Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 02120940 (posted Dec. 9, 2002)"
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 6, 2002
U.S. - Canada Smart Border/30 Point Action Plan Update
In December 2001, Governor Tom Ridge and 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.
On September 9, 2002, President Bush and Prime Minister Chrétien met to discuss
progress on the Smart Border Action Plan and asked that they be updated
regularly on the work being done to modernize our common border. This report is
the first update since the meeting of the President and the Prime Minister.
#1 BIOMETRIC IDENTIFIERS
The United States and Canada 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.
Our countries have begun to integrate biometric capabilities into new programs
being deployed. For example, the NEXUS-Air pilot program will evaluate iris
scanning technology and the new Canadian Permanent Resident Card is
#2 PERMANENT RESIDENT CARDS
Since June 28, 2002, Permanent Resident Cards have been issued to all new
immigrants arriving in Canada, replacing the IMM 1000. On October 15, 2002,
Canada began processing applications for the Permanent Resident Card, for the
purposes of travel, from immigrants
with permanent resident status already in Canada. Effective December 31, 2003,
the IMM 1000 will no longer be recognized as a document valid for travel.
The Canadian permanent resident card contains features that make it one of the
most fraud-resistant documents in the world. The card has been recognized by the
International Card Manufacturers Association, winning the Elan Award for
#3 SINGLE ALTERNATIVE INSPECTION SYSTEM
NEXUS is functional at Port Huron-Sarnia (since November 2000), at
Blaine-Pacific Highway and Blaine-Douglas (since June 26, 2002) and Point
Roberts-Boundary Bay (since July 29, 2002). NEXUS will be operational at both
the Detroit-Windsor and Buffalo-Fort Erie bridges on January 23, 2003, and at
the Detroit-Windsor tunnel in March 2003.
NEXUS will be expanded to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, the Rainbow Bridge and
to 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 opened in Detroit-Windsor and in Buffalo-Fort Erie on October
The United States and Canada are also working to implement a joint NEXUS - Air
program for air travellers. NEXUS - Air will be piloted at Ottawa and Dorval
International Airports. Enrollment will begin in April 2003.
#4 REFUGEE/ASYLUM PROCESSING
The United States and Canada have made significant progress on a Statement of
Mutual Understanding (SMU) which will allow them to more effectively exchange
information on immigration-related issues. The two countries are also very close
to an agreement which will permit the systematic sharing of information relating
to asylum seekers. This will help each country identify potential security and
criminality threats and expose "forum shoppers" who seek asylum in both systems.
This exchange of information will be in accordance with the privacy laws of both
#5 MANAGING OF REFUGEE/ASYLUM CLAIMS
The United States and Canada have signed a Safe Third Country Agreement that
allows both countries to manage the flow of individuals seeking to access their
respective asylum systems. The agreement 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.
Both countries will now finalize the regulatory framework and standard operating
procedures necessary to implement this Agreement.
#6 VISA POLICY COORDINATION
The United States and Canada 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.
The United States and Canada are also continuing to work together to identify
countries that pose security concerns with a view toward further cooperation on
visa policy. In February 2002, the United States announced that nationals of
Argentina would require a visa to travel to the United States. In September
2002, Canada announced that citizens of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia would require
visas to travel to Canada. The United States and Canada currently have common
visa policies for 144 countries.
#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 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.
U.S. government agencies are seeking the authority from Congress to offer
reciprocal authorities and immunities for Canadian customs and immigration
officials in the United States.
#8 ADVANCE PASSENGER INFORMATION / PASSENGER NAME RECORD
The United States and Canada have agreed to share Advance Passenger Information
and Passenger Name Records (API/PNR) on high-risk travelers destined to either
country. Canada implemented its Passenger Information system (PAXIS) at Canadian
airports on October 8, 2002 to collect Advance Passenger Information. The
automated U.S. -Canada API/PNR data-sharing program will be in place by Spring
#9 JOINT PASSENGER ANALYSIS UNITS
The United States and Canada 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 became operational at the Vancouver and
Miami international airports on 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 MARITIME SECURITY AND FERRY TERMINALS
We have completed a marine benchmark study to enhance U.S. and Canadian border
security at seaports aimed at improving security and contraband interception.
Agencies have begun to make improvements based on this study.
#11 COMPATIBLE IMMIGRATION DATABASES
The United States and Canada have begun discussions towards developing parallel
immigration databases to facilitate regular information exchange. The United
States is studying the feasibility of duplicating Canadian intelligence
gathering software at six pilot sites. Other examples of information exchange
include lookouts from our respective databases and automating existing
#12 IMMIGRATION OFFICERS OVERSEAS
The United States and Canada have begun deploying new immigration officers
overseas to deal with document fraud, liaison with airlines and local
authorities, and work with other countries to ensure intelligence liaison and to
interrupt the flow of illegal migrants to North America.
