immigration, integration, Philippines, travel, US, visa

Who’s in my country? That’s a tough one.

Philippines will deploy biometrics for documenting the arrival and departure of international travellers (FutureGov Asia)

BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr said the programme will enhance the country’s border security and boost the agency’s capability to thwart the entry of foreign terrorists and other illegal aliens.

The new scheme involves the use of an ink-less device and digital camera in capturing the fingerprints and photographs of the foreign visitors.

Doing something like this is easier for some countries than others. The Philippines has some advantages and challenges. Advantages include the lack of land borders with other countries. Since it’s an archipelago, they can be pretty sure that no one is walking or driving there, so except for clandestine boat or plane landings, covering the sea- and airports takes care of it. But there are a surprising (to me) number of those, so the integration challenges are real.

Also relevant to integrating the entry and exit points is the percentage of international travelers who enter a country through one international travel node and depart the country from another.

The more nodes, the more travelers, the more complex the travel patterns of international visitors, all of these things place additional pressures on any sort of entry/exit system and these complexities don’t necessarily increase as a linear function.

Of course all of this has bearing on the United States which has every challenge there is. It’s not surprising that, biometrics or no biometrics, the US lacks a comprehensive integrated entry/exit system. A couple of good pilot projects might go a long way towards getting an idea of the exact scope of some of the challenges, though.

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