U.S. planning to expand use of biometrics in immigration system

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is attempting to establish its authority to use iris, voice, and other biometric ID capabilities for a range of applications, including its Electronic Immigration System (ELIS), FCW reports.

USCIS chief of biometrics strategy Paul Hunter said the agency expects formal rules on its use of iris, voice, and rapid DNA identification to be in place by March 2019, due to an expedited process. Immigration officials could begin taking voice prints, in addition to fingerprints, from applications in overseas interviews in the next few years, improving ELIS online and in-person security capabilities.

In addition to the potential for reducing fraud in the immigration system, Hunter told FCW that voice identification could reduce the length of the 50,000 calls the agency receives daily regarding green-card status by 25 seconds each, with millions of dollars of possible savings in labor costs.

Rapid DNA technology could reduce the amount of time necessary to confirm family relations from months to hours.

As previously reported, other proposed expansions of biometrics use by U.S. immigration and border agencies include passive facial scanning of foreign nationals crossing the U.S. border by car.

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