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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

ESTA SYSTEM FOR FOREIGN VISITORS NOT READY TO GO

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Surprise, surprise. Another hastily released rule designed to stick it to the Obama team turns out not to be ready to roll. Britain's Telegraph newspaper reports

Passengers had been told they must have clearance to fly three days ahead of their journey to avoid being denied boarding. But
The Daily Telegraph has learned the US authorities will not strictly
enforce the new system - known as the Electronic System for Travel
Authorisation or ESTA - when it begins on Monday.

From Monday,
the thousands of passengers who travel from Britain to the US every day
should obtain authorisation from an American Government website in
advance three days beforehand. So far more than 70,000 Britons have done so. But there are fears that some passengers - especially those who are not computer literate - will not have done so.

"There
could be problems for people who don't fill out their ESTA forms and we
want to avoid that situation," said a spokesman for the American
Embassy in London. "We are trying to make sure that everybody gets on the plane. But people should fill out the form right now."

For
the next few weeks passengers will be allowed to board as before and be
allowed to fill out the information on a green card provided by the
airlines during the flight.

Boy, that's smart. Implement this system - largely aimed at European Visa Waiver countries - in the middle of the period when all of the elderly retirees are off to Florida for their holidays in the sun. Is there a grown up around to explain to DHS that there are entire states in this country with economies that are collapsing because of dramatic declines in tourism over the last several months?

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Comments

  1. ESTA1's Avatar
    Hastily released? "designed to stick it to the Obama team"??? ESTA is required pursuant to Section 711 of the "Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007," Pub. L. No. 110-53. That was signed in August 2007. The IFR came out in June 2008. Is that what you call a rush job? Is complying with a statutory mandate doing something to "stick it" to the next Administration?
  2. USC's Avatar
    "Another hastily released rule designed to stick it to the Obama team"

    Absolutely correct!

    The Rs are also trying to stick it to the Ds in another way. They are claiming 41/98 of the committee assignments even though they are only entitled to 41/100 (the Rs don't want Franken seated and Obama's seat remains unresolved). It might seem insignificant but in some committees it makes a difference of one seat. The Judiciary Committee (this is where the CIR battles will be fought) has 18 members and is one such case. 41/98*18=7.53 or 8 seats while 41/100*18=7.38 or 7 seats.
  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    The timing speaks for itself, Mr. ESTA1. How many major rules were released in all of 2007? How many major rules were released in the first half of 2008? How many in the second half? How many in the last three months of this Administration?
  4. USC's Avatar
    Mr. ESTA1, the NY Times answers your question:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/us/12regulate.html



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