WASHINGTON -- The
Dept. of Homeland Security said it intends to install new 10-finger
scanners at all U.S. ports of entry over the next year.
international airports will be among the first ports of entry to
receive the scanners. The new scanners will replace devices that
are now in use, which digitally capture prints on only two
Early next year,
the DHS said, the new scanners will be installed at Boston Logan Airport, Chicago O'Hare
Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport,
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, George Bush Houston
Intercontinental Airport, Miami Airport, New York's John F. Kennedy
Airport, Orlando Airport, San Francisco Airport and Washington
Dulles International Airport.
State Dept., which currently uses 10-finger scanners at most of its
visa-issuing posts overseas, plans to complete deployment of the
devices worldwide by the end of 2007.
chairman of the Discover America Partnership, an inbound tourism
advocacy group that supports legislation currently pending in
Congress that would create a multi-million marketing campaign to
encourage inbound tourism, called the installation of the new
scanners a "critical security upgrade."
deployment of this technology nationwide during 2008," he
added, the U.S. government should explain the security upgrade to
He said the U.S.
needs "a nationally coordinated campaign to communicate a two-fold
message to our friends overseas" that expresses "America welcomes
you and enhanced security at U.S. airports makes you and the world
safer and more secure."
scanners are part of a larger border security initiative referred
to as U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology or
According to the
DHS, the US-VISIT process typically begins overseas at U.S.
consular offices when a potential inbound traveler applies for a
process, a digital photo is taken of the visa applicant. The
applicant's index fingers are also scanned to electronically
collect digital fingerprints, which are stored in a
The fingers are
scanned again by Customers and Border Patrol officers and checked,
along with the digital photo, against the database as part of the
entry process when the traveler arrives in the U.S. to confirm the
individual is the same person that applied for the visa.
The DHS said the
overall accuracy of the US-VISIT system would be improved by
collecting 10 digital fingerprints instead of two.
To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].