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BPC’s Immigration Task Force Finds That Entry-Exit Systems Are Flawed; Bipartisan, Congressional Reform Still Needed

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Today the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a new staff paper, Entry-Exit System: Progress, Challenges, and Outlook. The paper looks at the critical role that an entry-exit system plays in enforcing immigration laws as well as in helping to keep criminals and terrorists from entering the country.

The paper found a lack of the infrastructure to inspect departing vehicles on the U.S. southern land border. Most ports of entry do not have sufficient space to build up the exit infrastructure. In terms of biometric solutions, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is assessing new technologies to capture biometric data upon entry-exit. However, these technologies have not yet proven operable in real-world environments.

“Improving our nation’s border security is a critical component of immigration reform,” said former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, a member of BPC’s Immigration Task Force. “However, implementing an entry-exit system is complicated and requires capturing accurate information about who is entering and leaving the country without creating lengthy delays and excessive backups that can harm the legitimate and necessary flow of commerce.”

“Our immigration system is broken,” said Al Cardenas, chair of the American Conservative Union and a member of BPC’s task force. “People continue to distrust President Obama’s desire or willingness to enforce the law. But the most effective way to ensure strong enforcement is to fix the system – not only how we secure the border but also how hard-working people can enter the country legally.”

So much has changed since we substantively reformed immigration policy last in 1990 – not just the technologies of entry-exit systems, but our economy, too,” said BPC Immigration Task Force Co-Chair and former Governor Ed Rendell. “The time is now for Congress to act – elections or not.”

This is the latest paper in a series of staff analyses on a variety of immigration topics. The BPC Immigration Task Force is developing more detailed recommendations that will be released later this year.

“We believe these analyses not only help inform our task force discussions but also help stakeholders in immigration debate better understand these complicated issues,” said Theresa Brown, BPC’s director of immigration policy. “We remain optimistic that action on reform will happen this year.”

For links to other reports and analyses, please visit www.bipartisanpolicy.org/immigration. Join the discussion on Twitter, using @BPC_Bipartisan, #immigration.