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January 05, 2004
I haven’t quite made up my mind on whether this program to fingerprint and photograph incoming foreign visitors is necessary, yet. But the initial idea and my initial reaction was a shuddering “ick.”
It has a cute name - US-VISIT or Us-Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (???) so that's a red flag right there.
To spend $7 billion (or $20B according to the GAO) to give every visitor the arrested and booked experience isn’t the kind of first impression I want to make as a country.
The $7B figure did not include provisions for the extra manpower that would be needed for the delays. That would be a per-passenger delay of 15 seconds, Tom Ridge says. There are 500 million people that fly into the United States each year. I don’t kow if this refers to simply foreign visitors or includes Americans. I heard it on the radio. (hint it wasn't on the AM dial). The figure in this story puts the number of foreign visitors at 24 million.
And PS, I completely applaud Brazil's efforts to start the same thing, though I can agreew they have different reasons for doing so.
By the way, "Officials have said false hits on the system have been less than 0.1 percent in trial runs."
Using the AP figure that's only 24,000 people.
Like I said, I haven't decided whether I'm against the program. I do know I am against the idea and the need for the program and share the sorrow of millions that the situation has come to this.