Visa checks strain security

Commerce and tourism travel will be disrupted without a significant increase in the number of government workers available to screen foreign travelers during peak travel periods, business leaders and federal officials warned Congress this month.

At Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia, 800 to 1,000 international passengers arrive per hour, and that number will increase to 2,000 in the summer, David Plavin, president of the Airports Council International-North America, testified at a hearing of the House Government Reform Committee.

People entering the country on a visa are digitally fingerprinted and photographed, and the results are compared with a watch list using the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator (U.S. Visit) system.

Homeland Security Department officials said U.S. Visit processing takes about 15 seconds, which Plavin called "an ambitious goal."


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