TPG Discusses the Future of Travel With the Head of Customs and Border Protection

Aug 7, 2017

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On July 26, TPG sat down with Kevin McAleenan, Acting Commissioner for US Customs and Border Protection, to discuss the future of border security in a Facebook Live session. We’ve edited their conversation down to a 19-minute highlight reel for those who missed the live-stream.

Here’s a look at their conversation’s most interesting moments:

Biometrics are the future

Acting Commissioner McAleenan told TPG that speeding up the entry process with biometric screening is a top priority for the CBP. There could come a time where, through data such as fingerprint checks and facial recognition software, passengers could fly through security without even taking out their passport. “My vision is for those Global Entry travelers to keep walking right through the terminal if they have nothing to declare,” McAleenan said.

Passengers hide the darnedest things

“You see all kinds of crazy things coming through our airports,” McAleenan noted. That shouldn’t be too surprising; desperate passengers will do anything to skirt travel restrictions — and we mean anything. McAleenan recalls one animal smuggler in LAX who had “a large hairdo, full of curlers, with 24 small birds sedated in each curler.”

Pre-clearance is a priority

One of CBP’s most promising efforts is its Preclearance initiative, in which US-bound travelers pass through the CBP’s border security before stepping foot on their plane. It’s already going steady in six countries and McAleenan told TPG that the agency is working on adding another 20 over the next two years.

Boarding passes are on their way out

There may come a day when your face is all you need to board a plane. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s a future that CBP is considering, according to McAleenan. Alongside TSA, which CBP works closely with as a sister agency under the Department of Homeland Security, the organization is actively preparing for the future of travel.

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