Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 02091041 (posted Sep. 10, 2002)"
For Immediate Release
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
September 9, 2002
Summary of Smart Border Action Plan Status
In December 2001, Governor Tom Ridge and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John
Manley signed the "Smart Border" Declaration and associated 30-point action plan
to enhance the security of our shared border while facilitating the legitimate
flow of people and goods. The action plan has four pillars: the secure flow of
people, the secure flow of goods, secure infrastructure, and information sharing
and coordination in the enforcement of these objectives.
Governor Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister Manley have worked closely with one
another and with our respective government agencies to aggressively implement
the smart border action plan. While more work remains, substantial progress has
been made, enhancing both our mutual security and cross-border commerce. A
summary of the progress in each of the action plan items follows.
#1 BIOMETRIC IDENTIFIERS
Canada and the United States have agreed to develop common standards for the
biometrics that we use and have also agreed to adopt interoperable and
compatible technology to read these biometrics. In the interest of having cards
that could be used across different modes of travel, we have agreed to use cards
that are capable of storing multiple biometrics.
#2 PERMANENT RESIDENT CARDS
As announced in November 2001 - effective June 28, 2002, Permanent Resident
Cards are being issued to all new immigrants arriving in Canada replacing the
IMM 1000. By October 15, 2002, Canada will begin issuing the Permanent Resident
Card, for the purposes of travel, to immigrants with permanent resident status
already in Canada.
#3 SINGLE ALTERNATIVE INSPECTION SYSTEM
NEXUS is functional at Sarnia/Port Huron (since November 2000), at Pacific
Highway/Blaine and Douglas/Blaine (since June 26, 2002) and Boundary Bay/Point
Roberts (since July 29, 2002).
NEXUS will be operational at both the Detroit/Windsor and Buffalo/Fort Erie
bridges beginning in January of 2003 and at the Detroit/Windsor tunnel by March
2003. NEXUS will be expanded to the Queenston/Lewiston Bridge, the Rainbow
Bridge and potentially the Whirlpool Bridge by Spring 2003. NEXUS will also be
expanded to all other high-volume crossings between the two countries by the end
of 2003. NEXUS enrollment centers will open on September 9 in Detroit-Windsor
and in Buffalo-Fort Erie in October 2002.
Canada and the United States are also working to implement a joint NEXUS - Air
program for air travelers. NEXUS - Air will be piloted at Ottawa and Dorval
International Airports in early 2003, and will include a pilot and evaluation of
iris recognition biometric technology.
#4 REFUGEE/ASYLUM PROCESSING
Canada and the United States are working on an agreement to systematically
exchange information on asylum-seekers. This will help each country identify
potential security and criminality threats and expose "forum shoppers" who seek
asylum in both systems. Canada and the United States have reached agreement on
the principles of the information exchange and will sign an agreement
incorporating these principles once all the appropriate legal steps have been
taken by both parties to exchange this sensitive information.
#5 MANAGING OF REFUGEE/ASYLUM CLAIMS
Canada and the United States have initialed the final text for a Safe Third
Agreement that will allow both countries to manage the flow of individuals
seeking to access their respective asylum systems. The agreement, when
finalized, will cover asylum claims made at land border ports of entry.
The Agreement is bound by the principle of family re-unification in determining
whether an individual would be exempted from the requirement of making a claim
in the first country of arrival. The Agreement also clearly identifies that
individuals making a claim in either country would not be removed to another
country until a determination of that person's claim has been made. Regulations
and operating procedures will be developed before implementation.
#6 VISA POLICY COORDINATION
Canada and the United States have agreed to enhance cooperation between our
respective Embassies overseas, which will allow our officials to more routinely
and more efficiently share information on intelligence and specific data
concerning high-risk individuals. The two countries have also agreed to formally
consult one another during the process of reviewing a third country for the
purpose of either a visa imposition or visa exemption.
#7 AIR PRECLEARANCE
The in-transit preclearance project in Vancouver, suspended as a result of the
events of September 11, was re-instated on February 14, 2002.
In support of the preclearance program, the two countries signed the "The
Agreement on Air Transport Preclearance between The Government of Canada and The
Government of the United States of America" on January 18, 2001. It allows
for the expansion of in-transit preclearance to other Canadian airports and also
has provisions that modernize the regime governing preclearance.
Details surrounding the preclearance program are being finalized to allow for a
formal exchange of diplomatic notes which will bring the Preclearance Agreement
#8 ADVANCE PASSENGER INFORMATION / PASSENGER NAME RECORD
Canada and the United States have agreed to share Advanced Passenger Information
and Personal Name Records on high-risk travelers destined to either country.
