According to officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the installation of RFID readers will begin next week in Nogales, Ariz. The readers are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and are being installed in anticipation of new travel document requirements that take effect in June of next year.
The readers will be used to process the new RFID-enabled Passport Cards, as well as documents issued as part of the Sentri and Nexus trusted traveler programs for residents of Canada and Mexico who frequently cross the border. For privacy protection, the tags will contain a reference number that must be entered into a secured Homeland Security database to provide personal information about the ID holder.
The readers will be capable of scanning RFID tags from a distance of 20 to 30 feet, and will be installed at four vehicle lanes at the port over two weeks. This is believed to be the first permanent installation of RFID readers along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the WHTI program.