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GAO: CBP’s Biometric Exit System Project Faces Planning, Infrastructure, Staffing Challenges

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The Government Accountability Office has found that the Customs and Border Protection  agency continues to face planning, infrastructure and staffing challenges in CBP’s project to build a biometric data collection system for travelers who exit the U.S.

GAO said Monday CBP works with airlines and airports to explore the use of public/private partnerships for the deployment of a biometric exit system.

CBP aims to install a biometric exit platform in at least one airport by 2018 but the agency has yet to finalize partnership agreements and implementation decisions that would complete the planning process, GAO added.

Infrastructure issues facing CBP include the lack of designated areas at U.S. airports where immigration officers can capture biometric data from exiting travelers, the congressional watchdog agency noted.

GAO reported the CBP plans to gather and use information from pilot programs to identify biometric exit technology and staffing measures that would suit the airport environment.

Auditors also found that the Department of Homeland Security‘s report on estimated overstay rates in fiscal year 2015 did not include all overstay information required by law.

GAO said DHS’ report did not cover overstay rates for foreign visitors who entered U.S. through land ports of entry or under other non-immigrant categories.

DHS aims to include overstay rates on foreign students who entered U.S. through air and sea POEs in the department’s FY 2016 report and add overstay rates for visitors that arrived through land POEs to its FY 2017 report.

The department reviewed approximately 2.7 million overstay leads from 2013 to 2015 and forwarded 26,982 of them to field offices for further investigation, GAO noted.

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