TOP 10 MIGRATION ISSUES OF 2005
Issue #2: Linking Security and Immigration Controls: The Post-9/11 US Model Goes Global
December 1, 2005
Since the terror attacks of 2001, the United States has emphasized the link
between domestic security and foreign travelers by creating the Department
of Homeland Security, which includes immigration processing and enforcement
bureaus, and launching a number of initiatives, including the US-VISIT program,
an automated entry-exit system that collects biographic and biometric information
at ports of entry.
In the process, the United States has helped push its border inspection and
security agenda and a focus on biometric solutions onto the agendas of other
nations. All countries in the US visa waiver program (VWP), which includes
most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, were required to
have biometric passports by October 2005, though that deadline was pushed
back to October 2006. Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK debuted their
biometric passports this year, and the United States will begin issuing biometric
passports in December.
The United States and the European Union (EU) signed the landmark Passenger Name
Record (PNR) agreement in 2004, which requires airlines to provide EU-origin
passenger data for flights to the US. In November 2005, the EU
police agency Europol and Canadian authorities agreed to share a variety of
data, including those related to terrorism, and immigration and customs matters.
The European Biometrics Forum, launched in 2003 by the European Commission
and the Irish government, announced the formation of the International Biometric
Advisory Council (IBAC) in November 2005. Among its prominent members are the
deputy director of the US-VISIT program and officials from Canada and Japan.
Perhaps more than any other country, the UK has embraced the US border security
model. In June 2005, parliament introduced a controversial bill that would
increase sharing of passenger data with overseas law enforcement counterparts
and give power to immigration officials to check biometric details in visa
and travel documents.
But advanced industrial countries' responses have not stopped at the
border. Since the July bombings, the UK Home Secretary more than once has used
his power to detain and deport terror suspects "whose presence in the
UK is not conducive to the public good for reasons of national security."
France also used national security as the primary reason for its decision to
detain and deport legally resident foreigners involved in the riots this fall (see
It is possible in the coming years that other countries will put US-VISIT-type
programs in place. The challenge for all governments will be balancing security
with economic interests and individual rights.
For more information, please see the following articles:
• A New Century: Immigration and the US
• United Kingdom: Rising Numbers, Rising Anxieties
• The Challenge of French Diversity
• "One Face at the Border" -
Is It Working?
• Biometrics, Migrants, and Human Rights
• Security at US Borders: A Move Away from Unilateralism?
• Consular ID Cards: Mexico and Beyond
• Immigration and Security Post-Sept. 11
• US Commits to New Passport Requirements and Beefed-Up Border
• Immigration Reform Bill and DHS Restructuring Focus on Enforcement
• Supreme Court Addresses Deportation Cases, DHS Undergoes Leadership
and Oversight Changes
• Security Checks Affect Legal Immigration
• 9/11 Commission Urges Immigration and Border Reform
• Post-Sept. 11 Security Fears, Policies Seize Spotlight
• First Phase of US-VISIT Becomes Operational
• FBI, BICE Interview Iraqi-Born Immigrants; Entry-Exit Rules Changed
• Revamped Homeland Security Department to Incorporate INS Duties
• Spotlight on US Immigration Enforcement
• Spotlight on 'Special Registration' Program
• Secure Borders, Open Doors: Visa Procedures in the Post-September 11 Era
• Real Challenges for Virtual Borders: The Implementation of US-VISIT
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