The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is investing billions of dollars in its U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program to collect, maintain, and share information on selected foreign nationals who enter and exit the United States. The program uses biometric identifiers (digital fingerscans and photographs) to screen people against watch lists and to verify that a visitor is the person who was issued a visa or other travel document. The program is also to biometrically confirm the individual's departure. For over 3 years, GAO has reported on US-VISIT capability deployments and shortfalls, as well as fundamental limitations in DHS's efforts to define and justify US-VISIT's future direction and to cost-effectively manage the delivery of program capabilities on time and within budget. GAO was asked to testify on (1) the status of the program's implementation and (2) the program's progress in addressing longstanding management weaknesses. Given where US-VISIT is today and the challenges and uncertainties associated with where it is going, GAO believes that DHS is long overdue in demonstrating that it is pursuing the right US-VISIT solution and that it is managing US-VISIT the right way.
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