Is Homeland Security Planning to Invite Terrorists into the U.S.? Key Document Security Regulations Remain Up in the Air

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Government regulators are contemplating loosening requirements for birth and death certificates that would ease terrorists’ entry to the U.S. “Insane, isn’t it?” says executive of top-security printing company.

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With concern about terrorist plots now higher in the U.S. than at any other time since September 11, 2001, a Midwest printing company executive is raising the alarm about a change in document security being considered by the Department of Homeland Security. According to Ron Totarsky, Chief Operating Officer of the Midwest Bank Note Company in Plymouth, Michigan, government officials are still undecided about whether or not to allow birth and death certificates to be printed on garden-variety laser or offset printers instead of using the highly secure steel engraving intaglio printing process.

“Currently, the U.S. federal government requires that vital records be printed using steel engraving intaglio printing,” says Totarsky, whose company has specialized in this expensive, complex process since 1950. “Documents printed this way are similar to paper money in that the real ones feel and look much different than copies. In addition, companies like ours have strict controls on the chain of custody of the documents we print. Every document is numbered and accounted for, and we have a facility with 24-hour security, the most secure vaults that exist and armed guards. Allowing birth and death certificates to be cranked out on a laser printer or offset press would make it ridiculously easy for terrorists to create fake identities.”

Totarsky points out that state governments used to require car titles to be printed with steel engraving, but that requirement was dropped in recent years. Homeland Security originally said it would make a decision about the printing process regulations for vital records by September 2006 and now says they’ll decide by December 31, 2006.

“I can’t understand why Homeland Security would even think about loosening the requirements,” Totarsky says. “A U.S. birth certificate is the key that opens up a U.S. identity. Let’s not make it easy for terrorists to come across our borders and set up sleeper cells in our country,” he urges.


Ron Totarsky

Midwest Bank Note Company

46001 Five Mile Rd.

Plymouth, MI 48170


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Ron Totarsky
Midwest Bank Note Company
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