On January 19, 2019, a 26-year-old woman traveling from Mexico City, Mexico presented herself for inspection, with a United States passport, to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. The CBP officer suspected the subject may be an imposter to the travel document so he escorted the passenger to another area for further inspection. The CBP officer utilized a new technology which uses facial recognition to determine if the passenger was, in fact, the true bearer of the U.S. passport. Based on the results of the facial recognition and the CBP officer’s interview, the traveler was determined to be an imposter to the U.S. passport.
Using another person’s identity document is a serious violation of U.S. immigration laws that could result in criminal prosecution. In this case, the traveler was found to be inadmissible to the United States and was returned to her country of origin on the next available flight.
“CBP has many tools at our disposal in our collective tool bag, but this case illustrates the value of the CBP officer on the ground,” said Troy Miller, CBP’s Director of the New York Field Office. “This traveler was apprehended utilizing CBP’s layered enforcement strategy and technology coupled with the CBP officer’s expertise. This force multiplier is essential in apprehending those persons that would look to break our immigration laws and perhaps cause harm to the citizens of the United States.”
While providing a level of convenience for the traveler, facial recognition helps CBP swiftly identify imposters. CBP’s primary mission is to protect the United States from potential threats and the facial comparison biometrics system is one part of CBP’s strategy to deploy the best technology available to protect the American people.