TWIC program off to rocky start

| 3/26/2007

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential program kicked off Monday with enrollment at one Delaware port.

A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio Monday that the TWIC program is right on schedule.

But lo and behold, Congressional Quarterly reports that it's not on schedule at all.

CQ reports that workers at Delaware's Port of Wilmington were supposed to start enrolling for TWIC cards today - but that the feds are saying "technical difficulties" kept that from happening.

One port official said, "It's certainly not an auspicious beginning."

The background checks will be required of more than 750,000 port employees, longshoremen, mariners, truckers and others who require unescorted access to secure areas of the ports.

TWIC applicants will undergo a comprehensive background check that looks at criminal history records, terrorist watch lists, immigration status and outstanding wants and warrants.

The final rule outlines disqualifying crimes, enrollment process, usage procedures, fees and other requirements, according to the press release from the Department of Homeland Security.

TWIC enrollment was planned to initially at a small number of ports and be phased in nationally throughout the year. Notices regarding enrollment dates at various ports around the country are to be posted to the Federal Register 90 days before the enrollment period opens.

- By Land Line staff