US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is expanding its Simplified Arrival network with a pair of new deployments at the Northern border. In that regard, the facial recognition technology has now been installed at the pedestrian crossings in Sweetgrass and Eastport, Idaho.
The Simplified Arrival system uses facial biometrics to match a new photo of a traveler to an existing image that the government has on file. The technology has now been installed at major airports all over the country, and is also becoming increasingly common at land borders like the two in Sweetgrass and Eastport.
In Idaho, the new photo will be taken at the primary inspection point in pedestrian lanes, and as part of an I-94 screening process. The traveler will then hand their travel document to a CBP agent, who will bring up the visa or passport photo associated with that document.
US citizens can opt out of the facial recognition process, in which case they will be referred to a CBP agent for a manual inspection. Those that cannot be verified with a biometric scan will similarly be redirected to a border agent for a follow-up review. Any photos of foreign nationals will be stored indefinitely in a Department of Homeland Security database, while those of US citizens will be deleted after 12 hours.
Simplified Arrival is ultimately designed to streamline and automate certain aspects of the inspection process, which in turn reduces congestion at points of entry. The contactless system also eliminates some of the sanitary concerns associated with shared touchpoints.
CBP is currently trying to see whether or not Simplified Arrival can capture images of people traveling in cars with a pilot program at the Anzalduas Bridge Port of Entry in Texas. Simplified Arrival has recently debuted at the East and West border crossings in Calexico, California, and at the Lynden, Point Roberts, and Sumas crossings in Washington state.
October 11, 2021 – by Eric Weiss