Mayorkas touts 'enormous opportunities' with AI as DHS launches new pilot programs

The Department of Homeland Security is announcing a new artificial intelligence road map that includes multiple programs to better train immigration officers, plan for hazards and tackle child exploitation and fentanyl smuggling — as the use of the technology grows within the federal government.

The agency announced on Monday three pilot programs that will use AI in three agencies: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The New York Times reported that the programs will be launched in partnership with OpenAI, Meta and Anthropic — an American AI startup.

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is expected to face a House impeachment vote. (Getty Images)

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), which primarily deals with transnational crime, will develop a system to improve summaries that investigators rely on. DHS believes it could help stop fentanyl and child exploitation networks, including by allowing for quicker access to databases and identifying trends.

USCIS, which deals with legal immigration, will use AI to improve immigration officer training using chatbots for mock interviews. The goal of the program is to improve information retention, increase accuracy and prevent retraining, the agency said in a statement.

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FEMA, meanwhile, will use AI to develop plans for hazard mitigation, specifically by crafting strategies to identify risks and allowing for them to be customizable by local and state governments.

In a statement, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the “unprecedented speed and potential of AI’s development and adoption presents both enormous opportunities to advance our mission and risks we must mitigate.”

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“The DHS AI roadmap and pilots will guide our efforts this year to strengthen our national security, improve our operations, and provide more efficient services to the American people, while upholding our commitment to protect civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy,” he said.

DHS has embraced the new, largely untested technology and has made a number of major moves to use it to its advantage. Last month the agency announced a hiring “sprint” to recruit 50 experts on the technology for an “AI Corps” to keep infrastructure safe from AI attacks as well as combating fentanyl distribution and online child exploitation.

Last year it announced new guardrails for any use of the tech, while also forming an AI task force. It has also used AI more on the frontlines, including at the southern border where the technology has been used at ports of entry to track vehicles and passengers. The agency says it has led to dozens of drug seizures, including fentanyl.

Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital, primarily covering immigration and border security.

He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.

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