Homeland Security Wants All Ten Fingers

Robert Longley

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has started collecting the prints from all 10 fingers, rather than just two, of international visitors to the U.S. arriving Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport.

DHS hopes the increased fingerprint count will enhance the accuracy of print-matching software, thus increasing security.

Apparently a fan of “CSI,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a press release, “Anyone who’s watched the news or seen crimes solved on television shows can appreciate the power of biometrics.” Chertoff suggested that improved biometrics would help speed legitimate travelers on their way, “while protecting their identity.”

“Biometrics tell the story that the unknown terrorist tries to conceal, and it causes them to question whether they’ve ever left a print behind,” said Chertoff. Nine other international ports of entry into the U.S. will initiate the 10-fingerprint collection process over the next few months.

In November, DHS and the Coast Guard reported that their biometrics-at-sea program has resulted in a nearly 50 percent reduction in the rate of illegal aliens entering the U.S. by sea from ports in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.