't help either. Luckily though, I don't have to worry about it at all.

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                        • #13
                          WEG,

                          You're just the type of guy they made the law for.

                          They're cracking down on plagiarizing.
                          And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                          -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Damtoft@Apr 3 2004, 06:52 PM
                            WEG,

                            You're just the type of guy they made the law for.

                            They're cracking down on plagiarizing.


                            Stupid limey.
                            Dude. Can. Fly.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Damtoft@Apr 3 2004, 06:52 PM
                              WEG,

                              You're just the type of guy they made the law for.

                              They're cracking down on plagiarizing.
                              :angry:

                              Don't worry JD, the Government already have my fingerprints and a million passport photos. :P

                              Comment

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