The Homeland Security Department has announced plans to expand its biometric data collection program to include foreign permanent residents and refugees. Almost all noncitizens will be required to provide digital fingerprints and a photograph upon entry into the United States as of Jan. 18.
A notice in Friday’s Federal Register, said expansion of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US VISIT) will include “nearly all aliens,” except Canadian citizens on brief visits. Those categories include permanent residents with green cards, individuals seeking to enter on immigrant visas, and potential refugees.
The US VISIT program was developed after the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks to collect fingerprints from foreign visitors and run them against the FBI’s terrorist watch list and other criminal databases. Another phase of the project, to develop an exit system to track foreign nationals leaving the country, has run into repeated setbacks.