CBP announces test to collect biometrics at the Otay Mesa border crossing

November 13, 2015 - 

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has posted an official notice that it will soon conduct a test to collect biometric information at the Otay Mesa, California land border port-of-entry from certain aliens entering and departing the United States.

The move comes a few months after the U.S. CBP announced it would launch a biometric border entry and exit control pilot program at Otay Mesa, San Diego in an effort to identify and apprehend foreigners with expired visas who are have surpassed their permitted duration.

The notice states that the pilot program will begin no earlier than December 7, 2015 and will end on or before June 30, 2016.

During the pilot, aliens who seek admission at the Otay Mesa, California land border port-of-entry may be required to provide fingerprint biometric data for CBP to verify their identity.

Additionally, CBP officials will capture the facial and iris images of these aliens, either via a kiosk or standalone facial and iris cameras, upon arrival and departure.

The captured biometric exit data will be stored in a secure and separate database where it will be analyzed and off-line matched against facial and iris images previously captured upon arrival, as well as biometric data already on file.

None of the biometric data will be sent from the standalone database, except for the purpose of analysis and reporting on the results of the test. Additionally, biometric data will not be collected from U.S. citizens during this test.

CBP will also collect biographic data from traveller’s documents from all travelers exiting the country at the Otay Mesa port-of-entry, including U.S. citizens.

The Otay Mesa Land Border Port-of Entry Pedestrian Exit Test is a short-term biometric data collection initiative that will help CBP determine the feasibility of capturing biometric data from certain departing aliens in a range of environmental conditions.

The CBP also specifies certain aliens that are exempted from participating in the pilot program, such as Canadian citizens who are not otherwise required to present a visa or have been issued Form I-94 or Form I-95 upon arrival at the United States; aliens admitted on A-1, A-2, C-3 (except for attendants, servants, or personal employees of accredited officials), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, or NATO-6 visas, and certain Taiwan officials who either hold or whose immediate family member hold E-1 visas, individuals under the age of 14 or over the age of 79; and those individual aliens or classes of aliens that the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, or the Director of Central Intelligence otherwise determines shall be exempted.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.