New immigration bill could increase use of biometric data at border

August 11, 2017 - 

A new immigration bill introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), which is currently posted on his website, would significantly expand surveillance along the U.S.-Mexico border and potentially increase the use of biometric data and drones, according to a report by The Hill.

Released last week, the bill includes several provisions that would alter the country’s existing border security policy.

One of the provisions calls for the implementation of a “biometric exit data system” at the nation’s 15 busiest international airports which would “match biometric information for an alien who is departing the United States against the biometric information obtained for the alien upon entry to the United States.”

In addition, the bill requests the use of unmanned drones to monitor the border for at least 24 hours a day, five days a week as part of an overall goal to provide “continuous surveillance.”

Another key provision requires the Department of Homeland Security to be given access to a facial recognition system for “the greatest extent practicable … inspect[ing] travelers at United States airports of entry.”

Earlier this year, a government report revealed that federal border agents are already testing facial recognition programming.

President Trump recently endorsed a bill, sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), aimed at reducing the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country by half over the next decade.

At the connect:ID conference in April, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) said the use of biometric identification technologies could not only help to strengthen immigration security, but also to navigate the turbulent political waters that surround the Trump administration’s proposed border wall.

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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.