EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., is calling on the federal government to use artificial intelligence technology to better secure the southwestern border.
During an interview with Fox News Digital, Mace suggested the rapidly advancing technology could be used to enhance border patrol agents’ monitoring capabilities as border officials continue to see a record number of illegal aliens attempting to cross into the U.S. through Mexico.
On one front, she said, AI could help better collect "biometrics of everyone that comes across the border, especially when we're talking about by land and illegally.
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Rep. Nancy Mace spoke with Fox News Digital about how AI technology can be used to improve border security. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
"And if you're using AI to find their biometrics in a database or multiple databases, I believe it can be done in a much swifter fashion," the congresswoman explained. "I think that that kind of technology could be used when you're driving through the border.
"For example, you don't have to just stop and take a picture. … Using AI, using the advances in photography and video, AI could actually help identify who those individuals are as well.
"There's just a lot of opportunity there to do that, especially with people crossing illegally into our country, when you're using biometrics and comparing it against a … terrorism watchlist. That's really important. I think AI can make that those matches happen a lot faster, too," Mace added.
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Mace argued that artificial intelligence could be used to better enhance existing technology used by border agents. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
Mace said she recently spoke with border officials about how their existing biometrics technology is being used to keep illegal immigration under control and argued that AI’s rapidly advancing technology would be able to build on that.
"I actually met with border patrol this week and looked at what they're doing from a biometrics and cyber kind of standpoint as well," Mace said. "And any border patrol folks that will meet with us and talk to us about technology, we want to have that meeting. We want to talk to them, want to make sure that they have support."
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In this March 30, 2021, file photo, a migrant and her daughter have their biometric data entered at the intake area of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, Pool, File)
While conceding that conversation dealt with technology more broadly, Mace added, "When you're talking about technology, AI inevitably is going to have to be involved. If you're using multiple databases or multiple galleries to search for someone's biometrics when they're coming through the border … AI will make that process better, faster."
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However, she also issued a broad warning about the technology’s downsides.
"We do use AI in different agencies here at the federal level," Mace said. "There’s some really great opportunity to find abuse and waste and fraud in the federal government. But, at the same time, you know, it can be abused, and that's where we want to make sure that consumers are protected."
Elizabeth Elkind is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital.