Illegal immigrants, beware. The United States is about to get a whole lot harder to sneak into.
According to reports, a new facial scanning technology is set to be deployed in American airports.
The system photographs an individual’s face and compares it to the photo on their visa application.
The Trump administration has fast-tracked the development of the technology as part of its plan to crackdown on illegal immigration.
“Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application,” The Verge reported. “If there’s no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally.”
Conservative Tribune reports:
The system, called Biometric Exit, began being tested at Washington-area Dulles International Airport in 2015, Vice reported at the time. The tests expanded to New York’s John F. Kennedy International in 2016. It’s currently being used on only one flight, from Atlanta to Tokyo. However, plans are in place to roll out the system to every international airport in America.
Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had planned to roll out the system in 2018, but the Trump administration speeded up its implementation as part of the executive order banning travel from several countries with terrorist ties.
While the system does raise privacy concerns, without some form of Biometric Exit, the government doesn’t have the ability to track whether an individual has overstayed their visa. Also, if the biometric facial data doesn’t match anything in the system, it would alert officials that the individual may have entered the country illegally.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s Larry Panetta spoke about the technology and how it was going to be implemented into American airports sooner than later.
“Facial recognition is the path forward we’re working on,” he said, according to The Verge.
“We currently have everyone’s photo, so we don’t need to do any sort of enrollment. We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of U.S. citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the U.S. and their biometrics are captured” into the Homeland Security database.
While most critics are worried about the expansion of biometric data usage, it is an important tool, that when used effectively, can help combat illegal immigration.
The United States has been ravaged by illegal immigrants for decades and it is time for us to crackdown on it and ensure that all immigrants enter the country through legal channels.