“Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness” is a joint initiative between the United States and Canada to enhance security and expedite trade and travel in order to benefit both nations. From the declaration by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper released on February 4, 2011:
“The United States and Canada are staunch allies, vital economic partners, and steadfast friends. We share common values, deep links among our citizens, and deeply rooted ties. The extensive mobility of people, goods, capital, and information between our two countries has helped ensure that our societies remain open, democratic, and prosperous…
To preserve and extend the benefits our close relationship has helped bring to Americans and Canadians alike, we intend to pursue a perimeter approach to security, working together within, at, and away from the borders of our two countries to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. We intend to do so in partnership, and in ways that support economic competitiveness, job creation, and prosperity.”
The Beyond the Border Action Plan released on December 7, 2011 detailed the specific steps that would be taken to achieve these goals. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “Among other things, the United States and Canada intend to increase harmonized benefits to NEXUS members, enhance border infrastructure and facilities, implement additional pre-clearance initiatives, and implement border wait-time technology at high-priority border crossings.”
Each year, the White House has released Beyond the Border Implementation Reports (in 2012, 2013 and 2014) summarizing the progress that has been made. Here are some key points from the 2014 report released on May 19, 2015:
- The Entry/Exit initiative is being implemented at all automated common land border ports of entry. In an effort to strengthen the integrity of each country’s immigration system, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are securely sharing entry records on approximately 10,000-15,000 travelers daily, as a record of exit from the other country.
- The United States and Canada are installing border wait time technology at the top 20 land border crossings to reliably measure north and southbound wait times, monitor operational performance relative to published service standards, and position drivers to make informed travel decisions.
- The two countries finalized the Preclearance Agreement, signed on March 16, 2015. It involves an examination of travelers and goods by the destination country at designated preclearance sites inside the territory of the departure country. The process is intended to reduce congestion and delays at the border and increase efficiency.
- In order to combat identity fraud, bolster security and improve the integrity and efficiency of admissibility decisions, the United States and Canada have introduced the Immigration Information Sharing Treaty/Agreement and expanded the sharing of biometric information (fingerprints).
- The Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (ICSS) was developed to ensure the safe and timely movement of goods, cargo and baggage over the border. The goal of ICSS is to utilize advance information to address risks at the earliest opportunity. The United States and Canada have worked to reduce duplicative security requirements in order to save time and money.
- There has been an increase in NEXUS membership and benefits, with an 80 percent increase in membership since 2011. NEXUS, the joint Canada-U.S. Trusted Traveler program, reduces wait times at primary inspection lanes at Canadian and U.S. airports and land ports of entry. CBSA opened new NEXUS lanes at major land border crossings, including Pacific Highway, British Columbia, Windsor (Ambassador Bridge) and Niagara Falls (Whirlpool Bridge), Ontario.
- Canada and the United States developed the Cross Border Law Enforcement Advisory Committee, which seeks to enhance the integrity of the shared border by supporting cross-border law enforcement initiatives of CBP, CBSA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
- The two countries are employing the Joint Cybersecurity Action Plan, which is an effort to enhance cyber incident management collaboration between National Cybersecurity Operations Centers. The United States and Canada are cooperating on ongoing cybersecurity public awareness efforts.
Allow us to help you cross the border with confidence by calling or emailing Berardi Immigration Law today for a consultation.