House passes biometric screening act
10 September 2018 18:18 GMT

The House of Representatives has passed the Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program (BITMAP) Authorization Act (H.R. 6439), sponsored by Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas.

The bill would authorize BITMAP, an effort at the Department of Homeland Security to use biometric and biographical information shared by foreign governments to address border security and terrorist threats before they reach U.S. borders.

McCaul said BITMAP, which the Obama administration began in 2011, “helps us enrich our databases, map illicit pathways, exploit networks, and learn about individuals looking to bring harm” to the U.S.

“We’ve stopped hundreds of known or suspected terrorists from trying to enter the United States under this tried and true program," McCaul said in a House speech Tuesday arguing in support of the program's expansion.

A bill opponent, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Congress does not yet know enough about the effectiveness of BITMAP to decide whether the program should be given permanent authorization.