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Inspection of the Secure Electronic Network
for Travelers' Rapid Inspection

Report Number I-2000-019
June 2000


SENTRI and Section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform
and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996

Section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 mandated a major new requirement for INS that modifies the current inspection process at not only the nation's land ports-of-entry, but at every air and sea port-of-entry as well. Section 110 required INS to develop and implement a new system which would automatically collect entry and exit data at all land, air and sea ports-of-entry by September 30, 1998. In particular, this new automated system would:

Given the enormous infrastructure such an automated system would require and the significant technological challenges this poses to INS, Congress agreed in October 1998 to delay the implementation of Section 110 until April 2001. Congress also instructed INS to conduct a feasibility study on implementing Section 110 at land ports-of-entry. Since July 1998, INS has also tested various technologies in an effort to determine how best to meet Section 110 requirements.

Because of its use of radio frequency transponders and other automated technologies, SENTRI has been considered by some as a possible means for implementing the automated entry-exit control system required by Section 110. In July 1998, for example, congressional hearings were held to discuss the feasibility of employing SENTRI's technology as a way of meeting Section 110 requirements. Currently, SENTRI's automated operating system collects only entry data because the SENTRI lane is open only in the direction leading into the United States. To collect exit data, SENTRI would first have to be expanded to travelers exiting the United States. The INS, however, does not currently have plans to expand SENTRI to lanes leaving the United States. Nonetheless, INS is continuing to test various modifications to SENTRI's existing technology as well as other technologies in an effort to develop Section 110's required entry-exit control system.