DHS to issue new Sentri cards

Travelers along the border betweent the United States and Mexico participating in the Homeland Security Department's SENTRI identification card program will be receiving new, upgraded ID cards by July, agency officials announced.

The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection program serves about 165,000 pre-registered travelers who frequently cross between the United States and Mexico. The new cards must be activated by visiting a SENTRI Web site within 30 days.

The new cards will have additional security features in addition to long-range radio frequency identification tags, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Brian Levin said. Typically, long-range RFID can be read at 20 to 30 feet.

CBP is not releasing further details on the security features, spokeswoman Joanna Ferreira said. "We cannot really talk about it because the features are for security. Some can be seen, some cannot."

The new SENTRI cards will serve as approved border-crossing documents under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative going into effect in June 2009, according to a news release.

The SENTRI program was initiated in 1995 in Otay Mesa, Calif., and has grown to include 16 lanes at San Ysidro, Calif.; Calexico, Calif.; Nogales, Ariz.; two crossings in El Paso, Texas; and the Texas ports of Laredo, Hidalgo and Brownsville.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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