[JURIST] A new US federal regulation announced by the Department of Homeland Security Thursday and published [text] in the Federal Register would for the first time require biometric fingerprinting and photographing of lawful permanent US residents - so called "green card" holders whose numbers are estimated at between 8 and 12 million - reentering the United States after trips abroad. Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are among several new classes of persons to be included in the US-VISIT [official website] border security program, which is being phased in over several years. In a statement, DHS said:
Expanding the population processed through US-VISIT is the next step in a comprehensive plan to further improve public safety and national security, as well as ensure the integrity of the immigration process. It is consistent with a number of initiatives that strengthen the integrity of travel documents issued to foreign visitors seeking entry into the United States, as it verifies the travel documents holder by their biometrics.Currently LPRs can re-enter the United States on presentation of their Permanent Resident Cards, which already carry fingerprints and biometric data, but DHS officials are concerned about the potential use of forged or stolen identification documents.
The US government has been pressing other governments to make greater use of biometrics themselves to allow for easier cross-checking of identification, but the retooling process even in countries like Canada and the UK [JURIST report] has been slow and costly. AP has more.