Canada and United States for ‘Smart Border Declaration’

Canada and the United States signed the “Smart Border Declaration” which outlines a 30-point action plan through which both countries would collaborate in identifying and addressing security risks while efficiently and effectively addressing the legitimate flow of people and goods back and forth across the Canada-U.S. border.

The new objectives contained in the Secure and Smart Border Action Plan is as follows:

Secure Flow of People:

· To develop and deploy a secure card for permanent residents

· To resume, evaluate and expand the NEXUS pilot project at the Sarnia-Port Huron border point and discuss its expansion to air travel

· To review practices and procedures for the screening of refugee/asylum claimants

· To implement the Canada-U.S. Pre-clearance Agreement, resume in-transit pre-clearance at Vancouver and expand it to other airports

· To share Advance Passenger Information and agreed-to Passenger Name Records for flights in transit and between Canada and the U.S.

· To review customs and immigration presence and practices at international ferry terminals;

· To develop jointly an automated immigration database; and

· To provide international technical assistance.

Secure Flow of Goods:

· To establish complementary systems for commercial processing, including audit-based programs

· To develop an integrated approach for processing truck, rail and marine cargo away from the border

· To establish criteria for the creation of small, remote joint border facilities

· To share customs data and

· To exchange information and analysts to target marine in-transit containers.

Secure Infrastructure:

· Work to secure resources for joint and coordinated physical and technological improvements to border and trade corridor infrastructure

· To deploy interoperable technologies for the secure movement of goods and people

· To assess threats and protect transborder transportation and other critical infrastructure

· To finalize agreement on comparable/equivalent aviation security and training standards.

Coordination and Information Sharing:

· To address legal and operational challenges to joint removals of deportees

· To bring into force legislation on terrorism

· To exchange advance information on individuals and organizations designated as engaging in terrorist fundraising

· To increase dialogue and commitment to joint counter-terrorism training and exercises.

Immigration attorneys have expressed concern about the impact of this agreement on people seeking asylum. Asylum seekers on the U.S. side of the border-seeking asylum in Canada could be forced to apply for asylum in the U.S. (where they are more likely to be detained and denied). Currently, about 40% of asylum seekers in Canada arrive from the U.S. In addition, asylum seekers who lose in the U.S. may be unable to apply in Canada.

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