CBP Prepares Next Phase of Otay Mesa Border Project

CBP Prepares Next Phase of Otay Mesa Border ProjectThe US Customs and Border Protection agency is moving on to the next phase of its Otay Mesa biometric border screening project.

The San Diego neighborhood lies at the border between the US and Mexico, and is one of the busiest border checkpoints between the countries, having processed 14.8 million travelers last year. As such, it offers a prime testing ground for the CBP as it seeks to explore biometric border screening technology, with such a project having been announced last August, and entering its trial phase in December.

Using technology provided by Iris ID, the screening system has been using facial recognition and iris scanning to identify select non-US citizens entering the country; now, the new phase will see this technology used to identify some outbound travelers as well.

In addition to providing essential border security, the project also accords with a growing concern in the US government with accurately tracking traffic into and out of the US, with some authorities arguing that better data could help the government to identify potential terrorist threats in cases in which visas are overstayed. Speaking to media, a CBP official connected to the Otay Mesa project asserted that the trial “will help inform technological next steps in developing and implementing a biometric entry/exit solution, not just on the land border, but in all environments.”

The new phase of the project is scheduled to begin February 22nd, and will run until May.

Sources: NBC 7 San Diego, CBS News 8

February 12, 2016 – by Alex Perala