The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 into force.


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.


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.


We have completed a marine benchmark study to enhance Canadian and U.S. border security at seaports aimed at improving security and contraband interception.


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.


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 America.


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 Action Plan.


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:

Canada and the United States are working to align other customs processes for all commercial shipments by 2005.


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.


The United States and Canada have agreed to consider the following locations for joint or shared facilities pending the outcome of feasibility studies:


Canadian and U.S. Customs agencies have extended the scope of information they share through:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. border.


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:


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 threats.


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 communication interface.


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.


President Bush signed anti-terrorism legislation on October 26, 2001. In Canada, the Anti-Terrorism Act came into force on December 24, 2001.


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.


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.


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