U.S. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper have sanctioned an ongoing discussion to remove barriers that impede the legitimate flow of people, goods and services across the Canada/USA border. To this end, in December of 2011, the two countries issued a document called the BEYOND THE BORDER Action Plan (the “Plan”). Among many ambitious proposals, the Plan calls for NEXUS enhancement.
By separating NEXUS enrollees from the rest of the traveling public, NEXUS enables Canadian and U.S. border authorities to concentrate their efforts on potentially high-risk travelers and goods, thereby enhancing border security. It also allows frequent border crossers to enjoy predictable and timely border-crossings. This blog urges that the Plan’s NEXUS enhancements include the following:
- Retreat from NEXUS’ Zero Tolerance enrollment policy that denies NEXUS benefits to persons with criminal convictions for minor violations of the law, no matter how old. A waiver of ineligibity for FAST enrollment is available to qualifying truck drivers with minor convictions. There is no sound reason why such benefit should be denied NEXUS applicants.
- Establishment of an appeals process by the U.S. (Canada already has such a process) for NEXUS denials and revocations. NEXUS has matured since its establishment in 2001 as part of the Smart Border accord, and due process protections need to be built into its application and revocation procedures. A Smart Border is incomplete without such safeguards.
NEXUS attempts to strike a balance between national security and economic security, but the application of zero-tolerance program eligibility rules combined with the lack of an appeals mechanism for those denied NEXUS program benefits shows little regard for personal security. To date, NEXUS procedures have left individual rights subject to the whim of institutional expediency.
The Plan also indicates that the U.S. and Canada will implement a joint marketing plan for NEXUS. To this end, this blog suggests that NEXUS enrollees be able to opt-in for NEXUS e-mail updates through which participants receive updated information regarding additions and deletions of prohibited food items, changes in NEXUS hours, addition of NEXUS lanes at various Ports of Entry, and periodic reminders of NEXUS rules.
NEXUS has proven itself at land- border crossings and airports. This blog suggests NEXUS documented passengers receive priority boarding benefits when boarding US destined cruise ships or AMTRAC at Vancouver BC.
Greg Boos blogs from his office in Bellingham WA and his home in Vancouver BC. Please contact Greg the following address should you desire assistance on a US immigration matter:
Greg Boos, Attorney at Law
Cascadia Cross-Border Law
1305 11th Street, Suite 301
Bellingham WA 98225
At Cascadia Cross-Border Law, we create transparent borders!