After nearly three months of using facial recognition biometrics to help verify international travelers at U.S. points of entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials claimed that they have used the technology to prevent 26 alleged imposters from entering the country. CBP officials started rolling out facial biometric projects at airports and land crossings this summer.
While voyagers enter the U.S., they are ushered directly to a CBP official, who checks their documentation as overhead cameras match their faces to a gallery of images. For U.S. citizens, the picture is matched to the passport photo on file. If the photos don’t match, the travel is pulled aside for further investigation. The system helps CBP to meet a 15-year-old congressional mandate to use biometrics at the borders, an initiative that has often hindered due to complications with technology, funding and, in the beginning, an uncoordinated approach by the Homeland Security Department.
According to CBP figures, the facial recognition entry program is currently running at 15 international airports, while no others have reported detentions or arrests due to the systems. Facial biometric programs in place at land border crossings have proven more useful, as CBP reports said. As of Nov. 20, CBP officers have apprehended 23 people trying to enter the country illegally at the southwest border in Arizona, in which 18 at the crossing in Nogales and five at San Luis. With land and air pilots operation, CBP recently started testing the technology at sea, as well