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Senate Passes Bill Requiring Biometric Exit System At Airports

top story photo The Senate last week approved comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes a requirement for DHS to implement a biometric exit data system at "the 10 U.S. airports that support the highest volume of air travel, as determined by DOT international flight departure data."

The measure further requires DHS to establish within six years a mandatory biometric exit data system at "all the Core 30 international airports in the U.S., as so designated by the FAA." A report to Congress analyzing the effectiveness of biometric exit data at the initial 10 airports is required within three years of enactment.

Further, the bill includes provisions requiring DHS by Sept. 30, 2017, to increase the number of trained Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers by 3,500, adding that "In allocating any new officers to international land ports of entry and high volume international airports, the primary goals shall be to increase security and reduce wait times of commercial and passenger vehicles at international land ports of entry and primary processing wait times at high volume international airports by 50 percent by fiscal year 2014 and screening all air passengers within 45 minutes under normal operating conditions or 80 percent of passengers within 30 minutes by fiscal year 2016. "

The measure as approved by the Senate does not include a requirement for international airports to provide adequate space and facilities -- as determined by DHS and at no cost to the federal government --for the inspection of aliens arriving in the U.S. and the collection of biometric information from aliens departing the U.S. The proposal was filed as a potential amendment to the immigration bill, but never was offered formally. AAAE joined A4A, ACI-NA and other aviation groups in expressing opposition to the proposal.

It is uncertain at this point what action the House will take on the bill.

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