Canada will have an Advanced Passenger Information system in place at Canadian
airports by October 8, 2002. The automated Canada-U.S. API/PNR data-sharing
program will be in place by Spring 2003.
#9 JOINT PASSENGER ANALYSIS UNITS
Canada and the United States have agreed to a co-location of customs and
immigration officers in Joint Passenger Analysis Units to more intensively
cooperate in identifying potentially high-risk travelers.
Pilot joint passenger analysis units will be operational at the Vancouver and
Miami international airports by September 30, 2002, staffed with U.S. and
Canadian officials. The pilot sites will be evaluated at the end of six months
to determine the feasibility of expanding the units to other locations.
#10 FERRY TERMINALS
We have completed a marine benchmark study to enhance Canadian and U.S. border
security at seaports aimed at improving security and contraband interception.
#11 COMPATIBLE IMMIGRATION DATABASES
Canada and the United States have begun discussions towards developing parallel
immigration databases to facilitate regular information exchange. The United
States will study the feasibility of duplicating Canadian intelligence gathering
software at six pilot sites by the end of 2002.
Other examples of information exchange include lookouts from our respective
databases and automating existing exchanges.
#12 IMMIGRATION OFFICERS OVERSEAS
Canada and the United States will be deploying new immigration officers overseas
to deal with document fraud, liaison with airlines and local authorities, and
work with other countries to interrupt the flow of illegal migrants to North
#13 INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Canada and the United States have worked together to provide technical
assistance to developing countries to deal with threats to our shared security.
These cooperative efforts will continue. Joint interdiction exercises and joint
training programs will assist other countries to combat document fraud and
irregular migration. Such assistance includes improving document integrity,
providing expertise on border controls, and joint training.
In addition, Canada and the United States conducted a joint presentation to the
European Community CIREFI (Immigration Center of the Council of the European
Union) meeting in June, regarding the immigration items in the Smart Border
#14 HARMONIZED COMMERCIAL PROCESSING
Canada and the United States are now accepting applications for a joint program
for low-risk companies that will expedite the movement of low-risk shipments in
either direction across the border. The program is known as Free and Secure
Trade (FAST). The program will be available by December 2002 at the following
high-volume border crossings:
- Blaine, Washington / Douglas, British Columbia
- Port Huron, Michigan / Sarnia, Ontario
- Detroit, Michigan / Windsor, Ontario
- Buffalo, New York / Fort Erie, Ontario
- Lewiston, New York / Queenston, Ontario
- Champlain, New York / Lacolle, Quebec
- Canada and the United States are working to align other customs processes
for all commercial shipments by 2005.
#15 CLEARANCE AWAY FROM THE BORDER
Canada and the United States are developing approaches to move customs and
immigration inspection activities away from the border to improve security and
relieve congestion where possible.
The United States and Canada have completed a joint analysis of the operational
benefits that could be achieved with the implementation of small and large
shared facilities, located in one country or the other. With the benefits
quantified, both countries have begun legal research and analysis to find a way
to make operational the shared facilities concept.
The United States and Canada are considering innovative procedures to improve
rail enforcement activities and at the same time facilitate the flow of rail
traffic, including potential procedures such as conducting rail enforcement
activities before the border and trade compliance processes at the destination.
#16 JOINT FACILITIES
The United States and Canada have agreed to consider the following locations for
joint or shared facilities pending the outcome of feasibility studies:
- Calais, ME / St. Stephen, NB
- Easton, ME / River de Chute, NB
- Monticello, ME / Bloomfield, NB
- Vanceboro, ME / St. Croix, NB
- Morses Line, VT / Morses Line, QC
- North Troy, VT/ Highwater, QC
- Walhalla, ND / Winkler, MB
- Northgate, ND / Northgate, SK
- Hanna, ND / Snowflake, MB
- Opheim, MT / West Poplar River, SK
- Nighthawk, WA / Chopaka, BC
- Porthill, ID / Rykerts, BC
#17 CUSTOMS DATA
Canadian and U.S. Customs agencies have extended the scope of information they
- the Cooperation Arrangement for the Exchange of Information for the
Purposes of Inquiries Related to Customs Fraud, signed in December 2001; and
- an agreement, reached by our customs agencies, on the principles to be
included in the exchange of information related to NAFTA rules of origin. The
agreement will be signed in March 2003, and includes audit plans, audit
reports, the results of advance rulings, and origin determinations and
#18 CONTAINER TARGETING AT SEAPORTS
Through an innovative solution to ensure that containers can be examined where
they first arrive, regardless of their ultimate destination in North America,
Canadian and U.S. Customs agencies have created joint targeting teams at five
marine ports. In the ports of Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax, U.S. officials
aid Canadian customs officials in identifying which containers to examine. In
the ports of Newark and Seattle-Tacoma, Canadian officials provide the same
assistance to U.S. Customs agents.
