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Homeland Security

25 January 2005

United States To Test Radio Technology in Border Management

Method could enhance security and facilitate legitimate travel

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is about to test radio technology that will allow the automatic recording of visitors’ arrivals and departures at U.S. borders.

If successful, the technology will be incorporated into the US-VISIT system, which strives to simultaneously make borders more secure and allow foreign visitors swift and efficient processing as they enter the United States.

“Through the use of radio frequency technology, we see the potential to not only improve the security of our country, but also to make the most important infrastructure enhancements to the U.S. land borders in more than fifty years,” said Homeland Security Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson in a January 25 press release. “Working with our border partners, we intend to see that it’s done in the right way and at the right pace,” Hutchinson added.

Radio frequency technology is what allows a car owner to unlock his vehicle from some distance away. It is also employed at highway tollbooths to allow frequent travelers faster passage through the gates. 

Further information about the technology is available at http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/press_release/press_release_0602.xml

The text of the Homeland Security press release follows:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

 

Homeland Security Announces Plans to Test Radio Frequency Technology at Land Borders

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
January 25, 2005

Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security for the United States Department of Homeland Security, announced today that US VISIT is continuing to improve the border management system by planning tests of radio frequency (RF) technology at the U.S. land border.

“We are driven by a vision of the way our borders can and should operate in the future, and that future is getting closer and closer with every layer of US-VISIT we deploy,” said Under Secretary Hutchinson.  â€śThrough the use of radio frequency technology, we see the potential to not only improve the security of our country, but also to make the most important infrastructure enhancements to the US land borders in more than fifty years.  Working with our border partners, we intend to see that it’s done in the right way and at the right pace,” Hutchinson continued.  

The technology will be tested at a simulated port this spring.  By July 31, 2005, the testing will begin at the ports of Nogales East and Nogales West in Arizona; Alexandria Bay in New York; and, Pacific Highway and Peace Arch in Washington.  The testing or “proof of concept” phase is expected to continue through the spring of 2006.  

The optimal technology will allow for a unique and automatic identifier issued to pedestrians and visitors crossing in vehicles.  The benefits of deploying RF technology at the land border allows for the automatic recording of visitors’ arrival and departure.  The test of this technology is designed to occur in multiple ports that illustrate various weather and traffic conditions.  

At land ports of entry, US VISIT entry procedures are already expediting the inspection time at the secondary inspection area.  The entry procedures are now operational at the 50 busiest land ports of entry, 115 airports and 15 seaports, and more than 17.5 million foreign visitors have been processed through US-VISIT without adversely impacting wait times. Because of US-VISIT biometric technology, the United States has arrested or denied admission to more than 407 people.

The goals of US-VISIT are to enhance the security of our citizens and visitors; facilitate legitimate travel and trade; ensure the integrity of our immigration system; and protect the privacy of our visitors.

US-VISIT is a continuum of security measures that begins overseas and continues through entry and exit.  Experience has shown that the US-VISIT enrollment process is fast, easy to understand and simple for visitors.  

For more information, visit http://www.dhs.gov/us-visit.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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