PORTPASS (Port Passenger Accelerated Service System)
PORTPASS (Port Passenger Accelerated Service System) is a generic term for programs developed to expedite passage through U.S. national entry systems. PORTPASS components include the INSPASS (Immigration and Naturalization Service Passenger Accelerated Service System), SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers' Rapid Inspection), OARS (Outlying Area Reporting Station), and RVIS (Remote Video Inspection System) systems. The general goal of PORTPASS programs is to identify preapproved low-risk international travelers and allow inspectors additional time to focus on high-risk entrants.
As with other automated entry systems, PORTPASS databases utilize a "one-to-one" search protocol to verify identity. Instead of comparing gathered biometrics or vehicle identification data across a broad database, an identification number allows direct comparison with the data assigned to a PORTPASS identification number.
INSPASS is used at selected airports to facilitate passage through entry checkpoints. INSPASS systems utilize hand geometry biometrics that include measurements of hand length, thickness and translucency.
SENTRI is used at selected border crossings to facilitate quick passage through entry inspection checkpoints. SENTRI programs screen participants and their vehicles against information already gathered in the program database. SENTRI utilizes digital license plate readers and camera scans that allow inspectors to validate both the identity of the vehicle and the identity of the occupants of the vehicle against digitized photographs of approved participants in the SENTRI database and other law enforcement databases.
OARS was developed as a counterpart to the Canadian Border Boat Landing Program (I-68 program) that allows registered participants facilitated entry to U.S. waters for recreational purposes through a self-reporting system located at fueling docks, boating marinas, and state parks.
RVIS is a PORTPASS program in use along the U.S. border with Canada. Using video surveillance, inspectors can remotely monitor border crossings. Inspectors can verify registered RVIS participants and alert enforcement authorities in the event of an unauthorized border crossing. Automated systems are also backed with a video inspection system so that, if the identification systems fail to provide a positive match to approved database information, inspectors located offsite can still interview the prospective entrant.
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 also scheduled to incorporate the United States Customs Service (previously part of the Department of Treasury). 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 technologies involved in PORTPASS entry security programs remain viable, in an effort to facilitate border security, BTS plans currently envision higher levels of coordination between formerly separate agencies and databases. As of April 2003, the specific coordination and future of PORTPASS programs was uncertain with regard to potential name changes, program administration, and policy changes.
█ 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).
Department of Homeland Security. Secure Electronic Network For Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI). March 26, 2003.< http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/shared/lawenfor/bmgmt/inspect/sentri htm > (April 9, 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).
United States Department of Homeland Security. 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)
INSPASS (Immigration and Naturalization Service Passenger Accelerated Service System)
NAILS (National Automated Immigration Lookout System)
SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers' Rapid Inspection)