U.S.Visit biometrics up and running, on time

The Homeland Security Department announced today it has finished on schedule installing biometric entry capabilities at the nation's 104 land border ports.

Biometric entry procedures now are deployed at all fixed ports of entry operating the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (U.S.Visit) visitor screening program. The 50 busiest land border ports received the biometric capabilities a year ago.

U.S.Visit collects fingerprints, digital photos and biographic information from foreign visitors upon their arrival at U.S. air, sea and land ports, with the exception of Canadians and Mexicans who use special border-crossing cards. The U.S.Visit biometric data is compared against watch lists of terrorists, criminals and immigration violators.

Federal efforts to strengthen the nation's immigration and border management system "have taken a giant leap with the deployment of U.S.Visit entry capabilities at all our ports and visa-issuing posts abroad," Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a news release.

Since January 2004, U.S.Visit has processed more than 44 million visitors and has intercepted more than 970 people with histories of criminal or immigration violations.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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