Monday, 28 August 2006

Fingerprints, photographs, and dossiers on USA "green card" holders

Today I filed comments with the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of The Identity Project formally objecting to the DHS proposal that the fingerprinting, photographing, and logging of lifetime personal travel histories of visitors to the USA be expanded to include even lawful permanent residents of the USA (“grren card” holders), not just those visitors for whom the USA requires visas .


The Identity Project submits these comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published at 71 Federal Register 42605-42611 (July 27, 2006), docket number DHS 2005—0037 .

The NPRM would require, as a condition of admission to or departure from the U.S., that certain categories of “aliens” (persons who are not U.S. citizens) including lawful permanent residents (LPR’s) of the U.S., refugees, asylum seekers, many Canadian visitors to the U.S., and some others, submit to fingerprinting and photographing each time they cross a U.S. border or enter, exit, or transit the U.S. — even if they do so twice daily throughout their working life, as many do.

The proposed rules would require these aliens to submit to lifetime retention by the DHS — even if they later become U.S. citizens — and sharing with other agencies, of these fingerprints and photographs, as well as the details of each entry, exit, or transit, as part of their dossier in a “biographic and biometric travel history database”.

The proposed rules would be inconsistent with the obligations of the United States embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights . The proposed rules are unjustified, devoid of utility for any lawful purpose, unauthorized by statute, and contrary to the Privacy Act. The NPRM fails to include specific assessments required by the Privacy Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

The Identity Project respectfully requests that the NPRM be withdrawn in its entirety. If the NPRM is not withdrawn, we request that the NPRM be republished together with the additional assessments required by the Privacy Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and that a new comment period be provided.

Complete comments (15 pages, PDF).

At least as docketed thus far — it sometimes takes a day or two after comments are received for the government to get them posted on (warning: does not work in some browsers including Opera and Lynx) — the comments from the Identity Project appear to have been the only organizational ones from a civil liberties or human rights perspective. To my surprise, there are none posted from immigrants’ rights organizations, and the comments from the Border Trade Alliance focus exclusively on the speed and efficiency of the system and its impact on cross-border business, not its impact on freedom of movement as a Constitutional or human right.

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 28 August 2006, 17:11 ( 5:11 PM)
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