At a briefing Monday for industry stakeholders, including AAAE, US-VISIT Program Director Robert Mocny discussed DHS's plans to pilot test various processes for implementation of the exit portion of the US-VISIT program.
As part of the Fiscal Year 2009 DHS appropriations legislation signed into law in September 2008, Congress required DHS to test its proposal to require airlines to collect biometric data of international travelers upon exit at check-in counters, as well as test having DHS responsible for collecting the biometrics at departure gates. Mocny reported Monday that DHS will test Customs and Border Protection agents collecting biometrics at the departure gate and TSA transportation security officers collecting biometrics at the security checkpoint. The US-VISIT Program Office is working with CBP and TSA to identify potential airports in which to test the DHS collection of biometrics at departure gates and security checkpoints as well as with the airline industry to identify airlines willing to test the collection of the biometric data.
Mocny stressed that the pilot tests will be short, most likely only 45 days, and that the focus will be on the process since the technology has already been proven to work. The pilot tests will most likely start in April and will be conducted simultaneously.
In addition to the air exit pilot tests, Mocny also discussed the US-VISIT Program Office's plans for 2009, including complete deployment of 10-fingerprint collection to all ports of entry, supporting nationwide deployment of interoperability with the FBI as part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secure Communities program, and researching and testing other biometrics as part of the program, in particular iris and facial recognition.