Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Biometric ID mismatches lead to two Dulles imposters in one week
Mismatches between identity documents and biometric scans gave away two men hoping to enter the U.S. illegally on flights into Washington Dulles International Airport the week of Jan. 28.
In two separate incidents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the airport detected a Mexican and a Guinean, trying to use bogus identity documents upon their arrivals at Dulles.
CBP said it charged both men administratively for violating U.S. immigration law. It didn’t name either man in a Feb. 1 statement, but ordered both to be deported.
The Mexican man departed Jan. 29 and is barred from entering the U.S. for 20 years. The Guinean has been ordered removed with a five year bar, but remains detained until the merits of his credible fear review claim can be evaluated, said the agency. Such claims are filed by those who fear they may be persecuted or tortured if they return to their home countries and can be a prelude to asylum in the U.S.
In both cases CBP said biometric verification during the primary arrivals inspection process detected a mismatch between the traveler and the travel documents’ true bearer.
“Customs and Border Protection officers employ a variety of tools to ensure that the traveler standing before him or her is a legitimate traveler visiting the United States for a legitimate purpose,” said Christopher Hess, CBP port director of the port of Washington. “We are a welcoming nation, and one that gladly welcomes visitors who respect our nation’s laws.”
The 44-year-old Mexican man, said the agency, arrived from Mexico City on Jan. 28 and presented a Mexican passport and U.S. travel visa. A CBP officer referred him for a more comprehensive secondary exam after the biometric mismatch. According to the agency, its computer systems showed the visa and passport belonged to another person. CBP officers also discovered that the traveler being inspected was previously deported on Jan. 18 and barred for 20 years after he was apprehended illegally entering the country.
The 30-year-old Guinean man arrived on Jan. 30 from Johannesburg, South Africa, said CBP and presented several documents to a CBP officer, including a Liberian passport, a U.S. immigrant visa and a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident identification card. However, the man was a biometric mismatch to the document’s true bearer, said the agency. During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered a Guinea national identification card that belonged to the traveler issued under a different name. The man remains in federal detention until his credible fear review. He faces a five year bar from returning to the U.S., said CBP.