Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sovereignty concerns may scuttle the new Canada/USA preclearance agreement

Last month US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney signed the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada (“the Agreement”).

The Agreement would allow for the immigration, customs and agriculture inspections required for entry to the US to occur in Canada and vice versa. It is billed as a cornerstone of the Beyond the Border Agreement that will reduce congestion and delays at the border and increase efficiency and predictability in cross-border travel, tourism and transportation.

Upon announcement of the Agreement, dozens of cross-border organizations issued rushed press releases, all praising the Agreement with many implying that they had played a crucial part in achieving the Agreement’s acceptance by the US and Canadian governments.

But the gains envisioned by the Agreement may well be illusory as both Canada and the US must enact sweeping legislation for it to be become operational. For the US part, the Agreement contemplates that Congress pass The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA), a bill that has little chance of becoming law.

 - Jurisdictional no man's land -

At present, the US lacks jurisdiction to prosecute its civilian contractors and employees for a variety crimes committed beyond its physical boundaries. The Blackwater trial, in which four Blackwater guards under contract to the US government killed unarmed civilians in Iraq (an FBI report concluded that at least fourteen of the seventeen Iraqis killed in Baghdad’s Nisour Square by Blackwater personnel on September 16, 2007, were killed for no justifiable reason), brought this jurisdictional no-man’s land to light. CEJA would remedy this situation by explicitly extending US jurisdiction to specifically designated extraterritorial crimes committed abroad by US civilian contractors and employees.

CEJA was first introduced in Congress in 2007 with the latest version introduced in the last Congress, but none have become law. A CEJA bill has yet to be introduced in the current Congress, however it may be DOA; a right-leaning contingent of Congressional leaders opposes its passage. In a nutshell, the concern is that CEJA would put too many restraints on US intelligence agencies engaged in covert undertakings requiring illegal activity abroad.

While the Department of Homeland Security explicitly calls for US passage of CEJA or similar legislation, it is oddly silent about the specifics of legislation Canada must pass for the Agreement to become law. Sooner or later, the other shoe will drop - if the US is to assert jurisdiction over crimes committed by its Preclearance employees stationed in Canada, Canada must also exempt those employees from many of its own criminal laws. A Canadian government website hints at this when it states: “Generally speaking, the inspecting party would have primary jurisdiction over its Preclearance officers for offenses committed in the performance of official duties.”

Thus, among other demands on Canadian sovereignty, the Agreement contemplates the civilian equivalent of a military Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) wherein a country cedes jurisdiction over foreign military forces stationed there to the country deploying the military forces. The US insists on a SOFA being in effect before stationing US troops abroad, be it in Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea or other countries, and it appears it will require similar treatment for Preclearance personnel stationed in Canada. While the explicit terms of the Agreement purport to exempt US Preclearance personnel from Canadian laws aimed specifically at law enforcement personnel by stipulating such Preclearance personnel will not be deemed law enforcement officers, it may take an act of Parliament to exempt US Preclearance personnel from Canadian laws by approving the civilian equivalent of a SOFA for US Preclearance personnel stationed in Canada.

These yet-to-be-addressed sovereignty concerns may well scuttle the Agreement, sending hopes of expanded US/Canada Preclearance operations back to the drawing board.

The cross-border community deserves better from the Beyond the Border process. Neither DC nor Ottawa have advised why CEJA and a related SOFA have become mandatory pre-requisites for the Agreement, nor have they been clear regarding other contemplated changes of law necessary to achieve widespread border Preclearance. One of the announced goals of the Beyond the Border dialogue is to bring more transparency to cross-border processes; meanwhile, its mediators remain tied to opaque negotiations.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Watchdog says NEXUS enrollment processes need improvement

NEXUS expansion has been a major Beyond the Border  accomplishment.  However good NEXUS may be at present, a new government report says it can be improved.

In May, the U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled Trusted Travelers:  Programs Provide Benefits, but Enrollment Processes Could Be Strengthened. 

