As part of the US-VISIT program, designed to protect the country from terrorism and other threats, US Permanent Residents will soon have to subject to fingerprinting when they enter the country through an immigration checkpoint. The new rules go into effect on January 18th 2009.
The scheme is already in place for non permanent residents and other visitors, but it is the first time it has been expanded to permanent residents.
Fingerprinting Green card holders is quite strange, because part of the process of becoming a permanent resident involves an FBI background check and a pretty intensive fingerprinting procedure.
Of course, the fingerprinting could also be a way of ensuring the person entering the country with a Green card actually is who they say they are. It could also simply mean that the records stored within the government systems are such a mess, that they can’t do any reliable matching against terrorist records.
The next step in US-VISIT could be a little more scary, as the Department of Homeland Security claims there are “not currently” any plans to start fingerprinting US citizens when they re-enter the country, but I suspect that is probably not very far away.