March 7, 2017 -
President Donald Trump has signed an updated version of his executive order on immigration, which calls for the expedited completion and implementation of a biometric entry/exit system for “in-scope” travelers, according to a report by FCW.
The move comes six weeks after President Trump signed the initial executive order which included a proposal to establish a national biometric ID program for non-citizens entering and leaving the U.S.
In addition to excluding Iraq from the list of majority-Muslim Middle Eastern countries whose citizens are temporarily barred from entering the U.S., the revised order told DHS to “expedite the completion and implementation” of the biometric entry-exit system for “in-scope” travelers.
The order directs DHS to “ramp up as quickly as possible,” on the project. However, the White House has declined to provide an exact timeline for the system’s implementation, simply stating that “CBP is working diligently to meet that obligation.”
The new order, which won’t be implemented until March 16, is said to be more forward-looking as it will not stop travel by current visa holders.
“The Executive Order signed today is prospective in nature — applying only to foreign nationals outside of the United States who do not have a valid visa,” Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly added that “there will be no daylight between agencies” involved with implementing the order and a more seamless roll out. “It takes effect March 16 at 12:01 am.… You won’t see any chaos at airports,” he said.
U.S. Rep Chris Collins (R-Clarence) commended the Trump administration for revising the order, which could have led to significant delays at U.S.-Canada border crossings, according to the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal.
The initial executive order proposed that all non-citizens be subjected to biometric checks when entering or leaving the United States, which many experts said could lead to widespread logistical issues,
Western New York government officials, such as Peace Bridge Authority General Manager Ron Rienas and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, said the proposed system would result in widespread congestion at the U.S.-Canada border.
In a letter, Collins called on Kelly to withdraw the biometrics proposal to prevent any damage to Western New York’s economy. Collins said the letter helped convince the Trump administration to change the language in its revised executive order.
The revised order calls for a biometric tracking system for “in-scope” travelers, which does not include citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada, a spokesman for Collins said.
Meanwhile, several government officials from the U.S. and Canada have said that a biometric system at the U.S.-Canada border is unnecessary, as the countries already exchange entry and exit information on third-country nationals, permanent residents of the U.S. who are not citizens and permanent Canadian residents who are not citizens.
Last month, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and a few other government officials launched an under-the-radar lobbying campaign against the Trump administration’s planned biometric screening initiative for all visitors to the United States upon both entry and exit.