DHS crews ease U.S. Visit launch

The Department of Homeland Security launched U.S. Visit, a new program that uses biometric technologies to enhance the nation's security and facilitate travel.

Olivier Douliery

A team of 150 computer technicians from the Department of Homeland Security wrapped up a two-month drive to launch the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology system at 115 airports and 14 seaports earlier this month.

The system collects photos and fingerprints from foreign nationals entering the United States.

In November, before the expansion, DHS tested the U.S. Visit system at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport .

"What we learned from the pilots is that if we had a technical person on the ground, it was very beneficial," said Shonnie Lyon, the program's director of increment management.

During the Hartsfield pilot, border inspectors recorded about 20 hits when running fingerprints and data from visitors against a government database of terrorists and other criminals.

Hits showed there were outstanding warrants on several travelers, and one match turned up a fugitive who had failed to appear in court.

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