When President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the Beyond the Border Action Plan last December, I said that opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the process and feedback from people who deal with the border every day would be integral to implementation. We need your views, and we expect you to hold our feet to the fire. Success depends on our willingness to hear what you have to say and act on it.
Over the past few weeks, the Action Plan has taken significant steps forward.
In February, I made an announcement at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport for one of the new NEXUS lanes we’ve created at several international airports. This is one of the most tangible achievements. Making it easier for trusted travelers and frequent travelers to cross the border will help reduce wait times and let U.S. and Canadian law enforcement focus resources on transit that needs more scrutiny.
On May 14, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney announced joint consultations with stakeholders on cross-border business. These consultations will gather input and ideas to facilitate cross border business travel. Secretary Napolitano attended the first joint consultation in Washington, and Minister Kenney attended a similar consultation in Toronto. Stakeholders who couldn’t attend either meeting can send comments to the Department of Homeland Security by email until June 15 at BeyondtheBorder@hq.dhs.gov.
On May 31, the U.S. and Canada announced that we have agreed to the mutual recognition of air cargo security. Cargo on passenger aircraft will be screened at the point of origin and will not need to be rescreened at the border or prior to upload in the other country. This will facilitate commerce across the border, improve the efficiency of screening, and reduce burdens on and costs to industry.
We are moving forward. Individual steps may not be flashy, but taken together, they will make a concrete difference in how goods and people move across the border. They will facilitate trade, encourage travel and create jobs in a time when all are very much needed.
More information about the entire Action Plan can be found on the Department of Homeland Security website at www.dhs.gov/beyond-the-border.