The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed an amendment to the immigration reform bill that would require foreigners leaving the country to submit to fingerprinting in order to catch those overstaying their visas.
“We fingerprint people before they come into the country, that’s in the entry system but we don’t read it when they exit and that’s the hole in the system,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said.
An estimated 40 percent of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants overstayed their visas. The amendment calls for a fingerprinting system to be in place within two years at 10 of the nation’s busiest airports for international travel, including Kennedy Airport and Newark Airport.
Another 20 airports would be brought in within six years under the measure, including LaGuardia Airport.
Sessions voted against the amendment saying that it can be implemented now at 150 airports and ports of entry. A 2009 report by the Department of Homeland Security showed that border patrol agents and airport screeners used portable machines and caught 175 people on a terrorist watch list and 60 overstays.
“It’s a good start and once we see how the program works we can scale it out further,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who supported the amendment.
The committee last week rejected an amendment by Sessions to fully implement a biometric screening system. After Sessions’ amendment failed, one of the authors of the immigration bill, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced publicly that he regretted the failure of Sessions’ amendment and would continue pushing for a biometric system to be put in place. The passage of Hatch’s amendment Monday allows authors of the legislation to argue that they’re working to boost security provisions in the bill as Rubio and others have said is necessary to ensure its passage.
Read more at the NEW YORK POST.