Buffalo official takes aim at US-Canada biometric border plans

02/08/17

Rep. Chris Collins says that plans to install biometric checks at Buffalo's border with Canada must exclude US and Canadian citizens.

Collins foretold long backups would be if everyone crossing had to undergo biometric screening, speaking to local media this week.

He said new international border legislation, revised with his input, will prevent that sort of traffic nightmare from occurring. The new bill requires a biometric entry and exit system to be built at all border crossings, but American and Canadian citizens would be exempted from those tests.

"I can support biometrics on the Southern border and on the Northern border, as long as we're excluding Canadian and U.S." citizens, Collins said after touring Peace Bridge operations on the Canadian and U.S. sides.

Ron Rienas, the Peace Bridge Authority general manager, agrees with Collins.

"Biometrics, be it a fingerprint or an iris scan, at the border would basically grind the border to a halt," Rienas said.

In January, President Trump proposed an executive order on immigration that would have required biometric tests – most likely fingerprint or iris scans – for everyone entering and exiting the United States. But after Collins protested to then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Trump issued a revised executive order that scaled back the biometric screening requirement.

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