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Homeland Security Gives Up Plan To Expand Face Scans For Travelers

The proposal would have required all travelers, including citizens, to participate in a facial recognition scan when exiting or entering the U.S.
Posted at 8:56 PM, Dec 05, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it's abandoning a proposal to require all travelers exiting or entering the U.S. to have their photo taken after receiving pushback. 

The law currently allows U.S. citizens and green card-holders to opt out of the biometric entry-exit program. The Trump administration previously said mandatory scans for all travelers would help it crack down on the fraudulent use of U.S. travel documents and spot criminals and known or suspected terrorists. U.S. citizens can still participate in the program voluntarily.

In a statement, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman said, "CBP intends to have the planned regulatory action regarding U.S. citizens removed from the unified agenda next time it is published." 

CBP said it initially considered including U.S. citizens in the program because having separate processes for foreign nationals and U.S. citizens creates "logistical and operational challenges."

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the proposal, calling biometric scans "invasive." The ACLU said it "won't rest" until the agency gets rid of the program for all travelers.