Washington D.C. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced that
biometric identification technology is fully operational within all 136 Border
Patrol stations. CBP’s current objective is to have IAFIS technology fully
deployed to all Ports of Entry by the end of 2005. The technology, the Integrated
Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS, enables CBP officers and
Border Patrol agents to search fingerprint databases simultaneously using the
Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and the FBI fingerprint database.
It provides rapid identification of individuals with outstanding criminal warrants
by electronically comparing a live-scanned fingerprint against a huge nationwide
database of previously captured fingerprints.
“This technology helps U.S. Customs and Border Protection shed light on
those with criminal backgrounds we could never have identified before,”
said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner. "Its
implementation is absolutely critical to our priority mission to keep terrorists
and terrorist weapons out of the country.”
The IAFIS program began as a pilot in the San Diego Border Patrol Sectors Brown
Field Station and the Calexico Port of Entry in August 2001. By the end of 2003,
the program had evolved and was installed at 31 Border Patrol Stations and 28
ports of entry.
“Instantaneous and accurate information is the cornerstone of modern law
enforcement,” added Bonner. “This system ensures that U.S. Customs
and Border Protection is a law enforcement agency for the 21st century.”
From October 1, 2003 through August 31, 2004, CBP Border Patrol agents have arrested:
138 homicide suspects; 67 kidnapping suspects; 226 sexual assault suspects; 431
robbery suspects; 2,342 suspects for assaults of other types; and 4,801 involved
with dangerous narcotics as a direct result of IAFIS technology.