Late August, I wrote about the I-94 Automation process currently being administered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In a follow-up, CBP recently acknowledged the fact that the paper I-94 record has been “long-established and well known practice” for many foreign travelers but stopped short of providing any real updates on the process, other than confirming the long delay current automation is taking. In the meantime, what entry and exit information is the government tracking and how should practitioners inform their clients of these potential changes?
The days of paper trails may be nearing an end but until that time officially comes, the government is still grappling with multiple electronic systems to track and trace the whereabouts of certain foreign nationals.
The challenge DHS, specifically CBP currently has, is facilitating an accurate, privately stored database that can track information of certain foreign nationals. In the past, DHS has admitted that ADIS does not always have access to all of the complete arrival/departure records, which weakened DHS’ ability to determine if certain FNs had indeed overstayed. While there is little opposition to CBP wanting to automate the I-94 card to save on long-term costs, the concern most stakeholders have is CBP keeping the public informed on this process.
This is where the role of the practitioner is critical. Whether you are at a private firm, a solo practitioner or working for a community organization, clients should be apprised of the risks upon entry, overstay, and upon departure. By keeping updated on legal developments, actively tracking client information, and advising clients of the risks, you can successfully managing client expectations, empowering them to make informed decisions.
As DHS increases automation of data, practitioners must keep up with technology. The days of hoping clients will provide you with copies of their entries and leave the U.S. on time may be long gone. Successful practitioners will take this opportunity to remain actively informed of their clients’ travel plans and regularly remind them of the risks. Want more updates? Please subscribe for free to the Case Management Guru Blog.
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