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Statement of Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Ranking Member

Before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information

Hearing on

"Biometric Identifiers and the Modern Face of Terror:
New Technologies in the Global War on Terrorism"

Madame Chairwoman, I want to thank you and Senator Kyl for holding this important hearing. I also want to thank the two of you for your steadfast resolve in helping lead our nation's fight against terrorism. Just recently, your bipartisan support proved invaluable to our efforts to enact the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which provided much-need antiterrorism tools to our law enforcement and intelligence communities.

While the USA PATRIOT Act is a critical first step, more can - and must - be done to protect our nation from terrorists. In particular, we need to tighten our border security, including our overseas embassies and consulates that function as our extended borders, against terrorists. The "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001," recently introduced by the Chairwoman, Senator Kyl, myself and others, will, by embracing new pioneering new technologies, enhance our ability to prevent terrorists from ever setting foot in this country. As a proud cosponsor of this legislation, I will help see to it that it is passed into law.

The key to the legislation is its commitment to the use of biometric technology. Biometrics, the science of using physical characteristics to identify an individual, has long held promise in the areas of law enforcement and immigration. While individuals may be able to disguise their appearance sufficiently to fool the human eye, the technology we will hear described today can thwart the most sophisticated criminal mind.

One use for these technologies is in the immigration area, where by using biometric identifiers, we can conclusively confirm the identity of those seeking entry into the United States. Impersonation would be dramatically curtailed, if not eliminated altogether. And in conjunction with law enforcement and intelligence databases, these technologies will enable us to identify potential terrorists before they are among us.

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