New plan to fingerprint some airline passengers

Part of a new immigration reform bill

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tighter security measures could be landing at a south Florida airport near you. There is new talk of fingerprinting foreign passengers before they board flights out of the U.S.

Passenger Jasmine Stringer was flying from Palm Beach International to New York City Monday evening. Stringer says she is in favor of strict security measures - but only if they work. She said she is not so sure about a new U.S. Senate plan that would require the biometric fingerprinting of non U.S. citizens leaving this country in order to catch those who are overstaying their visas.

"People would know what airports are part of it and find loopholes," said Stringer.

Under the proposal, Miami International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airports would have to change their procedures. But these new security measures would not be coming to Palm Beach International Airport. Only the top 30 busiest U.S. airports would be required to make the change.

"The ones that aren't on that list suddenly become more attractive to terrorists," said former CIA Agent Brad Robinson, who now runs The Millennium Group , a private security firm in West Palm Beach. Robinson believes the fingerprinting is a good idea but that it needs to be enforced at all airports, not only the top 30. "If you don't make that top 30 list, you just went up a couple of notches in terms of potential terrorism targets," he said.

The proposal is part of a bi-partisan immigration bill. If approved, the nation's 10 busiest airports would have a fingerprinting system in place within two years. Within six years, it would be in place at the 30 busiest airports.
 

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