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US-Canada NEXUS dispute delays cross-border business travel

Due to a long-standing dispute between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canadian authorities, NEXUS, a widely used and popular program to facilitate travel from Canada to the United States, has been suspended. NEXUS is an immigration program for travelers who travel frequently between the United States and Canada and includes expedited border crossings at land, sea and air borders. In addition to the same benefits as Global Entry in terms of entering the United States, a broader program that also includes other countries, the NEXUS card is cheaper and can be used for both air and road travel between the two countries. Upon approval to participate in NEXUS, the applicant will receive an identity card to use to enter the United States and Canada at designated NEXUS air, land and sea ports of entry. The key is the Entry in Canada component, which is not part of Global Entry.

Advantages of NEXUS

Membership in the NEXUS program allows successful applicants to reduce their wait times at designated ports of entry by using dedicated processing lanes at land border crossings, using NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada, using Global Entry kiosks when entering the United States, and call a marine telephone reporting center to report ship arrivals in the United States and Canada.

essence of the dispute

However, due to the dispute, about 13 NEXUS registration centers in Canada are closed. The disagreement concerns whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officers should be afforded the same legal protections within Nexus facilities in Canada as are currently available at ports of entry such as airports in Canada and at the Canada-US border . Canadian officials see no reason for the additional protections in such offices, while Americans cannot see how they could do their jobs any other way.

The NEXUS process

As for such applications, the process involves completing an eligibility questionnaire, paying a fee, and attending an interview at a NEXUS office. To prove NEXUS eligibility, the applicant must provide documents such as a valid passport, valid driver’s license, and sometimes other identification documents.

It is not surprising if an applicant has a criminal record or had immigration problems before the application is rejected. The same applies if an officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that an applicant may be associated with things such as terrorism, espionage, or war crimes. or subversion.

Works council complaint

In a recent letter to David Cohen, the US Ambassador to Canada, the Business Council of Canada expressed its concerns about the continued closure of the Nexus Trusted Traveler program. CEO Goldy Hyder said it was “deeply disturbing” that the US government has not reopened the Nexus enrollment centers.

Is it about firearms?

While news reports suggested that the dispute over whether US officials could have firearms in NEXUS offices was over, that is not the case. In fact, it’s a disagreement over extending immunity from prosecution – the US reportedly argues that its staff at Nexus offices deserve the same protection from Canadian prosecution as diplomats do while doing their job in Canada.

American Jurisdiction

It is helpful to understand how pre-clearance works at Canadian airports to get a clearer picture of what the NEXUS dispute is about. The area behind the entrance to the US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance kiosks is theoretically cordoned off and theoretically subject to American jurisdiction. Legally speaking, as soon as you deal with American officers during pre-clearance, you are no longer in Canada, but in America. For this to work, the two countries had to agree that USCBP officials would be granted the same level of immunity from prosecution for doing their job as American diplomats in Canada.

Canada’s reluctance to extend immunity in this way stems from an apparent concern or legal impediment to extending American jurisdiction to Canada. The point is complicated and seems more theoretical than practical, so solving it wasn’t easy. It seems the dispute is expected to be resolved, possibly even ahead of an upcoming promised visit to Canada by President Biden.

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