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Friday, March 5th, 2021

Measures seek to bolster border security efforts

Martha McSally

A pair of bills introduced by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) designed to enhance Department of Homeland Security (DHS) border security efforts garnered House approval Monday.

The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) Authorization Act seeks to establish the OBIM as the primary biometric repository for the DHS while the Immigration Advisory Program (IAP) Authorization Act would deploy U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers to international airports in partner countries to prevent terrorists and other criminals from boarding flights bound for the United States.

“Terrorists, transnational criminal organizations and others seeking to do harm are constantly adapting their strategies to infiltrate our country,” McSally said. “My bills passed by the House will give DHS explicit authority to identify and track high-risk individuals and prevent them from ever reaching our shores. These two pieces of legislation will help us move closer to accomplishing these goals and increasing the safety and security of all Americans.”

The OBIM operates the DHS’s repository of over 225 million unique identities that include fingerprint-based biometrics as well as face and iris holdings, officials noted, while the IAP is an important part of the CBP’s security agenda overseas.

The program deploys CBP officers to major last-point-of-departure airports, as a means of advising airlines against boarding foreign nationals that will be deemed inadmissible upon arrival.