Stolen Passports Must Be Monitored, Catalogued (Rep. Ed Royce)
Travel documents and passports are as important to terrorists as bombs and guns. Islamist terrorist Ramzi Yousef used a stolen passport to enter the US, claim asylum, and bomb the World Trade Center in 1993. Yet three years after the 9/11 Commission recommended use of Interpol’s lost and stolen passport database we still do not. The passing of the amendment to the Homeland Security Authorization bill dictating the use of the Interpol Stolen Passport Database on US borders has changed that.
According to a DHS Inspector General report, numerous illegal aliens have successfully entered the US using stolen passports in recent years. Fraudulent passports were also used by terrorists involved in the 2004 Madrid bombing and the 2005 London subway attacks. Just this week we dodged a bullet here at home with the arrest of a terror cell planning to attack Fort Dix. Half those arrested were illegally in the country – having come accross the Mexican border.
Although the United States does have access to stolen passport information there is a gaping hole. The US accesses about 4 million of nearly 6.7 million passports in the Interpol database. This leaves more than 2.5 million stolen passports unaccounted for. This amendment will ensure that DHS implements the Interpol stolen passport database and further secures our borders.
Countries utilizing the Interpol database have had major success. For example the Swiss conduct approximately 400,000 searches per month, detecting over 100 persons attempting to enter their country with stolen passports each and every month.