Often called the "congressional watchdog," the GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency employed by Congress to investigate how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.  In this capacity, the GAO reviewed CBP’s trusted traveler programs (SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST, and Global Entry) to determine the extent to which the programs have improved the facilitation of legitimate travel and trade, including the efficiency of the application processes and the potential impacts on security.  In particular, the report evaluated trends in enrollment and use of the programs over the past 5 years; the consistency and efficiently of applicant enrollment; and impacts of the trusted traveler programs for travelers and CBP.  The report contains several observations and recommendations regarding NEXUS that are summarized below.

In general, the GAO’s research revealed that trusted traveler entries into the United States increased, but varied by program.  SENTRI experienced the greatest increase in the total number of vehicles entering the United States, but NEXUS had the greatest growth in terms of percentage.  Likewise, enrollment in trusted traveler programs grew – more than quadrupling in the past 5 fiscal years.  Approximately 2.5 million people were enrolled as of January 2014, the majority of them in the Global Entry or NEXUS programs. 

The GAO found that application-vetting times varied wildly by program, with NEXUS and SENTRI applications taking the longest.  While CBP has implemented a few changes to expedite the process (for example, by automating background checks), in general it has failed to improve the efficiency of the enrollment process.  Of particular concern was the lack of performance targets; limited interview appointment availability at NEXUS and SENTRI enrollment centers; and lack of systematic data collection and review.  The GAO also found evidence of inconsistencies in enrollment centers’ interview processes, and differential rates of denial between enrollment centers.

Overall impacts of the trusted traveler programs included shorter average wait times for participants than regular traffic at border crossings.  At 15 of 18 crossings with NEXUS lanes, trusted traveler waits were roughly 15 minutes on average shorter than regular travelers in FY 2013.  CBP officers also spent significantly less time inspecting trusted travelers, with NEXUS inspections ranging from 23 seconds to 64 seconds that same year. According to CBP data, the four trusted traveler programs saved over 270,000 CBP officer hours at ports of entry in fiscal year 2013, allowing CBP to focus more resources on travelers they know less about. GAO’s analysis of CBP data also indicated that trusted travelers in fact commit fewer border violations than regular travelers.

To view GAO’s full report, go here: LINK  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chipping Away at Expedited Removal: Ninth Circuit Finds A Limited Review Exists for Expedited Removal Orders

PACE, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce have targeted the U.S. expedited removal laws because of their chilling effect on cross-border trade and commerce. The organizations are working to change expedited removal through the courts and through the Congress. The organizations filed an Amicus Brief in a expedited removal case that was subject to A recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision. The following commentary is provided by Attorney Robert Pauw of the Seattle law firm of Gibbs, Houston, Pauw. Mr. Pauw represented Plaintiff Smith in the case.

Ninth Circuit Finds Limited Review for Expedited Removal Orders

           In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit concluded that there is jurisdiction to review the merits of a challenge to an “expedited removal order”.  Smith v. CBP, ___ F.3d ____, 2014 WL 91915 (Jan, 9, 2014).  Although the court ultimately rejected the petitioner’s merits argument, the case opens the door to future challenges by other individuals with different facts.

  Under the “expedited removal” process, 8 U.S.C. §1225(b)(1)(A), an immigration officer at the border can issue an expedited order of removal against certain noncitizens applying  to enter.   This can be done immediately, while the person is at the border, and is completely at the discretion of the immigration officer if the officer believes that the person has made a false statement or does not have the proper immigration documents.  The applicant is turned away and is also banished from coming back to the United States for five years. 

