United States and Canada Announce Efforts to Expedite Travel

The United States and Canada announce initiatives to combat common threats and expedite travel and trade.

On November 24, 2009, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Public Safety Canada Minister Peter Van Loan announced initiatives between the United States and Canada that enhanced their shared commitment to tackle common threats like terrorism and organized crime while ensuring the lawful flow of travel and trade across the border.

The announcement came after Secretary Napolitano and Minister Van Loan met for the second of their formal biannual meetings; the Secretary and the Minister have also met three other times in 2009.

The parties reviewed progress on the mutual goals announced in May which included enhancing information sharing and expanding integrated law enforcement, while protecting privacy and economic security.

“Close cooperation and coordination between the United States and Canada is critical to the national and economic security of both nations,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Minister Van Loan and I are committed to working together to combat transnational threats and facilitate lawful travel and trade on both sides of the border.”

“A shared understanding of the threats and risks we face is paramount to our common objective of enhancing U.S.-Canadian security. We are working together to achieve this,” said Minister Van Loan. “We have a joint responsibility to secure the safety of our citizens.”

The initiatives include a number of bullet points.

Streamlining Border Shipping: Canada and the United States have agreed to work toward aligning the U.S. Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Canada’s Partners in Protection (PIP) program, in an effort to achieve harmonization as quickly as possible.

Maritime Emergency Cooperation: Canada and the United States have created a Maritime Annex to the Joint Framework for the Movement of People and Goods During and Following Emergencies.

NEXUS and FAST Cards Now Accepted Everywhere: Canada will join the United States in recognizing NEXUS and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) trusted traveler program cards as valid identification documents in all lanes at all land and sea border ports of entry beginning November 25, 2009.

Immigration Information Sharing: The United States will join a biometric data sharing initiative involving Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and eventually New Zealand.

Fighting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing: The two countries are in the final stages of completing a Memorandum of Understanding to share data on currency seized at the border.

Combating Human Trafficking: Collaboration is to be enhanced on efforts to combat human trafficking in both nations and across the U.S.-Canada border.

Security Cooperation: It was agreed to exchange best practices and broaden collaboration in the areas of critical infrastructure protection and countering violent extremism.

Continuing Cooperation: Minister Van Loan and Secretary Napolitano expect to meet again in approximately six months to continue their strategic work on mutual initiatives to combat security threats and expedite travel and trade.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit Rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.