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Homeland Security

25 January 2005

United States Outlines Vision for Immigration, Border Management

Coordination, cooperation, collaboration called key to mission

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a fact sheet January 25 outlining a vision for a 21st century immigration and border management system.

According to the department, the new system aims to make cross-border travel and in-country immigration activities simple and convenient for eligible, low-risk persons, and virtually impossible for those who seek to do harm or violate U.S. law.

Improvements will enhance the integrity of the U.S. immigration system and “scrupulously protect” the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. citizens and foreign visitors, according to the fact sheet.

“The future will be an environment in which all parties – federal, state, local, and foreign governments as well as the private sector – coordinate, cooperate and collaborate to achieve the immigration and border management mission.”

Text of the fact sheet follows:

(begin fact sheet)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

[Washington, D.C.]

January 25, 2005

Fact Sheet: Vision for 21st Century Immigration and Border Management System

US-VISIT and the Immigration and Border Management System

The US-VISIT office is responsible for developing and implementing a biometric entry/exit system to enhance the security of U.S. citizens and visitors while facilitating legitimate travel and trade, ensuring the integrity of the immigration system, and protecting visitors’ personal privacy.  US-VISIT is part of a continuum of security measures that begins overseas, and continues through their arrival and departure.

In this role, US-VISIT cooperates with the many organizations – governmental and non-governmental, foreign and domestic – that support the immigration system of the United States and the management of U.S. borders.  Although responsibilities for immigration and border management are spread across multiple organizations, these organizations share common goals and missions.  For the government to fully meet its commitments to its citizens, these organizations need to coordinate activities and function in a collaborative, unified way.

A Common Vision and Strategy

Recognizing that cooperation begins with a shared vision and strategy, US-VISIT is working with representatives from across the immigration and border management system to formulate a common vision and strategic plan for how the U.S. Government will most effectively manage immigration and its borders in the 21st century.  Our common vision and strategy will include not only a vision for the 21st Century of how business processes, facilities and information technology will function together in the future, but also a plan to implement this vision.

Mission

This common vision and strategy is the foundation for a common mission.  Effective immigration and border management is fundamental for both the prosperity and security of the United States.  It is vital in our free and open society that Americans have confidence in the security of our borders.  In addition, the efficient and expeditious flow of commerce into and out of the United States underpins our free market economy. 

Our common mission is to both protect the country from those who wish to do it harm or violate its laws, and to facilitate legitimate travel, trade, and immigration.  Working together, the organizations and agencies responsible for immigration and border management will ensure that these two equally important imperatives are met continuously and simultaneously.

Vision

The vision for effective, collaborative immigration and border management can perhaps be best understood from two complementary points of view:

From the Public’s Perspective

Focused on Individuals and their Intentions:  A person who needs help on an issue from multiple government agencies, receives help that is facilitated by cross-agency business processes.

 

Streamlined Interactions:  A person’s experience with the Government will be simple, characterized by minimal forms, easy access to relevant information, and minimal waiting.

Knowledge-Based Facilitation:  The more that is known about a person in advance the faster that person will move through the system while those who are not known will receive increased scrutiny.  People will be given the opportunity to provide information to the Government in advance that would afford them faster, more efficient travel through the system.

From the Government’s Perspective

Shared and Complete Information:  All appropriate information about an individual will be provided to decision-makers when and where they need it.

Advanced Insight and Decision-Making:  Decisions will be made at the optimal time and place, aided by advanced tools and supporting analysis.  In many cases, eligibility decisions will be made as easy and as far from the U.S. border as possible, extending the virtual border.

Improved Officer Focus:  Officers will be relieved of routine administrative processing duties and allowed to focus on higher-risk and lesser-known persons.

Data-Informed Policy:  Policy makers will have access to the data and analysis necessary to hold effective public data and accurately inform policy development.

System Flexibility: The systems will be flexible to deal with intelligence and changing threats in a real-time way.

The result will be a future state in which cross-border travel and in-country immigration activities are simple and convenient for eligible, low-risk persons, and virtually impossible for those who seek to do harm or violate U.S. laws.  It will be a state in which decision-makers have complete access to the information they need, when and where they need it, to make the best, most informed decision every time.  It will be an environment where technology is used to address the challenges posed by volume, speed, and distance and where best practices from across the Government and private sector are shared and leveraged.

The future will be an environment in which all parties – federal, state, local, and foreign governments as well as the private sector – coordinate, cooperate and collaborate to achieve the immigration and border management mission.  These improvements will enhance the integrity of our immigration system and scrupulously protect the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. citizens and foreign visitors.

(end fact sheet)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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