U.S. program Global Entry expands to German fliers
USA Today reports that the Global Entry Program, run by the US Customs and Border Patrol, is expanding its international presence, to include Germany, the second country to join the program, behind the Netherlands. Talks are also underway with the United Kingdom to join the program. There are currently 42,000 members in the program, started two years ago.
The program is designed to expedite the customs process for international travelers who are “trusted” or considered low terror risks. After undergoing an interview and background check, people who are accepted to the program are able to bypass most of the customs process by passing through automated kiosks, where their biometric information is processed, along with a scan of the traveler’s passport. Travelers are then free to proceed to the luggage claim area. The program reduces the time in customs to around 40 seconds. 20 airports in the US currently have Global Entry kiosks. The benefits are reciprocal to Americans travelling to other member nations.
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McCain, Kyl want troops on U.S.-Mexico border
The Washington Times reports that the two US Senators from Arizona have called on President Obama to deploy 3000 National Guard troops to the Arizona-Mexico border. Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, both Republicans, made the on the same day that the Arizona State Legislature passed the infamous bill making it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant.
The Senators want the troops deployed until the Governor declares that the government has operational control over the border. A Homeland Security spokesperson said that the department is evaluating possible enforcement options. The spokesman added, however, that “The Border Patrol is better staffed today than at any time in its 85-year history,” with over 4,000 agents in Arizona alone, and over 20,000 nationally—twice the number from only 6 years ago.
While there is a precedent for deployment of troops to the border, the results were mixed at best. In 2006, the Bush Administration sent troops there. Many ended up doing infrastructure work, or clerical work, freeing up Border Patrol agents. Other times though, Border Patrol agents had to be assigned as bodyguards to the Guard units, as many are not allowed to carry loaded weapons. Thus the Border Patrol dubbed the assignment “the nanny patrol.”
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D.C. Council bill opposes immigrant fingerprint checks
The Washington Examiner reports that DC City Council members are planning to introduce a bill that would prevent DC Police from joining the Secure Communities program, designed to catch illegal immigrants by matching fingerprints of arrested immigrants against a database.
DC announced it would join the program in November, but the program has not been implemented yet due to technical difficulties. Councilmen Jim Graham and Phil Mendelson say they will sponsor a bill to prevent the program from ever being implemented. While the DC Police Chief has said that she supports the program, she does not want it to be as sweeping as it is in other communities.
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