Creation of a Database for People Entering France

On October 19th, Mr. Eric Besson, the immigration minister, launched a new program at the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport to monitor the entrance into France of foreigners who travel in or through France, but without the intention of staying. It is called P.A.R.A.F.E.S. and stands for Passage Automatisé Rapide aux Frontières Extérieures Schengen.

The program uses biometric recognition. Instead of presenting their passports to an immigration officer, travelers pass through an airlock to have their fingerprints verified. This implies of course a thorough pre-registration in the database, which at this point is purely voluntary. The system is currently designed for business travelers who come to France frequently, and who would appreciate saving time going through customs.

By the end of this year there should be 13 airlocks installed. I think this is the first step towards implementing a new policy where foreigners who are permitted to enter France without a visa will be recorded, as the USA is doing. The police will have a record of the date of entry into France and therefore will be able to monitor who is overstaying the allowed time limit in the country. I do not see this happening anytime soon but it is clear the initial tools are now in place.


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