U.S. Visit pilot launches Monday

The Homeland Security Department on Monday will begin a pilot of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator System at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport.

The Hartsfield pilot will operate for several weeks to identify ways that DHS can gauge travelers' reactions to U.S. Visit processing, test the system's operation and help DHS workers learn to process travelers quickly and respectfully, a senior U.S. Visit official said.

U.S. Visit will collect travelers' fingerprints with the Cross Match Verifier 300 scanner from Cross Match Technologies Inc. of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and digital images with QuickCam cameras from Logitech Inc. of Fremont, Calif., the official said.

DHS might turn off U.S. Visit during the busy travel days around Thanksgiving, the official said.

The U.S. Visit program is on track to go live at 113 airports and 14 seaports on Jan. 5, the official said. 'Once we tweak any software changes, we will put out a final version in December and turn it on in January,' he said.

DHS built the first increment of U.S. Visit with a systems integration project coordinating efforts by the Interagency Border Information System (IBIS), the Enforce booking and holding system for apprehensions, and the Ident automated fingerprint identification system. U.S. Visit also links to the Advanced Passenger Information System and the Arrival Departure Information System for processing information about travelers.

'The visa information comes to us and is stored in IBIS,' the official said. 'When a passenger comes in and presents a travel document, the fingerprint is on file and the system will tell Ident to match it up. Everybody who goes through is checked against a biometric watch list.'

Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., carried out the Ident portion of the work, Computer Sciences Corp. built the ADIS portion, and Barton & Associates of Bethesda has contracted to integrate IBIS with U.S. Visit.

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