Machines not ready for tough border policy
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The Immigration and Naturalization Service today begins a tough border-crossing policy but lacks the machines needed to read high-tech laser visa cards now required of Mexican nationals.

Without the equipment, border agents will have to inspect the cards visually, rendering the added security and anti-fraud features useless. As many as 60 percent who cross the border, however, don't have the cards anyway.

The cards were mandated by Congress in 1996. At the time, INS didn't know what equipment it would need to read them.

INS finally requested the money two years ago but Congress has yet to act. INS has subsequently asked to delay instituting the new policy at least twice, said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), former chairman of the House immigration subcommittee.

The policy could affect paperless members of the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona, some of whom live in Mexico. Also, some members who were born in the United States lack documentation to prove their citizenship.

Congress is considering a bill to make all tribal members American citizens.

Get the Story:
Border Not Ready for ID Cards (AP 9/29)

Get the Bill:
To clarify the citizenship eligibility for certain members of the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona, and for other purposes (H.R.1502)

Related Stories:
Border policy could affect Tohono O'odham (9/27)
Tohono O'odham elder dies (8/29)
O'odham citizenship bill pushed (6/29)
O'odham delegation on way to D.C. (5/31)
Tribe protests border policies (5/29)
Citizenship for Mexican O'odham sought (1/12)