Port workers to receive background checks
Apr 26, 2006 10:34 AM, from staff and wire reports
As a counterterrorism measure, background checks will be conducted on 400,000 port workers, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"Tamperproof" identification cards also will be issued to port workers to boost security in areas where cargo containers are offloaded from ships and placed on trucks destined for the nation's stores and consumers.
These measures "will assure our citizens that those people who regularly come and go in the ports have been checked to make sure that they are not a security threat," said Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security secretary.
As part of his plan, the 400,000 employees who access sensitive port areas will be screened against terrorist watch lists and immigration databases to determine if they are legal residents of the United States.
Criminal background checks for these workers could occur later but are not planned for now. Later in 2006, DHS will begin issuing the ID cards to other workers with access to ports. These include truckers, rail workers, dockworkers, and ship crewmembers.
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