Statement on the Passage of the Border Security Bill

April 23, 2002

Washington, D.C.– The Americans for Better Borders coalition (ABB) today hailed the House’s final passage of HR 3525, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, following Senate approval last week, and urges the President to quickly sign the measure into law.

“This legislation is a huge step forward for protecting our national security and our economic security,” said Randel K. Johnson, ABB Chair and Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “By looking at border security in an intelligent way, utilizing technology, sharing information, and moving our borders outward through cooperation with our North American neighbors, this bill provides the right prescription for improving our borders and closing the holes.”

The bill will mandate development of an interoperable database of information to be shared by border, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It will also introduce biometrics to U.S. immigration and travel documents, authorize additional inspectors for our ports of entry, and mandate advance passenger information at our air and sea ports. The bill will also strengthen the visa waiver program by improving the reporting of stolen passports from participating countries, and requiring those countries to begin issuing biometric travel documents.

“The bill does contain ambitious deadlines for the implementation of these new programs that will require generous and sustained appropriations to be met. We call on Congress to meet the obligations it has imposed and fully fund this bill over the next several years,” added Johnson.

Americans for Better Borders unites regional business organizations and a wide array of companies and national trade associations representing manufacturing, hospitality, tourism, transportation, recreation and other industry sectors to work to ensure the efficient flow of goods and people across our borders while addressing national security concerns.

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