CBP Touts First Biometric Busts at Land Border

With the US Customs and Border Protection agency’s biometric border control program now in place at a land crossing, the agency says it has already nabbed its third fraudster.

The agency’s program, which uses facial recognition to match travelers to their official travel documents, is increasingly prominent at US airports, with the CBP aiming to extend it countrywide in the coming years; but it only recently saw its first land deployment, at the San Luis Port of Entry, announced in September. In early October, the technology identified a mismatch between a 26-year-old man entering from San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, and he was turned to secondary screening where he was identified as a fraudster; a repeat incident was seen later that day, with respect to a 39-year-old man presenting a permanent resident document later deemed to be fraudulent.

Then, in mid-October, the CBP says its facial recognition technology flagged another mismatch concerning a 30-year-old man travelling from Mexico’s Geurrero state. In secondary screening, he too was determined to not be the proper holder of the identity documents presented.

All of the individuals now face criminal prosecution.

While there is so far no indication that any of these impostors posed a serious security threat, the CBP has been keen to promote its busts as part of a kind of PR campaign aimed at illustrating the effectiveness of its biometric border screening technology, which has come under criticism from privacy and civil rights groups. The agency also publicized busts at the Washington Dulles International Airport after the face-scanning program was officially launched there in August.

November 5, 2018 – by Alex Perala