Under the Bush administration, the government built hundreds of miles of fencing along the Mexican border. A planned virtual fence was also started, but then scrapped by the Obama administration in 2010 after the project was deemed a failure. About 53 miles of virtual fencing is in place, at a cost of about $1 billion.
An exit verification system has been sought since after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but efforts to build one have been repeatedly stymied, most often because of the projected costs. Earlier this year, John Cohen, deputy counterterrorism coordinator for the Homeland Security Department, told a congressional panel that the agency was finalizing plans for a biometric data system to track who leaves the country and when. He didn't give details.
Associated Press writer Suzanne Gamboa contributed to this report.
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