Press Release


Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security to Examine Implementing Biometric Entry-Exit

Media Contacts: Charlotte Sellmyer (202) 226-8417

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Homeland Security Committee will hold the following hearing tomorrow.

THURSDAY,  September 26 at 10:30 a.m.

Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security

Fulfilling a Key 9/11 Commission Recommendation: Implementing Biometric Exit

311 Cannon House Office Building

Witness List:

  • Mr. John Wagner, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Mr. John Woods, Assistant Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Ms. Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, Government Accountability Office

Subcommittee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI) on the hearing: “Twelve years ago, 19 terrorists successfully penetrated our border and visa security defenses, hijacked four planes to conduct a heinous attack that took the lives of almost 3,000 innocent people.  That act of violence is the very reason the Department of the Homeland Security exists and why this Committee was created — to prevent another terrorist attack on the Homeland.  One of the ways we can honor those who lost their lives is to make sure an attack like that never happens again, to harden our defenses and act on the hard lessons learned from that horrible day.  Among those lessons is that our nation must establish a biometric entry-exit system.

“While progress has been made to strengthen the collection of information, including fingerprints and photographs, of aliens upon entry into the United States, the Department cannot match such information upon exit from the country.  As a result, the Department currently has a backlog of more than a million ‘unmatched’ records, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection has entry, but no exit information on aliens who came to the country on a valid visa.  As many as 40% of all illegal aliens are believed to have entered the country on a valid visa, which means that any attempt to fully secure the border must also address the challenge of identifying and then removing visa overstays.  This hearing will focus on how we as a nation establish a biometric exit system – one that serves our national security interests as a counterterrorism tool, as well as immigration control efforts.  Adding a reliable biometric exit system reduces the chance that overstays can stay in the country beyond their period of admission and, most importantly, reduces the threat from terror in the process.”

*LIVE video of the hearing will be available here.