United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

HSI Forensic Laboratory

Forensic Laboratory
ICE’s HSI-FL provides a broad range of forensic, intelligence and investigative support to ICE, DHS and many other U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies.

Forensic Services

Latent Print Section

The HSI Forensic Laboratory (HSI-FL) Latent Print (LP) Section provides finger and palm print services and support across all investigative disciplines. These services include, but are not limited to, processing evidence for latent prints (e.g., drug packaging and paraphernalia, firearms, computers, currency, compact discs), latent print comparison, inked print comparison, searching automated fingerprint identification system databases, and providing crime scene assistance.

The LP Section conducts the following forensic examinations:

  • Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) Search
  • Inked Fingerprint Examination
  • Latent Print Processing
  • Latent Print Examination

Questioned Document Section

The HSI Forensic Laboratory Questioned Document (QD) Section specializes in determining the authenticity of documents and identifying the presence of alterations within those documents. Specialized equipment may be used during the examination process that will not affect or damage the original document.

While the QD Section specializes in a full range of travel and identity documents, including but not limited to, passports, visas, driver’s licenses, identification cards and vital records (e.g., birth, death, marriage), any questioned document may be submitted to the HSI Forensic Laboratory for forensic examination.

The QD Section conducts the following forensic examinations:

  • Alteration
  • Authentication
  • Common or Same Source Association
  • Handwriting
  • Indented Impressions
  • Thermal Ribbon Analysis
  • Typewriting and Typewriter Ribbon Analysis
  • Charred and Water-Soaked Documents
  • Physical Match

Operations Services

The Operations Section comprises two sub-sections: the Document Training and Alerts Section and the Law Enforcement Support Section.

Document Training and Alerts Section

The Document Training and Alerts Section uses information developed in the course of the Laboratory's forensic examinations to enhance the abilities of field agents to recognize identity document fraud when they encounter it in the course of their duties. Initiatives include the following:

  • Training – Section personnel develop and deliver training programs on current trends in document security and document fraud that incorporate the results of forensic examinations to HSI special agents and law enforcement partners. This training develops the abilities of law enforcement officers to identify fraudulent documents.
  • Document intelligence products – Section personnel create intelligence bulletins to help law enforcement officers examine new identity and travel documents and to identify trends in document fraud.

Law Enforcement Support Section

Intelligence analysis and the forensic disciplines are utilized by the Law Enforcement Support Section staff to assist HSI and other law enforcement agency investigations of illicit activity in the United States and throughout the world as facilitated by document fraud. Examples of the types of criminal activities include the following:

  • Financial Crime
  • Narcotics Smuggling
  • Identity Theft
  • Human Trafficking and Smuggling
  • Fraudulent Identity Document Vending
  • Immigration Benefit Fraud

In addition to providing law enforcement support for current investigations, leads developed from on-going analysis of transnational criminal organizations are forwarded to HSI field offices and attachés.

Polygraph Program

The HSI-FL Polygraph Program consists of HSI special agents trained in the detection of deception as well as various interview techniques. The section conducts polygraph examinations in support of a wide variety of HSI investigations including counter-proliferation, human smuggling and trafficking, internal and narcotics. Polygraph examinations can establish a subject's credibility and identify additional leads, suspects and assets. Polygraph examinations are also given to foreign law enforcement officers seeking to join HSI vetted law enforcement units.

Other Laboratory Services

The HSI-FL oversees the Evidence Recovery Teams (ERTs) Pilot Program. The ERTs are designed to provide a standardized, agency-wide method for collecting physical evidence to ensure proper handling and preservation for subsequent scientific evaluation. The HSI-FL manages the ERT program development and training.

The HSI-FL is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.