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Key Points
  • DHS has withdrawn a proposed rule to expand biometrics collection for non-US citizen travelers
  • The rule was originally proposed on September 11, 2020
  • The proposed rule would have subjected more individuals to biometrics collection
  • The decision to withdraw the rule is consistent with Executive Order 14012
  • DHS will continue to require submission of biometrics where appropriate
Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) withdrew a proposed rule that would have authorized US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to expand biometrics collection for certain travelers entering or exiting the country.
DHS is withdrawing a proposed rule that was originally published in the Federal Register in September 2020.
The decision to withdraw the rule is in accordance with Executive Order 14012, “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans,” and additional administration priorities to reduce barriers and undue burdens in the immigration system.
DHS is also withdrawing the proposed rule in response to feedback received during a 30-day public comment period. Commenters, who included individuals, professional organizations, legal service providers, and state and local governments, opposed the proposed rule due to privacy, economic, and immigration policy concerns. They argued that the scope of biometrics submission requirements outlined in the proposed rule exceeded the biometrics requirements needed to adjudicate naturalization and immigration benefits. After considering commenters’ concerns, DHS considered some of them to be justified. The agency is withdrawing its proposed rule accordingly.
What are the Changes? 
The proposed rule from September 11, 2020 would have expanded biometrics collections to non-US citizens at all land, sea, and air borders. Currently, biometrics data collection is limited to 15 seaports and airports through pilot programs. Additionally, it would have required biometrics data from more individuals, including certain groups that were previously exempt. The proposed rule also expanded the type of biometrics data that can be collected.
Looking Ahead 
DHS will continue to require biometrics collections where appropriate. CIP will provide updates to the agency’s biometrics requirements as available.
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