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Completion of Biometric Deployment

082151Z OCTOBER 8, 2004
STATE 218478
1.  M/R (SEP) cleared this telegram.
2.  I would like to congratulate all NIV and IV issuing
posts on the successful deployment of the biometric visa
program.  The last post was brought on line October 7.  In
a little over a year, we have added to our existing
biometric program for Border Crossing Cards in Mexico the
capability to collect and check fingerprints against the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) IDENT database in any
visa category.  Our systems are an essential link in the US
Visit program and go a long way towards addressing
recommendations that appeared in the 9-11 Commission
report.  I am pleased to report that all 207 NIV posts are
collecting biometrics for nonimmigrant visas, and all 125
IV issuing posts for immigrant and diversity visas.  This
is a phenomenal accomplishment, which would not have been
possible without the cooperation, dedication and
determination of everyone involved in the effort.
3.  The success we have had with the rollout of the program
is enhanced even further by the significant accomplishments
of the process itself.  We have had 3,567 hits in DHS'
IDENT Watchlist since we began biometric deployment.  These
IDENT Watchlist hits are almost all for wanted persons, for
immigration violations, or for criminal history records
submitted by the FBI.
4.  Of those 3,567 IDENT Watchlist hits, 1,434 did not have
a corresponding CLASS CAT 1 hit, and 3,324 did not exactly
match the applicant's name or date of birth in the NIV or
IV system.  I expect the importance of biometric identity
verification will continue to increase in the years ahead,
as the size of the IDENT database grows.  We continue to
work hand in hand with our colleagues at the Department of
Homeland Security to ensure we have a system that continues
to facilitate legitimate international travel and properly
identifies those who pose a threat to prevent them entering
our country.
5.  The Congressionally mandated October 26 deadline seemed
daunting as we began this effort last year.  But I never
had any doubt that with the help and hard work of thousands
of consular officers, our domestic CSD staff, and our
Information Management colleagues, that we could do it and
we did!  To all of you- thank you and well done!
6. Minimize considered.