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Dulles CBP’s New Biometric Verification Technology Catches Third Impostor in 40 Days

Release Date: 
October 2, 2018

Cameroon Woman Arrested Impersonating U.S. Citizen

STERLING, Va., -- Customs and Border Protection’s new cutting-edge facial recognition technology identified a third impostor in 40 days Monday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

A 26 year-old Cameroonian woman arrived on a flight from Accra, Ghana, which had originated from Johannesburg, South Africa.  The woman presented a U.S. passport in the name of a 31-year-old U.S. citizen to the inspecting CBP officer.  The facial recognition technology used by the officer reported a mismatch to the photo in the passport.  CBP officers confirmed her true identity during a secondary inspection and biometric examination and she was arrested for misuse of a passport (18 USC 1544).

CBP officer using facial recognition technology at Washington Dulles International Airport recently.
CBP officer admits a traveler recently
at Dulles airport using facial recognition
technology.

Posing as someone else when attempting to enter the United States is a serious violation of U.S. immigration law.  The secondary inspection and biometric (fingerprint) examination performed therein by CBP officers also revealed that the woman had previously applied abroad for a U.S. visitor visa and was denied.  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.

CBP’s facial recognition system is highly effective and efficient at detecting impostors.  It compares the face of the traveler presenting the travel document to the picture on the passport or other international travel related photos (ie: a visa).  The facial recognition verification process takes less than 2 seconds.  It is designed to quickly match to the travel document presented.

“This latest interception is yet another example of the effectiveness of the facial comparison system we are using to help us detect criminals, terrorists or imposters attempting to enter our country,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of the Baltimore Field Office.  “It has proven highly accurate and is one more tool in our officer’s toolbox that helps them accomplish CBP’s mission of keeping America safe from people that would do us harm while also helping to facilitate the efficient flow of legitimate travelers.”

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.

This is the third impostor that CBP detected at Washington Dulles International Airport through this new facial comparison technology.

On September 8, CBP officers intercepted a Ghanaian woman presenting a U.S. passport for admission to the United States.

On August 22, CBP officers intercepted a Congolese man presenting a French passport for admission to the United States.

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

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, or by visiting www.CBP.gov.

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: 
October 4, 2018