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U.S. Changes Policy For Crossing Mexican Border

March 05, 2004  | 

The Bush administration has changed its plans to require many Mexican nationals crossing the border from Mexico into the United States for short trips to be fingerprinted and photographed.

This change comes after Mexican President Vicente Fox visited President Bush’s Texas ranch. Fox was reportedly upset that under the original plan Mexicans would have to be fingerprinted and photographed while Canadians crossing into the U.S. would not.

Currently, Mexicans who have been given “laser visas” are allowed to stay in the country three days as long as they stay close to the border. They have been screened and fingerprinted and photographed. They are not required to go through this process every time they cross the border.

But the US-VISIT program would have required these people to always be fingerprinted and photographed before crossing to the United States. The new plan removes this stipulation from the policy.

US-VISIT was devised as a way to keep known terrorists from entering the country. The first part of the plan took effect in January. It requires that people from certain countries traveling on visas and entering the U.S. at many major airports and seaports be fingerprinted and photographed. The program will be added to 50 landports later this year.

The revised plan calls for machines that can read the laser visas’ information to be installed at the 50 busiest landports.

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