INSPASS (Immigration and Naturalization Service Passenger Accelerated Service System)
INSPASS (Immigration and Naturalization Service Passenger Accelerated Service System) is a component of the Port Passenger Accelerated Service System (PORTPASS) in use at selected airports to facilitate passage through entry checkpoints. INSPASS and other expedited U.S. national entry systems are designed to identify preapproved low-risk international travelers using a combination of biometric measurements. Automated entry systems are designed to allow inspectors additional time to focus on high-risk entrants.
As of March 1, 2003, the newly created United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) absorbed the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). All INS border patrol agents and investigators—along with agents from the U.S. Customs Service and Transportation Security Administration—were placed under the direction of the DHS Directorate of Border and Transportation Security (BTS). Responsibility for U.S. border security and the enforcement of immigration laws was transferred to BTS.
BTS is scheduled to incorporate the United States Customs Service (previously part of the Department of Treasury), the enforcement division of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (previously part of the Department of Justice), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (previously part of the Department of Agriculture), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (previously part of the Department of Treasury), Transportation Security Administration (previously part of the Department of Transportation) and the Federal Protective Service (previously part of the General Services Administration).
Former INS immigration service functions are scheduled to be placed under the direction of the DHS Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Under the reorganization the INS formally ceases to exist on the date the last of its functions are transferred.
Although the description of the technologies involved in the INSPASS entry security program remains stable, in an effort to facilitate border security BTS plans envision higher levels of coordination between formerly separate agencies and databases. As of April 2003, the specific coordination and future of the INSPASS program was uncertain with regard to name changes, program administration, and policy changes.
INSPASS systems utilize hand geometry biometrics. Hand geometry measurements include biometric registration of hand length, thickness and translucency.
At entry points an INSPASS station compares hand geometry biometric images to a database of preregistered travelers. The INSPASS system is integrated in such a way that data obtained can generate entry records that can be utilized by other monitoring programs. The ability to cross reference databases is a key component in the Department of Homeland Security's emerging strategy to eliminate gaps and spot suspicious activity in entry security systems.
INSPASS also allows travelers to save time. The INSPASS imaging process generally takes less than a minute but still allows positive identification for inspectors. After the prospective entrant's identity is validated, automatic doors or gates open to allow passage. If a file is flagged, more than one person attempts entry, or there is a question of identity, a warning message appears on inspectors' monitors to alert them to a need to conduct a personal interview.
As with other automated entry systems, INSPASS utilizes a "one-to-one" search protocol to verify identity. Instead of comparing gathered biometrics across a broad database, an identification number allows direct comparison with the biometric measurements on file for that identification number. In essence, the automated systems only verify that the person is the same person initially associated with the biometric measurements on file in the database. Unlike fingerprint search protocols used by the FBI, the entry search protocols are, as of March 2003, unable to take biometrics and conduct a broad search to identify a subject's identity. In theory, the same biometric measurements could be registered to two different identities.
As of March 2003, the airport INSPASS was available at airports in New York, Newark, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and some Canadian sites.
INSPASS is available to citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States, citizens of Canada or Bermuda, and landed immigrants of Canada who are citizens of British Commonwealth countries. Citizens of Visa Waiver Pilot Program countries are also eligible. Applicants for the airport INSPASS must travel to the United States on business at least three times per year. In addition to other restrictions, INSPASS is not available to travelers who have a criminal record.
The legal basis of all entry inspections derives from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR].
Other countries have similar automated immigration systems. For example, Canada uses the CANPASS system (Canadian Passenger Accelerated Service System).
█ FURTHER READING:
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. INSPASS. March 1, 2003. < http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/howdoi/inspassloc.htm > (April 14, 2003).
Department of Homeland Security. April 2, 2003. < http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/index.jsp > (April 11, 2003).
United States Department of Homeland Security. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, PORTPASS. March 11, 2003. < http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/howdoi/portpass.htm > (April 9, 2003).
——. Immigration Information, INSPASS. March 4, 2003. < http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/shared/howdoi/inspass.htm > (April 9, 2003).
APIS (Advance Passenger Information System)
IBIS (Interagency Border Inspection System)
IDENT (Automated Biometric Identification System)
NAILS (National Automated Immigration Lookout System)
PORTPASS (Port Passenger Accelerated Service System)
SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers' Rapid Inspection)