OTAY MESA -- Some travelers leaving the United States via the Otay Mesa border crossing will undergo biometric identification scans as Customs and Border Protection officers begin testing new technology kiosks Thursday.
The CBP began screening certain foreign nationals entering the country via the port of entry on Paseo Internacional in December. CBP officials said biometric exit testing at the border's pedestrian crossing was an extension of the inbound phase of the project.
The biometric data will be garnered from travel documents at recently installed kiosks identical to those used for inbound processing. The testing is set to run until May, and no biometric data will be requested from American citizens either on entry or exit, according to the CBP.
"CBP is committed to testing, deploying and implementing biometric technologies in a way that accomplishes our security and facilitation missions," San Diego Field Operations Director Pete Flores said. "This test will help inform technological next steps in developing and implementing a biometric entry/exit solution, not just on the land border, but in all environments."
Starting Feb. 22, some foreigners leaving the U.S. will have their facial photograph and iris image captured and compared with their entry records. It's similar to what has been taking place during the inbound phase of the project, in which testing applied to foreign visitors who were normally subjected to fingerprinting when they apply for visas and other travel documents.
CBP officials said improving technology for comparing entry and exits will bolster their efforts to secure the border, address immigration overstays, identify persons of interest and improve reporting and analysis of international visitors.