- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2003

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services yesterday announced a redesigned, more secure travel document for permanent residents, asylum seekers and refugees re-entering the country after traveling.

CIS Director Eduardo Aguirre said the bureau, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, had sought to incorporate increased security features into the document to eliminate its ability to be counterfeited.

“We’re taking advantage of the latest state-of-the-art technology to produce new travel documents,” Mr. Aguirre said.

“In the process, CIS is addressing two major priorities. First, we’re making America safer by adding security features that frustrate the illegal production of these documents. Second, we’re improving production techniques and processes, allowing us to get these documents into the hands of our customers more quickly.”

The documents, which are produced at the CIS Nebraska Service Center, use the same patented personalization process as the current U.S. passport, Mr. Aguirre said. This includes a digitized integrated photo, which has proven difficult to duplicate.

He said the redesigned document also has many hidden features that require sophisticated forensic equipment to view.

The document is light green and resembles the size and shape of the U.S. passport, Mr. Aguirre said. It replaces the existing refugee travel document and the re-entry permit for permanent residents. Refugee travel documents and re-entry permits in circulation will remain valid until their expiration dates.

Annually, more than 200,000 people apply for travel documents. The use of new production equipment and techniques allows CIS to increase by tenfold the daily production rate for these documents, he said.

On March 1, CIS became one of three legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service agencies to join Homeland Security. It is charged with fundamentally transforming and improving the delivery of immigration and citizenship services, while enhancing the integrity of national security.

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