The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began a pilot program today that will collect biometric information from illegal migrants interdicted while attempting entry into U.S. territory through the body of water between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico known as the Mona Passage.
The U.S. Coast Guard will compare the digital fingerprints and photographs of illegal migrants against the US-VISIT database, which includes information about wanted criminals, immigration violators and those who previously encountered government authorities. Those attempting to illegally enter the United States and its territories are prosecuted under U.S. law in conjunction with bilateral agreements in effect.
The partnership between the Coast Guard and US-VISIT represents the department's commitment to deter, apprehend and prosecute illegal migrants and migrant smugglers. The project furthers the broader objective to develop a biometric mobile solution for DHS and is another step in the U.S. government's plan to enhance security and ensure the integrity of the immigration and border management system.
The US-VISIT program is a continuum of biometrically-enabled security measures that collect biometric and biographic information from travelers at U.S. visa-issuing posts around the world, and upon their arrival in the United States at air, sea and land border ports of entry.
The Coast Guard is a military, maritime, multi-mission service within DHS that is dedicated to protecting the safety and security of the United States.