The Secretary of Homeland Security and our Minister of Public Safety just wrapped up a bi-annual meeting and announced the addition of the United States to an existing program that uses biometric information to match immigration and refugee applicants to information in foreign databases. From the media release:
Secretary Napolitano and Minister Van Loan announce initiatives to combat common threats and expedite travel and trade
Immigration Information Sharing: Secretary Napolitano announced that the United States will join a biometric data sharing initiative involving Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and, eventually, New Zealand – an initiative designed to strengthen the integrity of immigration systems and the security of each country while protecting privacy and civil rights. Minister Van Loan, with the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, welcomed the United States’ participation.
“Previous trials show that biometric information sharing works. For example, when the fingerprints of some asylum claimants in Canada were checked against the U.S. database, more than a third matched and 12 percent of these individuals presented a different identity in the United States,” said Minister Kenney. “The data sharing helps uncover details about refugee claimants such as identity, nationality, criminality, travel and immigration history, all of which can prove relevant to the claim.”
I'm trying to get my hands on the Privacy Impact Assessment for the program, but as with most such documents they are well hidden on the department's website.