The USA’s Ridiculous Border Controls

In order to keep New York attractive as an international financial center,

it has to be reasonably easy for foreigners to get in and out. Not that the

Department of Homeland Security seems to care. Already taking two fingerprints

from every non-citizen entering the country, the DHS has now announced

that it will require ten fingerprints at Dulles from November 29, and

at JFK and eight other airports in early 2008. Because heaven forfend anybody

coming through Dulles not be known to the Authorities by the fingerprint on

their left pinkie. Even if it means even longer lines to get into the country

at the airport.

But wait, it gets better. By the end of 2008, the Department of Homeland Security

wants to fingerprint everybody

exiting the country as well. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff pledged

as recently as September 5 that deadline would be met. Can you even imagine

where this fingerprinting might happen? The DHS wants the airlines to do it

at the gate, but they hate the idea, which would seem to positively guarantee

further delays. The alternative is to do it at the security screening, which

of course is such a pleasant breeze right now.

The really crazy thing is that all of this fingerprinting realistically achieves

nothing, at least unless and until it is implemented at the land borders with

Mexico and Canada as well. And there’s no

chance of that happening in the foreseeable future. So millions are inconvenienced

to no end. No wonder London is looking increasingly welcoming, Heathrow


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