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Punting Immigration Security

"If we don't have US-VISIT air exit by this time next year, it will only be because the airline industry killed it," Chertoff said recently. "We have to decide who is going to win this fight. Is it going to be the airline industry, or is it going to be the people who believe we should know who leaves the country by air?"

Not for nothing, but national security is the government's job. Airlines are in business to make money not enforce immigration law. I suppose there is always nationalization . . .

Look at airline functionality, especially in smaller firms: the same person who issues you your boarding pass at one point in the airport, may check you on your flight at another point, and might also be serving you a caffeinated beverage once you're airborne. One minute she's a waitress in the sky; in a crisis she's suddenly "air crew" and the rules change dramatically. The proposed solution is to add another task to an already, stressed and schizophrenic enterprise and make them out to be the bad guys.

This is a classic case of our Uncle's inability to think creatively or originally. He who tells someone they can come into the country, and verifies that person entered the country, should be verifying that same person leaves the country. Loose sight of that last part and you're adding additional complexity and opportunities for failure. There is a solution here, it just doesn't involve punting.