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Unlocking the potential of biometrics for border security and immigration reform

Biometrics are being used to address some of today’s most pressing government challenges and tomorrow’s comprehensive immigration reform.

Overview

Implementing biometric technology into an identity management system, exit and employment programs, and visa and temporary worker cards has the potential to further increase border security and facilitate permanent immigration reform in the United States, but staying current with the advances in biometric technology is key.

Accenture delves into four areas where biometric technology can make a significant impact.

Background

Ten years ago biometrics were in limited use. Today, in a matter of seconds, agency officials can quickly and accurately identify individuals, travel patterns, employment history, immigration status and determine admissibility—all thanks to biometrics.

Biometrics are playing a crucial role in protecting the nation and strengthening the economy. In sharp contrast to traditional token-based identification systems, which can easily be shared or stolen, biometrics are helping officials quickly and reliably verify identities.

Analysis

The increased incorporation of biometrics would give border officials the ability to identify and process illegal visitors at greater speed. In addition, collecting biometric data from all those applying for citizenship will allow the United States to discern between individuals seeking economic opportunities and those who may have committed criminal offences.

Staying current with the advances in biometric technology is key.

Recommendations

Accenture has extensive experience over the past decade supporting immigration research, understanding traveler activities and designing and deploying border management solutions. Our ability to quickly implement successful programs has helped governments address immigration’s toughest and most critical challenges—but there’s still work to be done.

Accenture has identified four key advances in biometric technology:

  • Biometric identify management. Biometric identity management can provide government with an important overview of an individual, including their criminal record, tax liability and immigration status.

  • Biometric exit. A biometric exit program can help officials identify—with certainty—travelers who have and haven’t left the country, and accurately determine who has remained beyond their legally allowed period.

  • Biometrics in employment. Biometrics can help reduce identify fraud and unauthorized employment, and strengthen the employment authorization process.

  • Biometrics in visa and temporary worker cards. Biometric visa and temporary worker cards will help verify a prospective employee’s immigration status and provide authorities with the ability to confirm the identities of those seeking jobs within the United States’ borders with greater speed and security.