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U.S. Customs And Border Protection Uses Biometric Facial Technology To Process Border Crossers

 A CBP officer in Del Rio, TX processes a traveler using Simplified Arrival.
Provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
A CBP officer in Del Rio, TX processes a traveler using Simplified Arrival.

Biometric facial technology is being used to process border crossers in Del Rio and Eagle Pass.

The 'Simplified Arrival' program was introduced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to pedestrian crossings at ports of entry.

"This process provides travelers with a secure, touchless travel experience while fulfilling a longstanding Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens," a recent press release states.

Pedestrian crossers will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. The new photo will be compared to the person's passport or visa photo. Travelers who aren't matched to a photo on record will proceed through the traditional inspection process.

Randy J. Howe, director of field operations in the CBP Laredo Field Office, said the technology will facilitate the "flow of legitimate travel," according to the statement.

"(It) also continues to strengthen our essential border security mission,” Howe added. “CBP’s use of biometric facial comparison technology has been enhanced since its introduction in the summer of 2018, thus delivering this secure and efficient travel experience we see today.”

CBP alleges that the technology is 98% accurate and that foreign travelers who have visited the U.S. before may no longer have to provide fingerprints.

"To date, more than 68 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land and seaports of entry," the statement reads.

Photos of U.S. citizens are deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals are stored with the Department of Homeland Security.

TPR's Norma Martinez contributed to this report.

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