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[IWS] CRS: BORDER SECURITY: IMMIGRATION INSPECTIONS AT PORTS OF ENTRY [26 January 2015]

IWS Documented News Service

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School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

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Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

Border Security: Immigration Inspections at Ports of Entry

Lisa Seghetti, Section Research Manager

January 26, 2015

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43356.pdf

[full-text, 41 pages]

 

Summary

About 362 million travelers (citizens and non-citizens) entered the United States in FY2013,

including about 102 million air passengers and crew, 18 million sea passengers and crew, and

242 million land travelers. At the same time about 205,000 aliens were denied admission at ports

of entry (POEs); and about 24,000 persons were arrested at POEs on criminal warrants.

 

Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s

(CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) is responsible for conducting immigration inspections at

America’s 329 POEs. CBP’s primary immigration enforcement mission at ports of entry is to

confirm that travelers are eligible to enter the United States and to exclude inadmissible aliens.

Yet strict enforcement is in tension with a second core mission: to facilitate the flow of lawful

travelers, who are the vast majority of persons seeking admission. A fundamental question for

Congress and DHS is how to balance these competing concerns.

 

In general, DHS and CBP rely on “risk management” to strike this balance. One part of the risk

management strategy is to conduct screening at multiple points in the immigration process,

beginning well before travelers arrive at U.S. POEs. DHS and other departments involved in the

inspections process use a number of screening tools to distinguish between known, low-risk

travelers and lesser-known, higher-risk travelers. Low-risk travelers may be eligible for expedited

admissions processing, while higher-risk travelers are usually subject to more extensive

secondary inspections.

 

As part of its dual mission and in support of its broader mandate to manage the U.S. immigration

system, DHS also is responsible for implementing an electronic entry-exit system at POEs.

Congress required DHS’ predecessor to develop an entry-exit system beginning in 1996, but the

implementation of a fully automated, biometric system has proven to be an elusive goal. The

current system collects and stores biographic entry data (e.g., name, date of birth, travel history)

from almost all non-citizens entering the United States, but only collects biometric data (e.g.,

fingerprints and digital photographs) from non-citizens entering at air or seaports, and from a

subset of land travelers that excludes most Mexican and Canadian visitors. With respect to exit

data, the current system relies on information sharing agreements with air and sea carriers and

with Canada to collect biographic data from air and sea travelers and from certain non-citizens

exiting through northern border land ports; but the system does not collect data from persons

exiting by southern border land ports and does not collect any biometric exit data. Questions also

have been raised about DHS’ ability to use existing entry-exit data to identify and apprehend visa

overstayers.

 

The inspections process and entry-exit system continue to be perennial issues for Congress and a

number of questions persist. Moreover, the scope of illegal migration through ports of entry, and

how Congress and DHS can minimize such flows without unduly slowing legal travel continue to

challenge policymakers and agency officials. The 114th Congress is considering legislation that

would increase the number of port personnel as well as require the completion of the entry-exit

system, a program that has been the subject of ongoing legislative activity since 1996, as

summarized in the Appendix to this report.

 

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Immigration Inspections: Policy Goals ............................................................................................ 2

Legislative History ........................................................................................................................... 4

Inspections for Admission ......................................................................................................... 4

Entry-Exit System: Legislative Requirements .......................................................................... 5

Travel Facilitation ...................................................................................................................... 6

The Immigration Inspections Process .............................................................................................. 6

Pre-travel Screening .................................................................................................................. 6

Primary Inspections ................................................................................................................. 10

Preclearance ...................................................................................................................... 11

I-94 Arrival/Departure Records ......................................................................................... 12

Secondary Inspections and Immigration Enforcement ............................................................ 12

Inspection Outcomes ......................................................................................................... 12

Immigration Enforcement ................................................................................................. 14

Random Compliance Examination (COMPEX) Program ................................................. 16

Trusted Traveler Programs ...................................................................................................... 18

Outbound Enforcement .................................................................................................................. 20

Entry-Exit System: Implementation .............................................................................................. 22

Entry-Exit Databases ............................................................................................................... 22

Collection of Entry Data .......................................................................................................... 23

Collection of Exit Data ............................................................................................................ 24

Overstay Analysis .................................................................................................................... 28

Issues for Congress ........................................................................................................................ 29

Screening for Infectious diseases at POEs .............................................................................. 29

Entry-Exit System: Issues for Congress .................................................................................. 31

Illegal Migration through Ports of Entry ................................................................................. 32

Port of Entry Infrastructure and Personnel .............................................................................. 33

Trusted Traveler Programs: Issues for Congress ..................................................................... 34

 

Tables

Table 1. CBP Primary and Secondary Inspections, by Mode of Entry, FY2005-FY2013 ............. 13

Table 2. Immigration Enforcement at Ports of Entry, Selected Outcomes .................................... 15

Table 3. Cumulative Membership in CBP Trusted Traveler Programs, FY2009-FY2013 ............ 20

Table 4. Annual Travelers Admitted, CBP Trusted Traveler Programs, FY2010-FY2013 ............ 20

Table 5. CBP Outbound Enforcement Seizures, FY2009-FY2013 ................................................ 21

 

Appendixes

Appendix. Entry-Exit System Legislation ..................................................................................... 36

 

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This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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