CBP Brings Biometric Screening Program to Land Borders

With its biometric border screening efforts now having attained liftoff at multiple airports in the US, the Customs and Border Protection agency has announced that it is expanding its land border efforts. The agency has implemented a face scanning system for pedestrians at the San Luis Port of Entry.

It’s essentially the same concept as that used in the CBP’s airport screening efforts, with travelers’ faces scanned and matched to the images in their travel documents. The system will scan any individuals approaching the border’s processing booth, though US citizens will have the option to opt out at the primary inspection area.

In a statement announcing the program, the CBP described it as a “technical demonstration”, and said it will be expanded to the Port of Nogales Dennis DeConcini Crossing later this year, and that it “will add an exit technical demonstration in Spring 2019.” That means that while the system is currently aimed at biometrically tracking individuals coming to the country, it will later use biometrics to track those who leave, as well.

This is not the CBP’s first experiment with biometric screening at a land border. At the end of 2015, the agency trialled a Biometric Entry system at the Otay Mesa border checkpoint based on facial and iris recognition, and it expanded this program to Biometric Exit near the start of 2016. But that was before the CBP had developed the robust face scanning program now in place at various airports, which the agency now appears to be adapting to land border settings as well.

September 25, 2018 – by Alex Perala