The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol suffered from a system outage on Friday afternoon, causing nationwide delays. As a result, officials have been forced to rely on slower backup systems. Customs and Border Patrol did not give much detail about the issue, apart from saying that there was a “technology disruption” in a tweet.
The outage has affected New York’s JFK International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, as well as Dulles International Airport, which services Washington, D.C. The three are among the most populous airports in the nation.
Long lines have started to move at New York’s JFK International Airport. According to The Inquisitr’s own Dominick Miserandino, border patrol agents have started “manually processing” travelers. Miserandino has been waiting at customs for nearly an hour.
“CBP is experiencing a temporary outage with its processing systems at various air ports of entry & is taking immediate action to address the technology disruption,” the agency said in a statement on Twitter.
“CBP officers are working to process travelers as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest levels of security,” a follow-up tweet added.
Social media has been flooded with videos and photos from frustrated travelers who are stuck in long lines while waiting to be processed through customs. One video shows a hallway completely filled with people, unable to enter even the immigration processing room.
— Tracy Kornet (@WSMVTracyKornet) August 16, 2019
However, it seems as if the crisis will be over soon. CBS Boston tweeted that the delays will not be “much longer” as the system is working again.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) August 16, 2019
This is not the first crisis that has affected Customs in recent months. According to WSB-TV News, a number of customs officers from Atlanta were reassigned and sent to work at the border. The move lead to numerous delays at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, another major national hub.
The systems failure comes one day after Customs and Border Protection announced that it would be expanding its use of technology, per Security Today. The new move will focus on increasing facial recognition software, which is already present in a number of airports. In addition, it hoped to include more biometric technology in the hopes to “significantly reduce” the need for its officers to depend on data entry and rely on passengers’ travel documents.
CBP also called on contractors to help with its goals, adding that it also hoped to move their processing system to the cloud. The cost is estimated to be around $1 billion, though, in light of today’s events, many travelers will likely claim that it is worth it.