The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the implementation of US-VISIT, a biometric program that will monitor entry/exit patterns for international travelers. The program will keep tabs on foreign visitors and curtail visa over-stayers.
US-VISIT’s use of biometrics streamlines the U.S. entry process and DHS officials say it virtually eliminates fraud. The biometrics program collects unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that provide port-of-entry agents with automated recognition. This tamper-proof identification service is reliable, convenient and virtually impossible to forge.
“US-VISIT supports the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to protect our nation by providing biometric identification services to federal, state and local government decision makers to help them accurately identify the people they encounter and determine whether those people pose a risk to the United States,” a DHS statement said. “US-VISIT’s most visible service is the collection of biometrics—digital fingerprints and a photograph—from international travelers at U.S. visa-issuing posts and ports of entry. Collecting this information helps immigration officers determine whether a person is eligible to receive a visa or enter the United States. The biometric collection process is simple, convenient and secure.”
The new program provides port-of-entry decision makers with the reliable information they need to prevent identity fraud. The innovative use of biometrics also deprives criminals and immigration violators’ access to the United States. DHS also claims they will be able to track international travelers who remain in the country beyond their period of admission using this biometric data.
“Since 911 we’ve gotten better at the check-in counter, but have not had a reliable method of knowing who is checking-out,” said Bob Dane, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).“The new plan for a biometric system of tracking exits is long overdue and will reduce the incidence of people overstaying their visas, the risk of terrorism and illegal immigration overall.”
However, secure border activists’ groups argue that ports of entry may provide a higher level of scrutiny, but much of the U.S./Mexico border remains unfenced. Border Patrol agents are charged with protecting the nation’s rural border, however, slower response times due to rugged terrain, limit the number of illegal immigrants, terrorists and drug smuggler apprehensions. Also this new program will do nothing to the country’s porious border. Even when Border Patrol responds to an incursion, agents face danger. Last year an illegal drug smuggler inside American borders murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
How Biometrics Assure Identity
Biometrics collected by US-VISIT and linked to specific biographic information enable a person’s identity to be established, then verified, by the U.S. government. With each encounter, from applying for a visa to seeking immigration benefits to entering the United States, US-VISIT:
Checks a person’s biometrics against a watch list of known or suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration violators
Checks against the entire database of all of the fingerprints the Department of Homeland Security has collected since US-VISIT began to determine if a person is using an alias and attempting to use fraudulent identification.
Checks a person’s biometrics against those associated with the identification document presented to ensure that the document belongs to the person presenting it and not someone else.
These services help prevent identity fraud and deprive criminals and immigration violators of the ability to cross U.S. borders. Based on biometrics alone, US-VISIT has helped stop thousands of people who were ineligible to enter the United States.
To view the step-by-step video that explains the process click here; http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/editorial_0525.shtm
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