In the past year, Canada has deployed additional officers for this purpose,
bringing to 74 the total number of officers engaged in these areas. In 2002 and
2003, the United States will deploy 85 new temporary officials with 40 new
officials being deployed permanently.
Working together, the United States and Canada will continue to strengthen their
capacity to ensure the integrity of their immigration programs, to combat
document fraud, and to interdict irregular migrants.
#13 INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
The United States and Canada 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, the United States and Canada 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
The United States and Canada have established a joint program for low-risk
companies that will expedite the movement of low-risk shipments in either
direction across the border. The program, known as Free and Secure Trade (FAST),
will be available at the following high-volume border crossings:
- Blaine, Washington / Douglas, British Columbia (December 31, 2002)
- Port Huron, Michigan / Sarnia, Ontario (December 16, 2002)
- Detroit, Michigan / Windsor, Ontario (December 16, 2002)
- Buffalo, New York / Fort Erie, Ontario (December 16, 2002)
- Lewiston, New York / Queenston, Ontario (December 31, 2002)
- Champlain, New York / Lacolle, Quebec (December 31, 2002)
- The United States and Canada are working to align other customs processes
for all commercial shipments by 2005.
#15 CLEARANCE AWAY FROM THE BORDER
The United States and Canada 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. Both governments continue to explore approaches to the legal
challenges that flow from border inspection services of one country operating in
We are considering innovative procedures to improve rail enforcement activities
and at the same time facilitate the flow of rail traffic, such as conducting
rail enforcement activities before the border and trade compliance processes at
#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
U.S. and Canadian 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 theprinciples 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 re-determinations.
#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,
U.S. and Canadian 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. The work of these teams will be facilitated
through the electronic transmission of advance manifest data for incoming ships
and the containers they carry.
#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
United States-Canada border.
New funding will support FAST and NEXUS and facilitate the secure and efficient
cross-border movement of people and goods, for example through dedicated lanes
for commercial and passenger vehicles at the border between the British Columbia
Lower Mainland and Washington state.
The United States and Canada 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. The two countries will establish
a binational border modeling group to analyze border congestion on an ongoing
#20 INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
The United States and Canada 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 the United States and Canada. 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 United States-Canada
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. The Committee has developed detailed workplans for collaboration in
the areas of energy, telecommunications and transportation, and has established
working groups to address horizontal issues such as research and development,
interdependencies, mapping and threat information sharing. The next meeting of
the Steering Committee will be held in early 2003.
#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
The United States and Canada have identified 14 geographical areas for the
deployment or enhancement of Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETS). IBETs
are currently operational in 10 of the 14 geographic areas, and will be
operational in all 14 geographical areas by December 2003. IBETs will focus on
criminals and terrorists that may attempt to cross the United States-Canada
The two countries have also begun comprehensive training programs for IBET
personnel, from both the United States and Canada, to enhance their awareness
and understanding of one another's laws and regulations. Two joint training
sessions have been held with additional sessions planned in the near future.
These initial training sessions will form the foundation of a long-term
integrated training plan.
#24 JOINT ENFORCEMENT COORDINATION
The latest United States-Canada 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 formally aligned with the CBCF in
early 2001, the role of Project Northstar as a mechanism for joint law
enforcement coordination has been significantly enhanced. Project Northstar will
have a border-wide meeting in Winnipeg in April 2003.
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 United States-Canada
Cross-Border Crime Forum for resolution; and
- work to increase and establish new, joint representation of the American
and Canadian law enforcement community at the binational, regional, and local
Planning is currently underway for the next Cross-Border Crime Forum, which
will be hosted by the United States, in late Spring 2003.
#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 Memorandum of Cooperation, the RCMP and the FBI will
implement an electronic system for the exchange of criminal records information,
including fingerprints, using a standard communication interface.
#27 REMOVAL OF DEPORTEES
The United States and Canada are continuing cooperation in removing individuals
to source countries. To date, the United States and Canada have conducted 5
joint operations resulting in 313 removals.
#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
The United States and Canada have a working process in place 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, the United States
and Canada have designated or listed over 360 individuals and organizations.
#30 JOINT TRAINING AND EXERCISES
The United States and Canada have been conducting a series of counter-terrorism
exercises of increasing complexity that will culminate in the full-scale TOPOFF
II exercise in May 2003. TOPOFF II will include a wide range of participants,
from first responders to senior government leaders at the local, state/province,
and federal levels and ask them to respond to multiple terrorist attacks within
the United States which have cross-border implications. This exercise will
provide the foundation for an ongoing program of joint training activities.