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[Congressional Record: October 5, 2001 (Extensions)]
[Page E1820]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                            HON. GENE GREEN

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, October 5, 2001

  Mr. GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Visa 
Information Security Act of 2001 (VISA Act)--legislation that increase 
the security of the American people by closing some of the loopholes 
within our visa applicatiot system. This legislation requires that all 
non-immigrant visa applicants submit a biometric fingerprint as of the 
routine visa application process.
  Specifically, it would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to 
require that non-immigrant visa applicants provide a biometric 
identifier, such as a fingerprint, that is machine readable, to be 
contained the visa or other documentation required for admission at 
their port of entry into the United States.
  The recent terrorist attacks have highlighted the need to review the 
visa application process and we call improve the screening process used 
by U.S. Consular offices abroad. Usually, visa applicant names are 
checked against the State Department database for admissibility. 
However, some individuals use false information from their country of 
origin when they apply for a visa or use stolen visas to enter the U.S. 
As the Washington Post reported today, in the last few years, one 
country lost approximately 60,000 visas.
  While it is impossible to screen every single individual who enters 
our country, with advanced technology and better coordination with the 
intelligence community we can better secure our nations border. 
However, in order to effectively authenticate individuals, we need a 
method based on inherent characteristics of a person that cannot be 
lost, changed or duplicated. Through biometric fingerprints, we would 
have an accurate and clear idea of who is entering our country.
  This process is quick and efficient and can be run through our 
national criminal database to see if the applicant should or should not 
be allowed into the country. Additionally, when the individual enters 
the country through the port of entry, his fingerprints will be scanned 
to verif, authenticity. Adding this technology requirement would not 
add significant time to the visa application process. But it would 
certainly prevent known terrorists and criminals from entering the 
country, while at the same time decrease fraudulent visa requests.
  In addition, this legislation authorizes the Attorney General to 
impose a new fee on all visa applicants to cover the costs of 
implementing this important program. I want to note that my legislation 
will not apply to NAFTA participating countries and actually allows the 
Attorney General maximum discretion to decide what methods to utilize 
for those types of border crossings.
  Mr. Speaker, we need to collect more information about the 
individuals trying to enter this country, but we must do it in a way 
that does not overburden our consular offices and still allows for 
visitors to enter the United States. My legislation is an economical 
first step in increasing our national security and I intend to work 
tirelessly for its passage.


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