#19 INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS
Both governments have committed funds for border infrastructure. Under Canada's
new Border Infrastructure Fund, C$600 million will be provided over five years
for physical and technological improvements at key border crossings. The United
States Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century also funds
transportation projects along U.S. corridors and at border points along the
Canada-U.S. border. Canada and the United States are working together at key
border crossings to develop computer simulations aimed at ensuring that border
infrastructure investments are put to the most effective use. Joint modeling is
underway for the Ambassador Bridge and Pacific Highway crossings. The two
countries will now establish a binational border modeling group to analyze
border congestion on an ongoing basis.
#20 INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
Canada and the United States are piloting the Automatic Identification System (AIS)
on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which uses transponder and Global Position System
(GPS) technologies to allow for more effective monitoring of ships. The Cascade
Gateway Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) will be installed at the
Pacific Highway and Peace Arch crossings to enhance the mobility of people and
commercial goods between Canada and the United States. We will also invest in
high-energy gamma-ray systems to support joint efforts in screening marine
containers arriving at marine ports in both countries.
#21 CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION
Our governments have agreed on a Joint Framework for Canada-U.S. Cooperation on
Critical Infrastructure Protection and have established a Binational Steering
Committee to assess threats to our shared critical infrastructure and ensure an
ongoing, high-level focus on the issue by both governments.
#22 AVIATION SECURITY
We have agreed to recognize each other's national standards for security in
airports and on board flights, and to coordinate measures that are essential to
protecting our citizens. With the creation of the new federal transportation
security agencies and the augmentation of existing departments, the two
governments have strengthened their respective capacities to set regulations,
review standards, and monitor and inspect all air security services. The two
governments have also assumed direct responsibility for security standards, and
will work to identify best practices with a view to improving them.
#23 INTEGRATED BORDER AND MARINE ENFORCEMENT TEAMS
Canada and the United States have agreed to deploy one more IBET in the Rocky
Mountain region. Canada and the United States have identified 14 geographical
areas for the deployment or enhancement of Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETS).
IBETS are currently operational in 9 of the 14 geographic areas. IBETs will
focus on criminals and terrorists that may attempt to cross the Canada and U.S.
#24 JOINT ENFORCEMENT COORDINATION
The latest Canada-U.S. Cross-Border Crime Forum (CBCF) took place on July 21-22,
2002. The participants at the CBCF reiterated the importance of the role of
Project Northstar. Since becoming aligned with the Canada-U.S. Cross-Border
Crime Forum formally in early 2001, the role of Project Northstar as a mechanism
for joint law enforcement coordination has been significantly enhanced.
Project North Star will continue to:
- identify and prioritize joint obstacles for law enforcement at the border;
- bring these obstacles to policy makers at the Canada-U.S. Cross-Border
Crime Forum for resolution,
- work to increase and establish new, joint representation of the Canadian
and American law enforcement community at the binational, regional, and local
#25 INTEGRATED INTELLIGENCE
The Government of Canada has established Integrated National Security
Enforcement Teams (INSETs), which will include representatives from federal
enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as international law enforcement
partners such as the U.S., on a case-by-case basis. Canada has also been
participating since April 9, 2002, in the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task
Force (FTTTF) in Washington, to detect, interdict, and remove foreign terrorist
With the development of a new Memorandum of Cooperation by October 2002, the
RCMP and the FBI will implement an electronic system for the exchange of
criminal records information, including fingerprints, using a standard
#27 REMOVAL OF DEPORTEES
Since September 11, Canada and the United States have conducted four joint
operations resulting in 203 removals. The two countries are committed to
continuing cooperation in removing individuals to source countries.
#28 COUNTER-TERRORISM LEGISLATION
President Bush signed anti-terrorism legislation on October 26, 2001. In Canada,
the Anti-Terrorism Act came into force on December 24, 2001.
#29 FREEZING OF TERRORIST ASSETS
We have agreed to share advance information on individuals and organizations
that may be designated as terrorist in order to coordinate the freezing of their
assets. To date, Canada and the U.S. have designated or listed over 300
individuals and organizations.
#30 JOINT TRAINING AND EXERCISES
Canada and the United States will conduct a major joint counter-terrorism
exercise in May 2003. This will provide a foundation for the development of a
more integrated program of joint training activity.