World Security Report2015-01-21 05:55:24

The Airport Entry and Exit Working Group today released a letter today supporting House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul's H.R. 399, Secure the Border First Act of 2015 as follows:

"The Airport Entry and Exit Working Group," representing the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association, the Security Industry Association and core members of the secure document, identity and biometrics industry, supports Section 13 of H.R. 399, the "Secure our Border First Act," entitled "Biometric Exit Data System." This section provides a clear schedule for full implementation of Section 7208 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 which required the Department of Homeland Security to develop and implement a biometric entry and exit system in alignment with 9/11 Commission recommendations. To date, the biometric exit requirements of the law have not been fully implemented, despite 18 years and eight separate statutory requirements.

With the global surge of terrorist activity and increasing levels of travel to the United States, we are reminded once more that the issue of security and borders go hand-in-hand. International terrorists are well versed in using fraudulent travel documents and fake and stolen identities to traverse borders, including U.S. borders. It is well understood within the border community that our exit processes are insufficient to assure foreign national identity nor departure in real time, nor match that data to entry data.

Assuring that "people are who they say they are" is not simply rhetoric from the 9/11 Commission Report, but sound policy. Implementing strong biometric and document authentication measures at all ports of entry is essential to curtailing terrorist travel, and enabling the law enforcement and immigration professionals to more efficiently do their jobs and appropriately share terrorist mobility information with key national security partners.

It is thus critical that an effective exit biometric solution be deployed to all U.S. borders as soon as possible. The Working Group stands ready to support the creation of holistic solutions that are cost-effective, stand the test of time and use, support national security, and enhance the safety of the traveling experience.

Specifically, Section 13 of H.R. 399 helps assure a greater possibility of full exit implementation by providing clear guidance that within two years at least 15 airports representing the highest volume of international air travel, or about 75 percent of such travel, will have fully operational biometric exit systems in place. Section 13 provides the same for pedestrian land exit and seaports, and requires biometric exit implementation at all land borders within five years, clarifying that land exit is feasible with the support of cutting-edge biometric innovations. Section 13 further recognizes the value of multiple modes of biometrics for data collection, assures that exit data be interoperable with terror watch lists, that technology solutions support travel facilitation, and that the biometric industry is a valuable and necessary stakeholder in the implementation process.

By way of background, on November 17, 2014, the Airport Entry and Exit Working Group (Working Group) submitted the "Identity and Biometric Entry and Exit Solutions Framework for Airports" to support the important work of the Department of Homeland Security's Apex Air Entry and Exit Re-Engineering (DHS AEER) Project, which to date has not actively engaged industry on solutions. We continue to support this project and Customs and Border Protection's work to implement current statutory law, and believe that Section 13 of H.R. 399 will help achieve implementation by clarifying Congressional oversight priorities."

The Working Group is the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA), the Security Industry Association (SIA), and the following private sector companies: 3M Company, Abanacle Corp., Accenture Federal Services, Animetrics, Aware, Inc., Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Document Security Systems (on behalf of the Document Security Alliance), HID Global, Iris ID Systems, L-3 Communications, MorphoTrak (Safran), MorphoTrust USA, Pro-Qual IT, Secure Planet, SE Solutions, SITA (Aero), SpeechPro, and Vision-Box.

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