The first report to systematically examine the implementation of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 was published this week. The report, which was published by the Center for Immigration Studies ("CIS") and NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation, states that the Administration has missed a majority of the deadlines set by Congress in the 2002 visa-tracking law. CIS and NumbersUSA are both organizations that actively against immigration to the US.
According to the report, of the 22 mandated deadlines that have already passed, more than half (13) were missed. Four of the required forms from the 13 missed deadlines were eventually implemented, while the other nine still have not been implemented.
The Administration’s failure to report any progress on the development of an integrated biometric-based database, or Chimera, was cited as the most important missed deadline. This database would give the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security real-time access to law enforcement, immigration, and intelligence information on every alien.
Another problem arises with the government’s failure to check the names of all aliens from “visa waiver” countries against terrorist watch lists at ports of entry. This system was supposed to be implemented with the enactment of the visa tracking law due to its importance to national security since US consulates do not vet visa waiver aliens prior to arrival.
In addition, most ports of entry along the US-Mexico border are still awaiting installation of machines that can read and compare biometric information on Border Crossing Cards. This delay greatly increases the chance of fraudulent use of the cards.
There have been significant provisions that have been successfully implemented. Among those are:
· Creation of an interim data-sharing system between government agencies;
· Development of a biometric technology standard to verify the identity of noncitizens;
· Establishment of terrorist lookout committees in US missions abroad;
· Advance electronic submission of passenger manifests by all commercial airlines and vessels;
· Implementation of the foreign student tracking system (SEVIS); and
· Submission of an annual report on alien absconders who fail to show up for removal following a final order of deportation.
The deadlines missed following the implementation of the Act are blamed on limited government funds for a massive reorganization project. The Act, which was signed into law in May 2002, was part of a response to the Sept. 11 attacks, along with the USA Patriot Act.