A bill that would have mandated biometric tracking of foreigners to the U.S. was defeated by a Senate panel, according to The Hill. The Republican amendment would have required a biometric entry and exit system at ports of entry before granting permanent legal status to 11 million illegal immigrants as part of the new immigration reform efforts.
Biometric entry has been in place at U.S. airports and other border crossing starting in 2004. The US-VISIT program has been collecting fingerprint data from foreign travelers and running them through a watch list.
Gathering biometrics when a traveler exits the U.S. has been a more difficult task. Numerous pilots have not demonstrated a system that works well and gathers the proper information from all travelers.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) sponsored the amendment and said that the biometric system is necessary because 40% of illegal immigrants have overstayed their visas.
But the cost might be too great for biometric exit, says Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). He warned the proposal could cost as much as $25 billion to implement and said biometric tracking systems have experienced problems in test runs.
Read the full story here.