CBP Expands Use of Facial Recognition Technology in New Mexico, West Texas

Federal government says it caught 700 impostors at the border via digital photo verification system

EL PASO, Texas (Report to the border) – The United States Customs and Border Protection is expanding its use of facial recognition technology at border crossings in the El Paso area.

Technology already in use at the three largest border crossings in El Paso was introduced at the Santa Teresa and Columbus, New Mexico ports of entry earlier this month and will soon be available in Fort Hancock and Tornillo, in Texas.

Existing systems at the Paso del Norte, Bridge of the Americas and Ysleta border crossings were upgraded, but the agency did not specify what the improvements consisted of.

Unveiled in September 2018 as a pilot, the technology supporting the Simplified Arrival Program prevented 700 “imposters” from entering the United States using genuine travel documents belonging to other people, CBP said.

“The use of facial biometrics will further secure and streamline travel and support our ongoing travel recovery efforts. This system facilitates legal travel while maintaining the highest standards of security and privacy, ”said Hector Mancha, CBP Field Operations Director for the local El Paso office. “The contactless identity verification process will improve and speed up the travel experience for the millions of people who enter the United States through ports in our region each year.”

As pedestrians approach the CBP inspection posts, the CBP officer asks them to remove face masks and glasses to have their picture taken. This digital photograph is matched with the documents and records of the document holder to verify identity. Photos of most foreign nationals are held by the Department of Homeland Security; new photos of U.S. citizens crossing the border are removed within 12 hours of entry for privacy reasons.

CBP says the system is 98% accurate and has screened 74 million border workers to date.

Simplified Arrival “offers travelers a secure, contactless travel experience while achieving a Congress mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-US citizens, ”CBP said in a statement.

Visit the BorderReport.com homepage for the latest exclusive stories and the latest news on issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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