The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded Accenture Federal Services a 13-month, $71 million contract to further enhance the capabilities of its immigration and border management functions.
The contract supports the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program, a biometric and biographic identity management system that helps federal, state and local officials determine if travellers can legally enter or remain in the United States. Work will include increasing the number and types of biometrics used in identification and adding technical services and capabilities to support users of the system.
Biometrics are unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used for automated recognition. Biometrics forms the basis of US-VISIT identification services because they are reliable, convenient and virtually impossible to forge. US-VISIT currently uses digital fingerprints and photographs. A pilot program included in the contract will test facial and iris voluntary identification enrolment and matching.
US-VISIT provides biometric information to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration. Upgrades under the contract also will enable biometric information to be shared in real time with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Defense.
“Border management, immigration and customs organisations are challenged with facilitating the movement of people and cargo across borders while enhancing the security of citizens and visitors,” said Tom Greiner, who leads Accenture’s work on the US-VISIT program. “We are working with Homeland Security to create border management solutions that deliver results.”
Biometric information collected by US-VISIT is verified by the federal government. The information is checked against a watch list of known or suspected terrorists, criminals and wanted felons, and for possible violation of immigration laws.
Accenture began working on US-VISIT in 2004, overseeing operational responsibility for the
Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). Since then, IDENT has become the largest biometric identity solution in the world, processing more than 300,000 encounters a day against a database of more than 130 million stored encounters. The average response time for users is under 10 seconds.