The Federal government could start fingerprinting all foreign nationals leaving the country at 30 American airports under a new proposal to the planned immigration reform bill.
An amendment to the bill, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 13-5 vote, would require a number of American airport departure terminals to install high-tech systems for fingerprinting foreign nationals and scanning their passports and visas. The airports — including JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty — would have between two and six years to fully implement the systems under the legislation.
Currently, foreign nationals are fingerprinted only upon entering the United States.
One of the amendment’s proponents, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), said that tracking people only entering — and not leaving — the Nation creates “a hole in the system.”
“Biometric data provides the government with certainty that travelers (and not just their travel documents) have or have not left the country,” the Senator’s office said in a statement.
Lawmakers say that one of the biggest benefits of the new process would be preventing foreigners from overstaying their visas by making sure that they have physically left the country through biometric means. An estimated 40 percent of America’s 11 million illegal aliens arrived in the country with now-expired visas.