Surveillance Measures Criticized
By Karina Valencia
May 21, 2003
Beginning in January 2004, fingerprinting machines and cameras
will greet those tourists who wish to enter the United States. This
was more or less how Asa Hutchinson, head of border control of the
United States Department of National Security, announced the new
program U.S. VISIT on Monday.
The system, designed to stop terrorists from accessing the country
and to control the whereabouts of every visitor by means of stricter
surveillance, has brought with it both positive and negative opinions
from several organizations.
Among them is the community organization Tepeyac. Esperanza Chacón,
Director of Social Services for the organization, is said to be
preoccupied with the newly implanted measures, above all after the
quantity of changes that the Department has passed.
There is a state of absolute control. After September 11th
many of our civil liberties have been cut, said Chacón,
adding that the monitoring of tourists will gravely affect the countrys
This is insulting to visitors. Nobody will like to be treated
like criminal suspects. People are going to visit other countries,
Anthony Maloni, of Immigration Advocacy Program, had a similar
opinion. This will hurt tourism and the economy more than
anything, because many people will not want to go through this odyssey,
Hutchinson added that by means of this system, the government will
be able to detect when a visitor exceeds his or her period of stay,
and will easily be able to locate them. Immigrants have greatly
contributed to our nation. Nevertheless, today we face new dangers.
Unfortunately some who cross our border do not necessarily seek
freedom, rather they seek an opportunity to debilitate the United
On the other hand, Michele Waslin, of the National Council of La
Raza, said that they did not think that the Department would be
ready to implement said system. There are limited resources
to register all immigrants if we want to use these resources to
search for terrorists.
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Triggs
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