Amid the confusion and outcry over Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees, a brief section about biometric identification mostly got overlooked.
Section 7 in the document calls for the "expedited completion of the biometric entry-exit tracking system" recommended by the 9/11 Commission for travelers to the country. This applies to non-citizens and travelers from countries that don't have a bilateral agreement with the United States.
Currently, when travelers entering the country who aren't U.S. citizens or from countries in the Visa Waiver program pass through immigration, they have their fingerprints scanned. Capturing fingerprint scans at U.S. borders started after 9/11 and first used machines that scanned two fingers, but now uses readers that scan all ten.
The process exists only for entry, however.
"The U.S. is perhaps the only country I'm aware of where there is no immigration at the exit," Anil Jain, a biometrics expert and university distinguished professor in Michigan State University's Department of Computer Science, told Seeker. Jain immigrated to the U.S. from Lucknow, India, in 1969. He's been working in biometrics recognition for 25 years, and on pattern recognition and computer vision for 45 years.