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The Practical Nomad blog: USA visitor fingerprint and photo database to include travel data

Bad news for many international visitors to the USA: Most visitors to the USA, arriving at airports or seaports, who require visas

… — apparently including all transit passengers changing planes in the USA en route between other countries — will have digital photographs and fingerprint scans enterred into their “travel record” in a new database, the “Arrival/Departure Information System (ADIS)”.

It's still not clear whether any of the data the DHS is now obtaining from international airlines (in violation of European Union and other countries' laws) will be included with fingerprints and photos in the ADIS database of travel records —

the DHS press release is vague as to the “travel records” to be included, and I haven't found the Privacy Act statement for the system (if there even is one, since the system will only be used on non-citizens of the USA).

Visitors from the small minority of countries (mostly wealthy European countries with predominantly white-skinned Christian populations) that the USA allows to participate in the “Visa Waiver Program” will also be exempt foorm the new indignities of fingerprinting and photographing on entry and exit — at least for initially. Along with the new personal interview requirements for all USA visas, the new procedures will increase the difference between the treatment given visitors from countries the USA considers first-class and second-class, and reduce visits from the latter.

Doesn't all this make you eager to come to the USA for your next holiday?

Besides being lousy on basic principles, this will be terrible for Miami, both in its status as a major transit hub to/from South American and especially as a vacation destination for Latin Americans.

There probably are no constitutional issues here, since would-be visitors have no rights until they either are admitted to the US or successfully sneak in. The exciting legal stuff happens when these rules are extended to US citizens. Or when we discover that the next terrorist was legally admitted despite all this expense and discomfort.

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