Snag in the Port

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have a new biometric security system in place, but it may not be that effective since several thousand workers have not picked up their new ID cards.

Coast Guard officials say that nearly 67,000 truck drivers, longshoremen and other workers must carry TWIC cards, but more than 10 percent of those workers have yet to pick up their cards, possibly creating disruptions as the new system goes into effect.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured the complex Monday and said she expected implementation to go smoothly saying "I think we're doing really well."

Implementation of TWIC cards at both ports has been delayed seven months so far. Officials cite a slower-than-expected registration process. TWIC was mandated by Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and it has been implemented at most ports nationwide.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have been advised to show up to work whether or not they have received their cards. A small percentage, about 3 percent of the workforce, have either not applied for the card or have been denied. Some of those denied TWIC cards are appealing.

Let's hope this SNAFU can be quickly resolved and port workers can get back to work, performing a vital service to the nation's economy. While some have asked about employers who exploit the illegal labor market for their own gain, it makes sense for the Obama administration to muster appropriate cases against those employers and illegal aliens alike.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is the Publisher of Security Today magazine.

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