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Homeland Security Tracks U.S. Citizens Coming from Mexico

Homeland Security Tracks U.S. Citizens Coming from Mexico

Washington Post
August 20, 2008

The federal government has been using its system of border checkpoints to greatly expand a database on travelers entering the country by collecting information on all U.S. citizens crossing by land, compiling data that will be stored for 15 years and may be used in criminal and intelligence investigations.

Officials say the Border Crossing Information system, disclosed last month by the Department of Homeland Security in a Federal Register notice, is part of a broader effort to guard against terrorist threats. It also reflects the growing number of government systems containing personal information on Americans that can be shared for a broad range of law enforcement and intelligence purposes, some of which are exempt from some Privacy Act protections.

While international air passenger data has long been captured this way, Customs and Border Protection agents only this year began to log the arrivals of all U.S. citizens across land borders, through which about three-quarters of border entries occur.

The volume of people entering the country by land prevented compiling such a database until recently. But the advent of machine-readable identification documents, which the government mandates eventually for everyone crossing the border, has made gathering the information more feasible. By June, all travelers crossing land borders will need to present a machine-readable document, such as a passport or a driver’s license with a radio frequency identification chip.

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The Border Fence is a Scam

PBS
August 18, 2008

In 2006, Congress authorized the Secure Fence Act – a multi-billion dollar plan to build hundreds of miles of fencing along the southern border of the United States to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants and provide security from potential terrorism. But what was built to fight illegal immigration has turned into a nightmare for many Americans living along the U.S.-Mexico border. The fence, which will cover less than half of the actual border, inexplicably cuts through the middle of some properties, while leaving others untouched. Many question if it can keep people from sneaking in at all.

This week, NOW senior correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels to Texas to meet border families who fear losing their property, their safety, and their way of life. We also follow an investigative reporter who questions whether certain landowners are getting preferential treatment.

Is America’s border fence working, or an utter waste?

 


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