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Homeland Security To Scan Citizens Exiting US 676

Posted by timothy
from the subtle-messages dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States. From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta. The controversial plan to scan outgoing passengers — including US citizens — was allegedly hatched under the Bush Administration. An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants."
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Homeland Security To Scan Citizens Exiting US

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  • Idiocy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:29PM (#28132025)

    "An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants"

    Why not just let them leave? And bar them when they try to come back. What is the point of catching someone you don't want in the country when they are leaving it??

    • Re:Idiocy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:37PM (#28132131) Journal
      Probably because we don't actually seem to care much.

      On the other hand, the fact that a fair few Americans are more xenophobic than they are freedom-loving presents a golden opportunity...
    • by EkriirkE (1075937)
      Perhaps they meant emigrate?
    • Re:Idiocy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stuart Gibson (544632) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:53PM (#28132301) Homepage

      I'm more interested in what they're going to do if I refuse? Throw me out of the country?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488)

      Why not just let them leave? And bar them when they try to come back.

      Apparently, they already failed at that once. I don't understand this move, but once again it's clear that the US borders are not a privacy dream. Next up: state borders and continental air travel?

      I'm so glad I'm not American.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by suman28 (558822)
      I didn't realize that people that took so many pains entering the U.S. illegally, took planes back to their country so frequently or so easily. "Yeah, it took me 2 weeks of walking the Arizona desert, in 120 degree heat and I almost died of thirst and hunger, and being chased by dogs, vultures, and minute men, but let me go by plane to see my family, and make the same exciting and adventurous trip back". Maybe some people do that, but I can't see how many illegal people would travel this way. This clearly
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:29PM (#28132029)

    You can see how they take little baby steps. One at a time. In ten years imagine what will be happening.

  • At this point the only people not recorded are child molesters living under bridges, oh, wait.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:31PM (#28132057)

    All countries exercise at least some control over who can enter, but there's only one kind of country that erects barriers to who can leave. How long until you guys build a wall? Oh, apparently you've started already. [globalsecurity.org]

    • by nokiator (781573) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:50PM (#28132265) Journal
      Welcome to East Germany 2.0!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spooje (582773)
      Actually Japan does this all the time. If you're trying to leave and they found out you over stayed your visa they'll arrest, try and imprison you for the maximum amount of time then deport you. I had trouble leaving once because a government agency kept my foreigner card. I had to wait in custody about an hour, making the plane late before they decided to let me go.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:58PM (#28132383)

      Saying who can and can't enter is, well, part of being an nation. I would place it akin to an individual being able to decide who can and can't enter their home. Part of being a sovereign nation is you need to be able to decide who is allowed to come in.

      However not being able to leave? Well again I'd say it is like a private individual and while you can tell me I can't come in to your house, once you've let me in you have to let me out when I want to go. Barriers for exit are things that are normally associated with extremely oppressive societies. The USSR had very strict border control and it was more to keep their populace in than to keep foreigners out. Thus I see this as a step down a very bad path.

      It also raises some serious legal questions for people like me. I am a citizen of two nations, the US and Canada. I have a right to go to either nation. So is it legal for the US to say "No, you can't go to Canada,"? Who are they to tell me I can't go to my country?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BikeHelmet (1437881)

        The USSR had very strict border control and it was more to keep their populace in than to keep foreigners out. Thus I see this as a step down a very bad path.

        You might be interested in this video:

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1294790/ [imdb.com]

        It presents some interesting info on Fascism, and the parallels that have been appearing between the US and Germany(of the past).

        Even if you disagree with it (unlikely), it educates on what to watch out for. The rights of the US citizen are slowly slipping away.

  • totalitarianism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by u4ya (1248548) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:32PM (#28132067) Homepage
    it keeps creeping in, step by step, for as long as enough of us remain silent.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sweatyboatman (457800) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .namtaobytaews.> on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:33PM (#28132079) Homepage Journal

    "We are trying to ensure we know more about who came and who left," [Michael Hardin] said. "We have a large population of illegal immigrants in the United States - we want to make sure the person getting on the plane really is the person the records show to be leaving."

    huh? so the epidemic of people pretending to leave the country on commercial flights by booking flights and sending doppelgangers in their place is finally over! rejoice Americans! we are all now super safe!

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @08:12PM (#28132517) Journal
      I think he is being honest, as weird as it sounds. Think about it, why was the DHS formed? Why does it seem so incompetent?

