US to Use Biometric System To Curb Visa Overstays
Washington, D.C.: The United States Department of Homeland Security is making efforts to use biometric exit system to identify the visa overstays more efficiently.
More than 700,000 people overstayed in the United States in 2016 alone and that included temporary workers, students, and visitors who came to the country by air or by sea.
About 50,427,278 people entered the country using visas, out of which about 1.47 percent missed their departure date, and about 1.25 percent stayed back in the country without any recorded departure, as per data. That means about 1.25 percent have stayed back even after their visas were expired.
According to the DHS, students and exchange visitors show higher rate of overstaying compared to other groups: out of 1,457,556 people about 5.48 percent overstayed.
President Donald Trump has recently signed an executive order directing the DHS to implement the biometric system.
The Customs and Border Protection has partnered with an airline to test out the biometric system. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has a pilot in place where the testing is ongoing.
The new biometric system would allow the DHS agents to compare the data of a person when exiting the country with their entered data to match the identity of the traveler. The system uses facial, fingerprints and iris scans of the individuals to determine their identity. The departure data is crucial for the DHS to identify the people who overstay.
At present, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE personnel must consult at least 27 separate databases to establish that an overstayed visa holder, as per a recent report. The DHS has been facing criticism due to their technology inefficiency to be able to identify the exiting travellers.
Now, the DHS will soon begin to collect its own data with the help of the biometric system, instead of relying upon the commercial airlines data to compare the identities of travelers in order to get the departure information.