U.S. Customs and Border Protection has brought its biometric border control platform to another land crossing. In this case, ‘Simplified Arrival’ has been deployed at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry on the border with Mexico.
The CBP’s rapidly expanding Simplified Arrival program uses biometric technology to automate the process of verifying travelers’ identities. Facial recognition technology is used to match an individual’s face to the image on their passport or other official identity document. That can speed the screening process for legitimate visitors, and can help the CBP to catch imposters.
Simplified Arrival really took flight via deployments at U.S. airports in recent years, but lately the program has been making its way to more land border checkpoints. The Hidalgo Port of Entry, which connects Reynose, Mexico, and McAllen, Texas, is the third border checkpoint in the Rio Grande Valley at which Simplified Arrival has been implemented.
In announcing the deployment, the CBP noted that Hidalgo is one of the ten most busy ports of entry in the United States, and that it processed 1.6 million pedestrians and 2.9 million vehicles last year.
“The technological innovation that Simplified Arrival brings to our land border passenger processing environment at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry not only facilitates the movement of lawful travelers and protects their privacy, but also enhances our nation’s security,” asserted Laredo Field Office Field Operations Director Randy J. Howe. “CBP has evaluated and fine-tuned the biometric facial comparison technology we have been testing at the Southwest Border since the summer of 2018 to deliver a secure, streamlined travel experience that will also support travel recovery efforts.”
To date, the CBP says that over 64 million travelers have been processed via Simplified Arrival. The photos collected of U.S. citizens are deleted within 12 hours of capture, whereas those of most foreign nationals are stored in Department of Homeland Security databases permanently.
March 12, 2021 – by Alex Perala