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The U.S. and Canada Announce Pilot to Enhance Border Security at Land Ports of Entry

Release Date: 
September 28, 2012

WASHINGTON-The Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency announced today that, effective September 30, 2012, both agencies will begin the Phase I pilot of the Entry/Exit program as outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

Routine biographic information will be collected between September 30, 2012 and January 31, 2013. Beginning October 15, 2012, both agencies will begin exchanging this information to record entry into one country so that it becomes a record of exit from the other country. The pilot will not affect regular port operations in any way.

"The sharing of entry and exit information will facilitate the legitimate flow of traffic between the U.S. and Canada while strengthening border security," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner, David V. Aguilar. "This pilot is an important step forward in the shared perimeter vision."

"As outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan, our governments are committed to maintaining the integrity of our shared border," said Minister Toews. "This sharing of entry and exit information will play a key part in bolstering border security."

Under the pilot, the Department of Homeland Security and Canada Border Services Agency will exchange routinely collected data of third-country nationals (those who are neither citizens of Canada nor the United States), permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the United States at the following four ports of entry:

 

  • Pacific Highway, Blaine, Washington / Pacific Highway, British Columbia;
  • Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington / Douglas (Peace Arch), British Columbia;
  • Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, Lewiston, New York / Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Ontario;and
  • Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, New York / Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

 

A coordinated entry/exit system will help the U.S. and Canada identify persons who potentially overstay their lawful period of admission; better monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders; and verify that residency requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs.

The process of sharing personal information will be done in accordance with each country's privacy laws and policies. It will also be consistent with the Beyond the Border Action Plan Joint Statement of Privacy Principles and a Letter of Intent agreed to by the Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency. The DHS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is available online.

On February 4, 2011, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama released the Beyond the Border Declaration, articulating a shared vision in which our countries work together to address threats at the earliest point possible while facilitating the legitimate movement of people, goods and services across our shared border. The Action Plan, released in December 2011, outlines the specific steps our countries intend to take to achieve the security and economic competitiveness goals outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration.