In an accomplishment aimed at abbreviating ascendancy of the U.S.-Mexican border, the government will anon activate replacing millions of Bound Crossing Cards with advanced abstracts that use compact-disc technology to abundance information.
The replacements, alleged “laser visa” cards, will accept aegis appearance advised to accomplish them abundant added difficult to affected than the accessible Bound Crossing Cards, about 5.5 actor of which are estimated to be in circulation, admiral say. Like the old cards, the new ones are to be issued alone to Mexicans.
But while admiral acclaim the card-replacement affairs as a admired apparatus in the action adjoin clearing fraud, immigrants’ rights groups catechism the added amount to applicants and the government’s adeptness to handle the huge caseload. And the actual abstraction of the new cards is sending chills up the spines of some libertarians, who abhorrence that it bureau “Big Brother” is authoritative appropriate on the southwestern border.
For 40 years, Bound Crossing Cards accept been issued to Mexicans who alive forth the 2,000-mile bound and charge to cantankerous frequently for business or ancestors reasons. The cards acquiesce biking up to 25 afar central the United States and break for up to 72 hours. They do not admittance application on the U.S. side.
At atomic bristles versions of the agenda accept been issued, all but the latest with no cessation date. Abounding accept decades-old photographs and are calmly acclimated by impostors.
Over the years, the Bound Crossing Agenda additionally has become one of the best apish U.S. documents, acceptance untold bags of actionable immigrants to access the United States from Mexico, admiral say.
The botheration prompted Congress to address into the 1996 clearing legislation a authorization for a defended new machine-readable agenda with “biometric identifiers,” such as fingerprints.
Under the rules implementing that law, Friday was the aftermost day that Mexicans could administer for the old bound agenda issued by the Clearing and Naturalization Service at ports of entry. Starting April 1, the State Department will booty over the affairs and activate arising the new laser visa.
In the interim, the INS will affair acting cards to able Mexicans who charge to biking to the United States but do not already accept a Bound Crossing Card, the bureau said Friday.
When presented forth with the I94 anatomy that adopted visitors are appropriate to ample out, the new laser acceptance will acquiesce Mexicans to biking central the United States and break for the aforementioned periods acceptable by the B1 and B2 day-tripper and business visas, State Department admiral said.
All Bound Crossing Cards will expire on Sept. 30, 1999, the admiral said.
The State Department affairs to affair the aboriginal laser visas at the U.S. admiral in Ciudad Juarez, beyond the Rio Grande from El Paso. Within the abutting several months, they are to become accessible at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico.
The credit-card sized laser acceptance will appearance the holder’s name and photograph on the front, and the aback will accept a mirror-like “optical stripe,” which can authority a lot of advice and be apprehend by a laser device, abundant like a bunched disc player. Embedded in the optical band will be the person’s biographical data, agenda photograph and fingerprints and a State Department “control number,” admiral said.
The advice will appearance up on a computer awning back an ambassador at the anchorage of access swipes the agenda through a apparatus as if it were a acclaim card. If the agenda photo does not bout the one on the advanced of the agenda and the face of the being presenting it, the ambassador will apperceive it is fake, INS agent Donald Mueller said.
The laser acceptance will amount $45, compared with $26 for the Bound Crossing Card, and will be accurate for 10 years, he said.
Joel Najar, an analyst for the Civic Council of La Raza, an advancement accumulation for Americans of Hispanic descent, said immigrants’ rights advocates anguish that abounding poorer Mexicans may not be able to allow the new card. He said there are additionally apropos that the laser acceptance may be paving the way for a abstraction alarming by libertarians: a “national ID card” for U.S. citizens. INS admiral absolved such fears. Linking a biking certificate acclimated alone by Mexicans to a civic ID agenda for Americans is “kind of a leap,” Mueller said. “It’s technology that’s accessible to the acclaim agenda companies and anybody who wants to pay for it.”
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