If you’ve returned to the United States from abroad recently, depending on where you returned from, you may have not had to even hand the CBP agent your passport. When I landed from Paris in March 2022 at Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport and was clearing immigration, my experience went like this:
CBP agent: Take off your mask and look at the camera. Me: *takes off mask and looks at camera* CBP agent: Hello there, Jeffrey! Me: So you do know me! (Then the CBP agent proceeds to ask me questions.)
It’s important to note that this technology cannot be opted out of if you are a foreign national, even if you have a green card. For U.S. citizens, usage of facial recognition is optional, but if you refuse, it’ll make your immigration process longer and more annoying, and you might even be sent to secondary. After a long transatlantic flight, I was not in the mood to be principled and object to this; I just wanted to be done with it and go home. Furthermore, I’m actually a fan of the CBP Biometrics program, as it does make crossing the border safer and it lets us keep up with the technology used by other countries like China, who started doing this between 2017 and 2019, and the United Arab Emirates, before we did in 2020. Without getting into politics, I will just say that it’s both cool and scary that this is the technology available today.