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Notice of Requirement of Carriers To Present for Inspection In-Transit Passengers
[62 FR 18653] [FR 19-97]
FEDERAL REGISTER CITE:
62 FR 18653
April 16, 1997
BILLING CODE 4410-10-M
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Immigration and Naturalization Service
[INS No. 1841-97]
Notice of Requirement of Carriers To Present for Inspection In-Transit
Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.
This notice informs carriers that effective April 1, 1997, carriers are required to present for inspection, in accordance with the special procedures outlined in the notice, all international-to- international (ITI) passengers, formerly known as in-transit lounge(ITL) passengers, transiting through the United States from one foreign country to another foreign country with one stop in the United States. This change is necessary to comply with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of
1996 (the Act of 1996) which amended section 235 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act) to statutorily require the Service to inspect aliens transiting through the United States. It is anticipated that further modifications to the ITI program and procedures to conform to the change in law will be accomplished through promulgation of rules in accordance with the notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.
April 1, 1997.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Robert F. Hutnick, Assistant Chief Inspector, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 425 I Street, NW., Room 4064, Washington, DC 20536, telephone number (202) 616-7499.
Prior to the enactment of the Act of 1996, the Service employed its discretionary authority under section 235 of the Act to exempt ITI passengers from inspection under certain circumstances. However, section 235(a)(3) of the Act, as amended by the Act of 1996 and effective April 1, 1997, now provides:
(3) INSPECTION.-All aliens (including alien crewmen) who are applicants for admission or otherwise seeking admission or readmission to or transit through the United States shall be inspected by immigration officers [emphasis added].
To give effect to the legal mandate to inspect ITI passengers, on March 26, 1997, the Service issued the following instructions to the appropriate field offices which take effect on April, 1, 1997:
(1) International-to-international passengers shall be inspected but not admitted to the United States. This inspection should be conducted at the ITL. If this is not feasible, the port director or district office manager shall contact the appropriate deputy assistant regional director for inspections to provide justification for not using the ITL and to make alternative arrangements in keeping with the overall goal of facilitation or the ITI operations.
(2) The transit passenger inspection (TPI) shall consist of a visual examination of ITI passengers during the transfer process at the Port-of-Entry. Questioning of ITI passengers and examination of travel documents shall be done selectively and on a random basis but should not interfere with the overall facilitation of the ITI operation.
(3) The Ports-of-Entry shall dedicate sufficient resources at the ITI inspection locations to maximize facilitation and law enforcement while ensuring inspector safety and security without adversely affecting the inspection of passengers seeking admission to the United States.
(4) Pending further notice, carriers are not required to present for inspection ITI passengers and crewmen who remain on board aircraft.
(1) Carriers signatory to Immediate and Continuous Transit Agreements (with provisions for control of uninspected passengers and In-Transit Lounge Use), also known as ITL agreements, will be allowed continued transit privileges of ITI passengers until further notice.
(1) The inspection of ITI passengers will take effect on April 1, 1997. The TPI procedures enumerated are issued for an initial transition period. Further instructions will be issued as procedures are developed.
(2) Ports-of-Entry shall endeavor to maintain a flexible approach to the inspection of ITI passengers during this transition period to maximize facilitation while not subverting the inspection requirements mandated.
(3) Ports-of-Entry shall report to the Office of Programs, through channels, any significant implementation problems, including adverse effects on the 45 minute inspection requirement and/or on resources, with any of the above inspection requirements.
(4) Ports-of-Entry are reminded of the critical need to obtain and record accurate ITI passenger counts. Carrier representatives should be questioned regarding ITI passengers counts upon presentation of the Aircraft/Vessel Report, Form I-92. For the interim, this refers to passenger counts only and not to biographical data. The figures reported on the G-22.1 are for planning purposes and for use in discussions with the carriers."
Carriers interested in utilizing in-transit lounge facilities at individual Ports-of-Entry for the temporary holding of inspected in-transit passengers who are departing the United States for a foreign country on a direct flight without stopover in the United States should contact local Service Port Directors for information concerning new ITI agreements. Though they will be negotiated at the port level, these agreements will be approved by the Assistant Commissioner for Inspections. Until further notice, h
owever, the present Immediate and Continuous Transit Agreements (with provision for control of uninspected passengers and In-Transit Lounge Use) will remain in effect. However, the Service has notified carriers signatory to ITL Agreements that beginning April 1, 1997, the Service will invoke its contractual right under these agreements to require signatory carriers to present all in-transit passengers for inspection in accordance with the procedures outlined in this notice. Any rights or liabilities alread
y accrued under the present agreement(s) are not terminated by operation of this notice.
It is anticipated that further modifications to the ITI program and procedures to conform to the change in law will be accomplished through promulgation of rules in accordance with the notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.
March 31, 1997
Commissioner,Immigration and Naturalization Service.