LAS VEGAS -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would
one day like to speed up the entry process through the use of text messaging.
The vision was laid out Tuesday at the Future Travel
Experience Conference in Las Vegas by Colleen Manahar, CBP's executive director
of planning, program analysis and evaluation. But Manahar said that the
initiative does not have any sort of implementation time line. She challenged
airport and airline representatives attending the conference to help make it
Under the messaging concept, CBP would text flyers
immediately upon landing to direct them to various zones in the customs
facilities. Travelers who would be expected to need longer processing times,
such as immigrants arriving in the U.S. for the first time, would be directed
to one zone, for example. More routine arrivals, such as the typical American
passport holder returning home, would be directed to a different zone.
"Real-time management of travelers throughout the
industry is the future," Manahar said.
CBP is presently in the process of implementing biometric
entry and exit via facial recognition at airports around the country. The agency
is currently trialing facial-recognition entry -- eliminating the need for
travelers to present their passports -- in 14 airports. It is testing facial-recognition
exit at 15 airports.
In October, Orlando's airport will become the first in the
country to deploy facial-recognition technology at all international gates. The
exit deployments come pursuant to a mandate from Congress that CBP collect
biometric records on all foreign nationals departing the U.S.
Meanwhile, last February, Miami's airport became the first
in the U.S. to have an entire international concourse in which facial-recognition
entry is deployed.
A step like texting arriving flyers would further CBP's use
of technology to ease the travel process, Manahar said.