Monday, May 17, 2010


Many see the “green card” as the ticket to life in the United States.

But it hasn’t been green for a long time (it’s white, and for a time it was also colored pink) until now that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin issuing a truly green “Green Card”.

The Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) is redesigning the Permanent Resident Card – the innocuous green card – to incorporate new security features aimed at preventing fraud.

“State of the art technology incorporated into the new card prevents counterfeiting, obstructs tampering and facilitates quick and accurate authentication,” the USCIS statement said.

The size of a credit card, the “green card” identifies a legal permanent resident (LPR) of the United States.

It used to be colored green until 1978 when a new version was unveiled that was actually mostly colored white.

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas said it “makes a critical contribution to the integrity of the immigration system.”

Among the new features are the use of holographic images, laser engraved fingerprints and high resolution micro-images that officials boast will make the card “nearly impossible to reproduce.”

They will also have Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that will allow immigration agents to read the card even from a distance, giving them more time to compare the embedded data with their files.

The USCIS said they want to make the card’s nickname more appropriate so they decided to color it green for easy recognition (in contrast, for instance, with immigrant cards issued by the European Union that are colored blue).

Close to 600,000 Filipinos were holding “green cards” at the start of 2008, according to the Office of Immigration Statistics (OIC), making them the second biggest LPR group in the US, next only to Mexican immigrants.

About 1.7 million Filipino “green card” holders eventually won citizenship as of 2008, according to data gathered by the Washington-based Migrant Policy Institute (MPI).

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