From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of international travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta.
Biometric technology such as fingerprint scans has been used by US Customs and Border Patrol for several years to gain a biometric record of non-US citizens entering the United States.
But under the Bush Administration, a plan was formulated to also scan outgoing passengers.
Michael Hardin, a senior policy analyst with the US-Visit Program at the United States Department of Homeland Security told a Biometrics Institute conference today that the DHS will use the data from the trial to “inform us as to where to take [exit screening] next.”
“We are trying to ensure we know more about who came and who left,” he said. “We have a large population of illegal immigrants in the United States - we want to make sure the person getting on the plane really is the person the records show to be leaving.”
The original exit scanning legislation planned by the Bush administration stipulated that airlines would be responsible for conducting the exit fingerprints.
But after much protest, Hardin said the new Obama administration re-considered this legislation two weeks ago and is “not as sold that private sector should be agency for exit fingerprints.”
“The new administration feels that perhaps it is more appropriate that Government should take that role.”