Fingerprinting for Reentry Permits

The USCIS recently introduced the procedure of a fingerprinting check for green card holders who wished to stay out of the US for more than 6 months. There is a presumption that individuals who wishes to stay out of the US for more than 6 months are abandoning their Permanent Residence status. So BEFORE they leave the US, they need to file the reentry permit (Form I-131) expressing their intent to come back to the US and they can stay outside the country for 2 years. Now they are going to be fingerprinted. Not only do they have to pay $80/- more to the US Government, but file the reentry permit sufficiently in advance of their departure to be able to have the fingerprinting done before they leave. Some (very few) Consular posts might do a fingerprinting, but the majority of posts wont.

Usually individuals leave because their job or family ties compel them. With multinational industries spread out among several countries, there is very often the need to quickly dispatch personnel from the US Companies to their subsidiaries abroad. Or sometimes, the Permanent Resident’s relative back home may be sick wand have to one to take care of. Or they might want a degree from Oxford, and get the admission notice less than a month before class starts. They have to wait.

One has to wonder why this fingerprinting is necessary. OK, we all know the Government is justfully very concerned about National Security. (And that the GOP feeds off of this National Fear). But if a Permanent Resident commits a crime, there is already a procedure for Deportation. The fingerprints of the permanent resident has already been taken and should be stored in some Government computers somewhere. And citizens can go anywhere without any restrictions.

Also the Government can only check their database in the US for past crimes. So, conceivably a Permanent Resident can have no crimes, and still can go to a 1 year terrorist camp in Pakistan, and come back and perpetrate a crime. But so can a US Citizen.

Conversely a person wishing to flee the United States for a heinous crime will not apply for the reentry permit anyways.

So why make these permanent residents pay $80/- to get wait for months to get fingerprinted. What purpose does it serve?