The Politics and Practicalities of a US EXIT Program

By CIS on May 26, 2010

Contact for RSVP: John Wahala, [email protected], (202) 466-8185

The 9/11 Commission recommended a biometric and comprehensive screening system of foreign visitors, including an exit system.

In the wake of the Christmas Plot and the Times Squares near getaway by Faisal Shahzad already boarded on an international flight leaving the U.S. when arrested, we are once again reminded that border security is an essential element of national security, and EXIT may matter to that rubric. For 14 years, a law requiring a U.S. EXIT program has sat on the books. There have been discussions, policy platforms, even pilots, but to this day, we do not have an EXIT program.

The politics and practicalities of employing EXIT requires robust discussion. It is not, and has not, been easy to implement. EXIT is tied into issues pertaining to US VISIT; the Visa Waiver Program; our national views on identity, biometrics and privacy; government allocation of resources and infrastructure that differ substantially between air and land ports of entry; and what we do with the real time data once the federal government has it. Is EXIT to be designed as a tool simply to curtail overstays and illegal immigration,or is there a greater value to national security? Does it need to stay tied to the Visa Waiver Program? Must it be a biometric exit, or would biographic be sufficient?

Janice Kephart brought together some of the biggest thinkers and most important decision-makers with very different views on the issue (please see the attached invitation). We hope you will join us. I look forward to moderating this discussion.

You are welcome to forward this invitation. Please RSVP to John Wahala at [email protected]

The Politics and Practicalities of a US EXIT Program

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Washington, DC



9:00 am Opening Remarks
Mark Krikorian; Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies

9:10 am Introduction: Are We Ready for EXIT?
Leon Fresco, Immigration Counsel, U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security (Maj.)
(30 minutes)

9:45 am Panel I: The Politics and Practicalities of Implementing Exit
Stewart Baker, former DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy
Patty Cogswell, DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy (invited)
Carol Cribbs, Senate Appropriations Homeland Security staff (Minority)
Moderator: Janice Kephart
(45 minutes)


10:45 am Panel II: EXIT in the International Community
Jim Williams, Counsellor of Immigration, Embassy of Australia
Christopher Sands, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Jena Baker McNeill, Homeland Security Policy Analyst, Heritage Foundation
Moderator: Janice Kephart
(40 minutes)

11:45 am Lunch Buffet

12:15 pm Panel III: Implementing Exit: What it Means, What it Should Look Like
Julie Myers, former Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (on what EXIT means to enforcement)
Michael Dougherty, Raytheon Homeland Security, former OMBUDSMAN USCIS and former counsel, US Senate Judiciary Committee
Moderator: Jessica Vaughan
(60 minutes)