Enhanced trusted travelers programs strive to speed border crossings, but they must always be done within the context of broader border and security improvements for real effectiveness.
Source: Niagara Gazette
By Don Glynn
An improved NEXUS program — designed for low-risk travelers between the U.S. and Canada — is expected to expedite legitimate trade and tourism at the border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency have announced additional benefits to NEXUS members that should increase traffic flows and support the economies of both countries.
Commissioner David Aguilar of the U.S. Custom and Border Protection, noted the new initiative is aimed at expanding membership and enhancing its benefits for the pre-screened travelers.
“This is just one of a number of initiatives the U.S. and Canada are undertaking as part of the ‘Beyond the Border Action Plan’ that will help facilitate lawful trade and travel while enhancing security,” Aguilar said.
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper released the border plan in 2011, calling for the two countries to combine efforts to address security threats at the earliest point possible while assisting the movement of people, goods and services across the shared border.
As part of that commitment, both the U.S. and Canadian customs’ agencies intend to streamline the NEXUS membership renewal process and waive interviews for all members who have not had significant changes to their information or their low-risk status.
The U.S. and Canada also announced they have started enrollment blitzes to expedite the process for NEXUS applications. They also have planned an outreach and awareness plan to increase the NEXUS membership.
The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers easy processing by U.S. and Canadian inspectors across the border at designated airports, the international bridges and at marine locations.
A public affairs spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the projected increase in membership should further encourage cross-border travel, boosting the economic conditions in the two countries.