US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that its Simplified Arrival program is adding two more pedestrian border crossings to its growing roster, as the program is now in operation at the Eagle Pass and Del Rio ports of entry into the United States.
Simplified Arrival is the CBPs enhanced international arrival program that uses biometric authentication — in the form of facial recognition — in order to automate and streamline the processing of passengers coming into and exiting the country by doing away with the manual document checks that are normally required.
The CBP has been growing the list of entry/exit points to feature Simplified Arrival at a rapid rate over the past several months. Just last week, Tampa International Airport (TPA) was added to the program, joining other border crossings in a number of locations around the US, including other points in Texas, as well as California, Arizona, and northern land crossings in Buffalo and Detroit.
“Simplified Arrival at the ports of Eagle Pass and Del Rio brings the use of innovative, touchless technology, which not only facilitates the flow of legitimate travel, but also continues to strengthen our essential border security mission,” said Randy J. Howe, Director, Field Operations, Laredo Field Office. “CBP’s use of biometric facial comparison technology has been enhanced since its introduction in the summer of 2018, thus delivering this secure and efficient travel experience we see today.”
The Eagle Pass entry point is located on the Camino Real International Bridge, where CBP officers processed more than 2.1 million privately owned vehicles and more than 629,000 pedestrians in 2020. Similarly, the Del Rio Port of Entry is found at the Ciudad Acuna International Bridge that saw 1.1 million vehicles processed along with over 194,000 pedestrians last year.
The system works by having travelers arriving at the designated entry point into the US submitting to a photo at a primary inspection point. Facial recognition software extracts the individual’s biometric data from the photo, and then verifies their identity against the images of the traveler found on their official documents, such as a passport or visa photo.
Simplified Arrival is only mandatory for non-US citizens and excludes a select group of foreign nationals who already have their biometric information on file with the CBP. Eligible travelers who wish to opt out can do so by notifying a CBP officer of their intention to do so, and then submitting to a manual document and security inspection.
April 14, 2021 – by Tony Bitzionis