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CBP Officers Intercept Impostors at the Port of San Luis Using New Facial Comparison Biometric Technology

Release Date: 
October 12, 2018

TUCSON, Ariz.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s new cutting-edge facial comparison technology identified two impostors at the Port of San Luis over the weekend.

The two impostors are the first to be detected using biometric technology in the pedestrian land environment.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, a 26-year-old man traveling on foot from San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, presented a border crossing card to the CBP officer conducting primary pedestrian inspections. The facial comparison technology used by the officer reported a mismatch to the travel document presented. The CBP officer referred the traveler to secondary inspection where it was determined the man was not the true holder of the border crossing card.

Several hours later, a 39-year-old man traveling from San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, presented a lawful permanent resident document to the CBP officer conducting primary pedestrian inspections. Again, CBP’s biometric technology reported a mismatch to the travel document the traveler presented. Subsequently, the CBP officer referred the traveler to secondary inspection where it was determined the man was not the true holder of the document nor a lawful permanent resident.

The subjects, both Mexican nationals, were arrested and are currently facing criminal prosecution.

“Facial comparison technology is an important step forward for CBP in protecting the United States from a variety of threats,” said Petra Horne, CBP's Acting Director of the Tucson Field Office. “Criminal elements continually look for creative techniques to enter the U.S. to include using stolen or rented genuine documents. This new facial recognition technology virtually eliminates the ability for anyone to use someone else’s genuine document.”

Using another person’s identity document is a violation of U.S. immigration law and could result in criminal prosecution. Inadmissible foreign nationals sometimes use U.S. passports belonging to others to attempt illegal entry into the United States. Those documents may be stolen, purchased or “borrowed” passports.

Federal law allows officers to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Facial biometrics is improving CBP’s entry and exit identification of travelers, which enhances CBP’s ability to secure the border, identify persons of interest, and improve reporting and analysis of travelers entering and departing the United States. This technology demonstration in the pedestrian land environment is a direct result of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, and addresses Congressional mandates to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.

Read more about CBP’s biometric entry/exit program by visiting www.CBP.gov.

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the United States. 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.

Last modified: 
October 12, 2018