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The US government is working on a unique identity for immigrants

(CNN) — The Biden administration will create a new identification card for immigrants that will serve as a single card to access immigration files and eventually be accepted by the Transportation Security Administration for travel, according to two Homeland Security (DHS) officials. )

The initiative is part of an ongoing effort by the Biden administration

Republicans have used President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S. southern border and criticized the administration’s immigration policies, reducing detention and limiting immigration arrests to focus on immigrants and people who pose a security risk.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiative is also likely to draw criticism from some members of the Republican Party.

But officials say an ID like photo ID will make it easier to hold them accountable in the immigration process. Called the “Secure Docket Card”, the card is expected to contain name and nationality, as well as a QR code to access the new portal with relevant immigration information.

The portal aims to provide an easy way to update information and contact federal authorities during the immigration process. The card is also expected to be issued to detained immigrants.

“50% of the problems with immigrant accountability in this process are because we don’t communicate well,” said one DHS official. “People are going to go through the immigration process smoothly, efficiently and humanely.”

The ID card can be used, but cannot be used to register to vote. Only US citizens can vote. In time, the card could also be used at airports for future travel, the official said. TSA currently accepts certain immigration documents as valid identification for travel.

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“The ICE Secure Docket Card (SDC) program is part of a pilot program to modernize the various types of documents issued to temporarily issued non-citizens through a consistent, verifiable and secure identification. The Secure Docket Card includes photo, biographic identifiers and modern security features for the mutual benefit of state-government and non-citizens. ” an ICE spokesperson said in a statement.

“The details of the project are still under development, but SDC’s primary goal is to improve the current and inconsistent paper formats, which often break down in real-world use. Depending on the outcome of the pilot project, ICE will explore the feasibility of expanding it,” the spokesperson added.

A Latest Report The House Appropriations Committee noted the so-called ICE Secure Docket Card program and appropriated $10 million to implement it.

A report accompanying the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill for fiscal year 2023 describes a plan to allow “non-citizen access to citizenship files and documents.”

The agency plans to pilot the ID card later this year, a Homeland Security official said.

Jeremy McKinney, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), expressed optimism about the card.

“If ICE moves in a new direction where eligible citizens can report their status, provide information about their location and address, receive case management support, understand and prepare for investigations without the need for electronic monitoring or jail cells, AILA welcomes that approach,” McKinney told CNN. .

According to a DHS official, the card also supports those enrolled in “Alternative to Detention,” or ATD. Large numbers of people have been placed in ATD after changes in detention and the arrival of more nationalities who cannot be returned under the Trump-era pandemic emergency rule.

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Immigrants released from government custody are subject to immigration court proceedings to determine whether they are allowed to remain in the country or are deported. But this process can take years and involves many trials with various immigration agencies.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement monitors more than 300,000 immigrants with ATD, which includes GPS-enabled ankle monitors, phones or an app called SmartLINK, the official said.

The Secure Docket card allows officials to verify whether an immigrant has been released from custody, “and/or charged with removal from the United States,” according to ICE.

Immigrant rights advocates argued earlier The proliferation of alternatives to prevention programs creates new problems and raises significant privacy concerns in data collection.

Meanwhile, development of a comprehensive portal for migrants continues.

Jay Stanley, a political analyst who works on privacy issues at the American Civil Liberties Union (UCLU), noted that storing personal data in one place generally poses privacy risks.

“It allows the authorities to learn more about you and see more about you,” Stanley told CNN. “It can be case-by-case. In some situations it can be convenient for users, but depending on what information we’re talking about, the devil is in the details.”