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Second Impostor in Three Weeks Caught by CBP Biometric Verification Technology at Washington Dulles Airport

Release Date: 
September 10, 2018

STERLING, Va., -- Less than three weeks into the use of its new cutting-edge facial comparison biometric system, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) at Washington Dulles International Airport intercepted a second impostor trying to enter the U.S.

A 26-year-old woman, who arrived on a flight from Accra, Ghana Saturday morning, presented a U.S. passport to a CBP officer for admission as a returning citizen.  Utilizing the new facial comparison technology, the CBP officer established that the traveler was not a match to the passport and referred her for further examination.  A secondary examination confirmed that the traveler was a Ghanaian citizen and an impostor to the U.S. passport.

CBP is withholding the woman’s name while an investigation continues.

Posing as someone else when attempting to enter the United States is a serious violation of U.S. immigration law that could result in criminal prosecution.  Inadmissible criminals and other foreign nationals routinely attempt various means to enter the United States, and may use stolen, purchased or “borrowed” passports.

“Customs and Border Protection’s facial comparison system is highly effective and efficient at detecting impostors,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of the Baltimore Field Office.  “CBP’s facial comparison system has a match rate of 99% making it extremely difficult for criminals, terrorists or impostors to enter the country using another person’s identification and travel documents.  This is just one of many ways in which CBP is working to enhance the security of the U.S. while at the same time designing travel processes that are more efficient for the average person.”

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority partnered with CBP at Washington-Dulles International Airport to deploy biometric entry and exit technology using facial comparison to provide additional security and to improve efficiency for international travelers.  The new, simplified arrival process enables increased security, faster throughput, and better efficiency.

The impostor intercepted at Washington Dulles International Airport today was the second using the new technology since its rollout less than three weeks ago.

On August 22, CBP officers utilizing the facial comparison technology intercepted an imposter at Washington Dulles that was attempting to enter the United States using a French passport. A search revealed the man’s authentic Republic of Congo identification card concealed in his shoe.

CBP has been testing facial recognition technology to satisfy its biometric exit Congressional mandate.

Currently, CBP is testing biometric exit at 15 major airports across the United States.  CBP has also implemented facial comparison technology for arrivals processing at 14 locations.  View the list of participating Biometric Exit and Entry airports.  The facial recognition verification process takes less than 2 seconds.

CBP uses airline manifest data to retrieve existing traveler photographs from government databases, including passports and visas, to build a photo gallery of travelers who are expected to arrive and depart the United States. CBP then compares the “live” photographs of travelers taken with those that are already on file in DHS holdings. No new data is required.

CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP has published several Privacy Impact Assessments, employed strong technical security safeguards, and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the new biometric process.

Read more about CBP’s biometric entry/exit program on the CBP website.

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.  In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept immigration violators, narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, counterfeit consumer goods, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Last modified: 
September 11, 2018