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Confusion about biometric app clouds border ID debate in US

Confusion about biometric app clouds border ID debate in US
 

Anti-immigration voices in the United States are misleading public opinion about biometric identification rules for non-citizens traveling by air domestically and internationally.

Migrants are required to provide federal Transportation Security Administration personnel with their alien ID number or biographical data. They do not have to show a passport or national ID because in many cases, asylum seekers do not have the documents.

They are encouraged to have their photo taken at an airport by TSA, but as with citizens, facial photos or scans at airports are not mandatory. Photo IDs are required of citizens.

CBP One, an app that is part of an effort to better organize asylum requests at U.S. ports of entry, is being used by would-be migrants to confirm their identity with biometrics. But it, too, is being picked at by immigration partisans.

A minor but vocal voice in the fight to end immigration, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), has posted an aggrieved letter to David Pekoske, the TSA’s administrator.

That’s unfair, according to Hawley. Citizens have to submit to “burdensome” security screenings that include carrying a photo ID card and the same should be true for asylum seekers.

Hawley has said that would-be immigrants should not be able to fly at all. Others opposing immigration have fought to keep asylum seekers from getting an ID card.

There is at least one local program encouraging immigrants to get on flights with or without photo ID.

New York City officials say they want to relieve the pressure on over-burdened social programs by giving asylum seekers who volunteer one-way airline tickets out of the city.

The Customs and Border Protection agency’s four-year-old CBP One program is designed to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, reducing some of the current angst plaguing the system.

It was designed to speed legitimate land crossings by front-loading the data-gathering tasks involved in deciding migration cases. It involves a mobile app, also called CBP One, that anyone with a smart phone can access.

The Department of Homeland Security, parent of Border Protection, has suffered news articles alleging balky software, and in some cases biased, facial recognition software.

This week, advocacy Human Rights Watch published a letter to Homeland Security charging that policies and digital tools along the southern border are effectively metering access to immigration proceedings.

People who do not get appointments using CBP One, according to the organization, are left for prey for Mexico criminals. That violates U.S. policies and legal obligations, according to Human Rights Watch.

Executives with the group say that the CBP One app, with its shortcomings problems has effectively become another way of metering people applying for asylum.

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