      Originally Bush was opposed to it, but under congressional pressure relented and agreed to its creation. Ever since then it has done almost nothing except......export illegal immigrants. It does that a lot. So I am theorizing that Bush thought, "Fine. They can build the organization and call it whatever they want, but since I'm in charge, it will DO what I want." And what he wanted was to get rid of illegal immigrants. So that's what happened. Besides a few token operations to live up to its name, it focuses almost entirely on getting rid of illegal immigrants. Has nothing to do with security.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LaskoVortex (1153471)

        Besides a few token operations to live up to its name, [DHS] focuses almost entirely on getting rid of illegal immigrants. Has nothing to do with security.

        Not any more. Why was the DHS at the tax day tea parties in several cities? Here's [infowars.com] one example. This is an agency used by the party ruling the executive branch to intimidate supporters of the opposing party. It was used that way under Bush and sadly is apparently used that way under Obama.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          You linked to a site sponsored by illuminati conspiracy theorists and homeopathic medicine providers. That's hardly a reliable source. I would trust slashdot before I'd trust that site, and that's saying something.
  • Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:35PM (#28132099)

    None of the illegal immigrants I've ever met have arrived by airplane.

    This leaves two options: either these guys are really stupid, or the real goal is different from the stated goal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      None of the illegal immigrants I've ever met have arrived by airplane

      Not necessarily. There may be people arriving legally on student or tourist visas, and then overstaying them (sometimes permanently).

      Still, the way the justification was fomulated leads me to believe something was not said.

  • B frankin S (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah this seems like a real efficient way to catch illegal immigrants, I'm sure most of the come to the U.S. to catch international flights from Atlanta and Detroit. That's how dumb the government knows the average person is.

  • How do you get a U.S. passport if you're an illegal alien? Do they not do their homework when they review applications? I mean, come on. Not only has the application fee gone sky high, but now as a U.S. citizen -with a valid passport- you must be subjected this indignity as well. Honestly!
    • by Roy Ward (14216) <royward770&actrix,co,nz> on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:44PM (#28132193)

      As someone who occasionally visits your country (with a New Zealand passport and valid work visa), I can tell you that all non-US citizens are already subject to this indignity, for no better reasons than you will be. It's unfortunately just the next step (I've never been fingerprinted going into any other country, or any other time at all for that matter).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Aceticon (140883)

        I've been to the US many years ago, before 9/11 - I still have a US Visa in my passport (not needed anymore).

        Since then I've moved countries twice and went on vacations (and sometimes business) to countless countries.

        Yet I've never again been to the US - I purposefully refuse to travel there because of things like this and I've even been offered a job in Silicon Valley a couple of years ago.

        20 or 30 years ago the USA was a nation admired by the vast majority of people out there - a land of dreams for many,

  • So how exactly does me LEAVING the country potentially flag me as an illegal immigrant?! Shouldn't you be scanning me as I ENTER the country?!

  • Free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Longjmp (632577) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:42PM (#28132167)
    U.S. of A. the Land Of The Free. Sorry, just couldn't resist.
    • Re:Free (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cptdondo (59460) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:45PM (#28132207) Journal

      No shit. I was born under communism; I vividly recall the grade school lectures about leaving the country being a crime.

      We left there to the land of the free. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would live to see the day when borders in formerly communist nations are no more and Americans must present the proper papers and fingerprints! to leave the country.

      • Now you know.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by msimm (580077) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @08:24PM (#28132681) Homepage
        we hated the USSR out of jealously. And now look at how swiftly we race to embrace statism.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mashiki (184564)

        It's funny, my mother is a East-German child. Grew up the first 15yrs of her life there, and happily tells me tales of what life was like. I read the article, and felt my BP shoot up about 40pts sitting here, the thought of Americans and someone saying "Papers"(or fingerprints) is chilling.

        I didn't think I'd live to see such a flip either. This type of shit is insane, so who let what bat-shit nuts go wild down in the US anyway? Afraid of government? Hell you're letting it walk all over you.

  • why they would want to fingerprint those who are leaving, unless they eventually plan to fingerprint those who are arriving as well.
  • What if you refuse? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmv (93421) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:51PM (#28132277) Homepage

    When you come in to the US, they tell you that you don't have to comply with the checks, but that if you don't you can't enter. So what if you refuse to comply with that one? You can't leave?

