US Customs Uses Fingerprint Matching to Capture Illegal Immigrants

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAU.S. Customs and Border Protection has developed new equipment that can compare the fingerprints of illegal immigrants against the FBI’s finger print database and produce results in a much shorter time frame than before.  A month after the IAFIS was established in 136 border patrol stations, Commissioner Robert C. Bonner praised the technology for helping to “shed light on those with criminal backgrounds we never could have identified before.”  In fact, IAFIS has prevented over 110,000 criminals from entering the country illegally since last September, including individuals guilty of homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking, and robbery.

They system has been implemented to complement Border Patrol’s existing database, IDENT, which relies on matching index fingers, as opposed to IAFIS’ ten-finger prints.  Thanks to IAFIS, Border Patrol agents can check IDENT’s specialized results and IAFIS’ expansive database at the same time.  When someone is detained by the Border Patrol, the agent can take a live scan of the suspect’s fingerprint.  The fingerprints are then run against IDENT and IAFIS, producing results in minutes.  In this way, the IAFIS is playing an important role in keeping criminals off our streets and out of our country.