NEWS

United States and Spain Formalize Program to Identify "High-Risk" Travelers

By Matthew Harwood

The United States and Spain today formalized a program that identifies high-risk travelers at Madrid Barajas International Airport before they can board a flight to the United States.

“Protecting our nation from terrorism requires close coordination with our international allies,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano during the press conference with Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba announcing the agreement . “This collaboration enhances the capabilities of United States and Spain to facilitate legal travel and deter dangerous people attempting to enter our country.”

The Immigration Advisory Program (IAP) is part of Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) layered border security strategy to keep criminals, improperly documented aliens, and terrorists out of the United States.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the CBP's parent organization:

The arrangement will help combat the use of fraudulent travel documents, prevent terrorists and other criminals from entering the United States, disrupt alien smuggling and promote cooperation between DHS and the Ministry of the Interior ....

Since its implementation, IAP Madrid has identified or prevented the travel of 402 improperly documented travelers, intercepted 23 persons with fraudulent documents, and stopped 10 terrorism-related suspects.

According to the CBP's Web site, IAP officers use targeting and passenger and document analysis and assessment to determine whether a passenger is "high-risk." If deemed high-risk, the IAP officer will make a "no-board" recommendation to the airline and the host government.

The CBP says this carries two benefits: it prevents criminals and terrorists from entering the United States while saving the U.S. the cost of removal proceedings as well as the airlines the cost of sending the traveler back from where they embarked.

The IAP formerly existed as an extended pilot program at Barajas International Airport that began February 11, 2008. The program exists at these other international cities: Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Warsaw, Poland; London, the United Kingdom; Frankfurt, Germany; and Tokyo, Japan.

♦ Photo of Madrid Barajas International Airport by shioshvili/Flickr

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