Insights & Analyses

Trump Administration to Implement Biometric Exit & Entry Scans for Travelers

January 27, 2017

The Trump administration intends to implement a mandatory biometric identification program for travelers entering and exiting the U.S., according to a draft Executive Order obtained by The Washington Post.

The leaked Executive Order draft states that “the Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.”

However, security experts caution that biometrics alone are not a silver bullet for immigration and customs security challenges. According to Ofer Friedman, VP of Marketing for multi-channel identity verification firm Au10Tix, biometric scans are “only as good as the reference data with which you compare them.”

If biometrics are registered after a traveler has identified themselves falsely, biometric data can be tied to a fraudulent identity. Appropriate verification of the applicant’s identity through other channels must also be performed. Friedman added, “there are technologies that take ID document authentication to a truly high level. Use them.”

Other directives contained in the draft Executive Order include a 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and the suspension of visa issuance to nationals of countries of “particular concern” including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.