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Last login: Friday, March 15, 2013
The author of this article is wrong on the following statement: "At the southern ports of entry customs agents document the entry of all travelers." First of all, there is no such thing as "customs agents." The officers working the border (ports of entry) are Customs & Border Protection officers, i.e., customs AND immigration. Customs does not exist as a separate entity (there is no longer a Customs Service). The officers are not "agents," agents are Border Patrol agents or ICE Special Agents. You might say this is quibbling, but it's important to get the facts right. More importantly, the CBP officers do NOT document the entry of all travelers. American citizens are not documented at all, although they are required to prove citizenship. Most aliens are not documented either. The majority are border crossers, i.e, in possession of a border crossing card. They are only documented if they intend to leave the immediate border area or stay more than 3 days.
The statement that DHS is fairly successful at tracking arrivals at airports (well, of course, they have to go through a visa check) is true, but what's the basis of his statement that departures are tracked well? Aliens are simply required to turn in their paper Arrival/Departure Record at check-in, but no one follows up to see whether that was done (no government official validates this requirement). Congress has mandated that records be kept of arrivals and departures, but as the article says, this isn't easy.
March 15, 2013 at 10:12 a.m.
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