US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is continuing to roll out its Simplified Arrival program at land borders across the country. The facial recognition system has now been installed at the East and West pedestrian border crossings in Calexico, California.
Under the new system, travelers from Mexico will be asked to pause for a photo when they arrive at a pedestrian lane or go through I-94 processing at the Calexico border. That photo will then be compared to an image stored in a Department of Homeland security database. Those that cannot be identified will be directed to a CBP agent for a manual inspection. The same is true for US citizens who wish to opt out of the program.
Facial recognition technology has previously been installed at Southern border crossings in Laredo, San Luis, and Andrade, which are located in Texas, Arizona, and California, respectively. Of those, the Andrade deployment is the most recent, and was completed in December of 2020. Simplified Arrival is also being used at Northern land borders in Buffalo and Detroit.
The Calexico Port of Entry consists of two separate border crossings, both of which sit in the Imperial Valley of California. Calexico East is smaller than its Western counterpart, and processed 300,000 travelers in 2020 and 330,000 in 2019. Calexico West, meanwhile, is the fourth-busiest pedestrian crossing in the United States, fielding 2.5 million travelers in 2020 and a whopping 3.7 million in 2019, before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.
Facial recognition has been used at Calexico in the past, leading to the capture of 21 imposters at the Calexico border since 2018. With that in mind, the introduction of Simplified Arrival will formalize the use of the technology in the Port’s standard screening procedures.
CBP has been aggressively expanding the Simplified Arrival program in the past few months. The technology debuted at select Preclearance locations in Canada earlier in February.
February 25, 2021 – by Eric Weiss