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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC
September 5, 2002

Initiatives by the Bureau of Consular Affairs To Enhance National Security

Since September 11, 2001, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has taken a number of initiatives to improve and enhance border security. Following is a list of CAs recent accomplishments in the War on Terrorism:

  • Incorporated over 7 million records from the FBIs National Crime Information Center (NCIC) into our Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS) namecheck database, which will more than double the records on file to 15 million and significantly enhance border security by giving consular officers overseas access to critical information for visa adjudication.
  • Received into CLASS a threefold increase in namecheck records from the intelligence community (through TIPOFF) and will incorporate records from the U.S. Marshals Service into the passport database portion of CLASS.
  • Implemented a training program for Consular Officers to better understand the CLASS system, especially linguistically based namecheck returns.
  • Successfully rolled out the new Lincoln Nonimmigrant Visa, which contains major enhancements to prevent alteration and duplication, in pilot posts overseas, with plans to complete worldwide deployment by early 2003.
  • Added more security checks for certain groups of visa applicants from certain countries.
  • Broadened definition of "terrorism" for visa denial purposes.
  • Implemented a supplemental visa application form for all men aged 16 to 45 from every country in the world.
  • Provided access to the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) to adjudication officers worldwide, as well as to INS ports of entry.
  • Expanded distribution of electronic Intelligence Alerts on lost/stolen blank documents, making them available to federal, state, and local agencies and to foreign governments.
  • Commenced a pilot program with the Virginia DMV to share information on fraudulent foreign documents submitted in support of drivers license applications.
  • Undertook a program with SSA to introduce SSA investigators to training on detecting fraudulent foreign documents, and to increase information sharing between SSA investigators and passport agencies.
  • Expanded intranet resources for consular adjudicators to assist them in reading and verifying entry/exit cachets in Arabic or Persian script.
  • Developed a more secure way of canceling machine-readable visas to deter "visa washing."
  • Advanced action on establishing a standard for U.S. birth certificates through the INS standing committee.
  • Deployed the Consular Lost and Stolen Passport (CLASP) lookout system to all overseas posts, serving as the central repository for information regarding lost or stolen U.S. passports.
  • Established automated links to the FBI to check names for Security Advisory Opinions requested from the field on potential visa issuances.
  • Engaged in ongoing discussions with Mexico and Canada about greater cooperation on immigration, security, and visa issues.
  • Closed loophole that allowed certain non-immigrant aliens to reenter the U.S. with an expired visa.
  • Approved an Entry-Exit Project Charter, drafted jointly with INS, Customs, and DOT, which sets the parameters for an automated system to record the arrivals, departures, and stay activities of individuals coming to and leaving the U.S.
  • Converted all domestic passport agencies to issue the new, more secure photodigitized U.S. passport.
  • Shifted production of all "non-emergency" overseas passports from posts abroad to the U.S. to take advantage of the photodigitization technology.
  • Created a network connection for electronic access to digital images of passport records to all passport agencies, consular posts, and authorized CA Headquarters personnel.
  • Implemented the Passport Lookout Tracking System (PLOTS), containing roughly 100,000 fraud files and designed to virtually replicate fraud files in real-time to any authorized CA user.
  • Piloted the newest release of the non-immigrant visa system (NIV), which incorporates imaging of serious visa refusals into CAs Consular Consolidated Database and are in the process of deploying it worldwide.
  • Undertook research on facial recognition, which includes excellent results in spotting duplicates in our Diversity Visa program.

[End]


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