  • What shoudl happen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EkriirkE (1075937) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:54PM (#28132313) Homepage
    I would love to see a backlash or movement for when this takes effect to have people install de-fingerprinting kiosks outside the airports... maybe offering a swipe of super glue before entry to the airport. If only a few people do this it wont work so well, but if masses do it...???
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:56PM (#28132341)

    You know, I'm a Canadian, and ten years ago, I would have voted to join the US. I felt that Americans recognised the value of their freedoms and that they had, and would fight to keep, a more free society than just about anywhere else on Earth. Today, I won't even travel there. It reminds me of all those B movies just after WW2 "Achtung! Show me your papers". How could y'all have just let this happen ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arthurpaliden (939626)

      "How could y'all have just let this happen ?"

      To see how it happened rent the movie "V for Vendeta". It explains it quite nicely.

  • by bagorange (1531625) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @07:58PM (#28132361)
    "Why do you hate America?"(TM) so much that you want to leave?
  • Now youll know (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexborges (313924) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @08:02PM (#28132429)

    How it feeels.

  • by superdave80 (1226592) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @08:06PM (#28132465)

    Brave Homeland Security Officer: Place your thumb here.
    Traveler: Ok.
    *Presses thumb to scanner*
    Brave Homeland Security Officer: Ah-ha! This says that you are in this country illegally! I've got you now!
    Traveler/Illegal immigrant: Sooooo... since I'm not allowed to be in this country, do you want me to get on my plane and leave, or what?
    Brave Homeland Security Officer: Yes! And, um, never come back! That'll teach you!
    Traveler/Illegal immigrant: Yes, this punishment of being delayed from my flight for 30 seconds has surely made me so uncomfortable that I won't ever sneak back into this country. You win.

  • Your Papers, Please (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kylben (1008989) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @08:08PM (#28132483) Homepage

    it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants."

    The only way fingerprinting could possibly aid in tracking illegal immigrants is if it was used to track every single US citizen and legal alien. Then anyone caught on the street without their fingerprints in the system is by definition illegal. And even that is only useful if people are routinely fingerprinted on the street. I'm pretty sure there's a name for that kind of system.

    The more likely use, down the road a (very short) way, is to make emigration illegal, or at least restricted. There's a name for places where that happens, too.

    Everybody likes to talk about police states in the past tense, or in the abstract. Nobody expects the Spa... the real dictatorships. They aren't created all at once out of the blue, and they're seldom openly announced as such.

  • by pbrooks100 (778828) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @08:12PM (#28132521)
    Time to start taking capecitabine... http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/28/1617225&from=rss [slashdot.org]
  • Movie Idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by arthurpaliden (939626) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @08:23PM (#28132671)
    In the early years of The War on Terror, the American city of Cincinnati attracts people from all over the United States. Many are transients trying to get out on the next plane to Canada or even Europe, a few are just trying to make a buck...Two DHS couriers have been killed and the letters of transit they were carrying have gone missing. These letters are blank and represent freedom for two, all the action centers around a cafe ....
  • Detroit and Atlanta (Score:3, Informative)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @09:31PM (#28133385)
    Detroit and Atlanta are both Delta hubs. So you can avoid this "pilot" by choosing a different airline to leave the US ... at least until the "pilot" expands.
  • by adiemus (10712) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @11:14PM (#28134227) Homepage

    TFA seems to be wrong about this including US citizens. While I think fingerprinting anyone, citizen or not, coming into the country isn't something we should be doing, and certainly not when exiting, the bit about fingerprinting exiting US citizens is found nowhere other than in the article from IT News Australia. The actual DHS press release is very specific that this is a planned extension to US-VISIT and, as such, only applies to non-US-citizens:

    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=AUSASAIR.story&STORY=/www/story/05-28-2009/0005034173&EDATE=THU+May+28+2009,+01:22+PM [prnewswire.com]

    Several additional articles all clearly indicating that this applies only to non-citizens:

    http://www.fcw.com/Articles/2009/05/27/Web-US-VISIT-pilots.aspx [fcw.com]
    http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20090528_7835.php?oref=rss [nextgov.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hays (409837)

      Indeed, the original article has been updated with an editor's note now to indicate that it does not apply to US citizens. The summary needs to be clarified.

  • Editor's Note (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 29, 2009 @12:25AM (#28134677)

    Did anyone see the Editor's note? Should probably update the Post.

    Editors Note - This story originally contained a representation that the biometrics trial in Atlanta and Detroit included the fingerprint scanning of US citizens. This has since been proved to be incorrect and the story has been modified - only non-US citizens will be expected to provide a biometric record.

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