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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios Visuals

The Department of Homeland Security recently updated its proposal to include U.S. citizens in facial recognition databases when entering or leaving the country.

The big picture: This move is part of the agency's long-term plan to upgrade the TSA's biometrics and identification technology, which has included facial recognition testing at over a dozen major airports.

Where it stands: U.S. citizens can opt out of having their picture processed at airports to verify their identity, per Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy.

Yes, but: ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley described incidents from the past few months in which two U.S. citizens — at Dublin preclearance and Dulles International Airport — were told by CBP officers they were not allowed to opt out of entering the TSA's facial recognition database.

  • In another case, Stanley said a U.S. citizen was detained for an hour and interrogated for opting out.
  • Stanley, who attended a CBP briefing on the new policy Tuesday, said the agency suggested that they were strongly considering not making facial recognition checkpoints mandatory for U.S. citizens.

What's new: The DHS' latest proposal cites the duties of the CBP commissioner as part of why it would have the legal authority to require U.S. citizens to participate in facial recognition at points of entry.

Background: CBP says it has used facial recognition to match travelers' photos with their identity documents in more than 20 U.S. airports. The agency was testing its biometric exit program at 13 major airports in June of last year.

  • CBP says it discards all photos of U.S. citizens within 12 hours of identity verification.

The bottom line: The DHS has extended its timetable to August 2020 to implement its new facial recognition rules.

Go deeper: House Democrats ask DHS to address use of facial recognition on U.S. citizens

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected to eliminate an inaccurate reference to Amazon Web Services.

Go deeper

Hill votes will make global waves

President Biden addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

This epic week for President Biden on Capitol Hill is even bigger than his domestic agenda.

Why it matters: Biden has anchored his entire strategy for foreign affairs on the notion that "America is back." What that means in practice is that Biden needs to prove democracy works to rally America’s liberal allies against rising authoritarians.

3 hours ago - World

German election: Exit polls show close race to succeed Angela Merkel

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — The first exit poll from Sunday's German elections showed the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) in a dead heat at 25%, leaving the race to succeed Angela Merkel too close to call.

The state of play: A second exit poll showed the SPD narrowly ahead. That's the one televisions displayed at SPD headquarters in Berlin, where the room erupted into cheers. Official results will roll in throughout the evening.

Abbott says he'll hire Border Patrol agents on horseback if they're fired

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Sunday defended the actions of U.S. Border Patrol agents who charged at Haitian migrants on horseback, blaming the Biden administration for not preventing them from crossing the border.

Why it matters: Abbott's remark on "Fox News Sunday" comes amid increased backlash over the incident, with President Biden saying, "I promise... those people will pay,” and the Department of Homeland Security launching an investigation.