U.S. Ups Overseas Airport Screening

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent stands watch as a crowd of overseas visitors to the U.S. wait in line to pass through Customs January 5, 2004 at JFK airport in New York City. Today, JFK began taking finger scans and photographs of people entering the U.S. for the purpose of checking against terrorist watch lists. U.S. citizens and holders of green cards, as well as individuals from 27 countries whose citizens are not required to obtain visas to travel to U.S. are exempt from the requirement. The system, called US-VISIT, for United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, will be implemented at 115 American airports and 14 seaports.

The Obama administration has implemented new Customs and Border Control procedures that require visitors to the U.S. and those returning home to undergo screening before they reach the country. At airports in Ireland, Madrid, Panama, and Japan, passengers are being searched for explosives and undergoing customs checks before they even get on a plane—in addition to the respective airports’ security procedures already in place. The new American system is an attempt to tighten security after al Qaeda’s several attempts to place bombs on planes headed for America.