WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /CNW/ -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) is now collecting additional fingerprints from international visitors
arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles). The change is
part of the department's upgrade from two- to 10- fingerprint collection to
enhance security and fingerprint matching accuracy.
"Anyone who's watched the news or seen crimes solved on television shows
can appreciate the power of biometrics," said Homeland Security Secretary
Michael Chertoff. "They help the legitimate traveler proceed more quickly
while protecting their identity and enable our frontline personnel to focus
even greater attention on potential security risks. Biometrics tell the story
that the unknown terrorist tries to conceal, and it causes them to question
whether they've ever left a print behind."
Department of State (DOS) consular officers and DHS Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) officers collect biometrics -- digital fingerprints and a
photograph -- from all non-U.S. citizens between the ages of 14 and 79, with
some exceptions, when they apply for visas or arrive at U.S. ports of entry.
The department's US-VISIT program checks this data against a joint Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-DHS watch list of criminals, immigration
violators and known or suspected terrorists. Watch list data comes from
several sources, in particular the Department of Defense (DOD), FBI, DHS and
other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Checking biometrics against these databases helps officers make visa
determinations and admissibility decisions. It also improves the department's
ability to compare a visitor's fingerprints against latent fingerprints
collected by DOD and the FBI from known and unknown terrorists all over the
Dulles became the first port of entry to collect additional fingerprints
from visitors on November 29, 2007. Nine other ports of entry will begin
10-fingerprint collection during the next few months, and the 278 remaining
ports will begin this process by the end of 2008. This announcement is the
result of an interagency partnership among DHS, FBI, DOD and DOS.
The next ports scheduled to collect 10 fingerprints from international
visitors are: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Boston Logan
International Airport; Chicago O'Hare International Airport; San Francisco
International Airport; George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport; Miami
International Airport; Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport; Orlando
International Airport; and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
US-VISIT, in cooperation with CBP, is leading the transition to a
10-fingerprint collection standard. Since US-VISIT began in 2004, DHS has used
biometric identifiers to prevent the use of fraudulent documents, protect
visitors from identity theft, and stop thousands of criminals and immigration
violators from entering the country.
For further information:
For further information: DHS Press Office, +1-202-282-8010