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DHS Begins Collecting 10 Fingerprints From International Visitors at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport
Date:3/25/2008

WASHINGTON, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it has begun collecting additional fingerprints from international visitors arriving at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The change is part of the department's upgrade from two- to 10-fingerprint collection to enhance security and facilitate legitimate travel by more accurately and efficiently establishing and verifying visitors' identities.

"Biometrics have revolutionized our ability to prevent dangerous people from entering the United States since 2004. Our upgrade to 10-fingerprint collection builds on our success, enabling us to focus more attention on stopping potential security risks," US-VISIT Director Robert Mocny said.

For more than four years, U.S. Department of State (DOS) consular officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have been collecting biometrics -- digital fingerprints and a photograph -- from all non-U.S. citizens between the ages of 14 and 79, with some exceptions, when they apply for visas or arrive at U.S. ports of entry.

"Quite simply, this change gives our officers a more accurate idea of who is in front of them. For legitimate visitors, the process becomes more efficient and their identities are better protected from theft. For those who may pose a risk, we will have greater insight into who they are," added Paul Morris, Executive Director of Admissibility and Passenger Programs, Office of Field Operations, CBP.

The department's US-VISIT program currently checks a visitor's fingerprints against DHS records of immigration violators and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) records of wanted persons and known or suspected terrorists. Checking biometrics against the watch list helps officers make visa determinations and admissibility decisions. Collecting 10 fingerprints also improves fingerprint matching accuracy and the department's ability to compare a visit
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SOURCE The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
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