             Even where the CBP officer acts in an arbitrary or abusive manner, the statute seems to preclude any judicial oversight.  According to 8 U.S.C. §1252(e)(2), there is no judicial review of the CBP’s expedited removal order except to determine (1) whether the person is a U.S. citizen; (2) whether the person is a permanent resident or a refugee; and (3) whether the person was ordered removed under the expedited removal statute.  As one court noted:

 The entire process… can happen without any check on whether the person understood the proceedings, had an interpreter, or enjoyed any other safeguards.  … [T]his procedure is fraught with risk of arbitrary, mistaken, or discriminatory behavior (suppose a particular CBP officer decides that enough visitors from Africa have already entered the United States).  … [Nevertheless, we] must align ourselves with the courts that have considered the issue and hold that we lack jurisdiction to inquire whether the expedited removal procedure to which the Khans were subjected was properly invoked. Khan v. Holder, 608 F.3d 325, 329, 330 (7th Cir. 2010).

             Under the statute and the governing regulations, CBP is authorized to invoke the expedited removal process only in certain situations.  The statute precludes its use against noncitizens who are not “arriving in the United States”, as well as against citizens of Cuba who arrive by aircraft (“flying Cubans”).  8 U.S.C. §1225(b)(1)(A).  The regulations preclude its application to individuals “for whom documentary requirements are waived” – which includes Canadian citizens who seek to enter the United States as visitors.  See 8 C.F.R. §212.1(a)(1).  Thus, there is an initial threshold question whether CBP actually has the legal authority to issue the expedited removal order against a particular person in the first place.[1] 

             Prior case law suggested that federal courts have no jurisdiction to consider the threshold question of whether CBP exceeded its statutory and regulatory authority in issuing an expedited removal order.  See, e.g. Li v. Eddy, 259 F.3d 1132, 1134 (9th Cir. 2001), vacated as moot, 324 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2003), cited favorably by Garcia de Rincon v. DHS, 539 F.3d 1133, 1141, n. 4 (9th Cir. 2008) (courts may not “inquire into whether section 1225(b)(1) was properly invoked”); Khan, 608 F.3d at 330 (“we lack jurisdiction to inquire whether the expedited removal procedure to which the [plaintiffs] were subjected was properly invoked”).   In Smith v. CBP, the Ninth Circuit rejected this suggestion and held that the court does in fact have jurisdiction to consider the threshold question:  “we agree with Smith that there is limited jurisdiction to consider his case under §1252(e)(2)(B).”  For example, if a person argued that he was not subject to expedited removal because he was a “flying Cuban”, the court would have jurisdiction to determine that issue.

             In Smith v. CBP, Smith argued that as a Canadian citizen he was not subject to expedited removal because he was entitled to the exception established in 8 C.F.R. §235.3(b)(2)(i) (expedited removal does not apply to individuals “for whom documentary requirements are waived”).  The court explained:

 Certain Canadian citizens who have established their nonimmigrant status are exempt from the documentary requirements to which other arriving aliens are subject, see 8 C.F.R. § 212.1(a), and are, in turn, not subject to the expedited removal statute. 8 C.F.R. § 235.3(b)(2)(i). But these exceptions apply only to nonimmigrants. See 8 C.F.R. § 212.1 (listing “Documentary Requirements for Nonimmigrants”).

 2014 WL 91915, at *4.  Thus, the threshold question that the court entertained was whether Smith had established a bona fide or non-frivolous claim to nonimmigrant status.[2] 

             On the facts of the case, the court rejected Smith’s claim.  The court noted that when Smith attempted to enter the U.S., he carried photographic equipment, flyers advertising work, and large quantities of cash, and he made false statements concerning the amount of cash that he had, all of which indicated that he might be running a photography business in the United States.  Thus, the court held, Smith did not have a legitimate claim to being a person “for whom documentary requirements are waived.” 

             However, the court made it clear that it was limiting its decision to the facts of this particular case. 

 This opinion is limited to the specific circumstances of Smith's presentation at the border ….  We do not opine on the circumstances of Canadians who fall in the nonimmigrant categories and are exempt from documentary requirements, see 8 C.F.R. §212. 1, or on other circumstances involving Canadians seeking to enter the United States.

 2014 WL 91915, n. 5.  Thus, the court leaves for another day the parameters of its review of an expedited removal order against a Canadian citizen who has a bona fide or non-frivolous claim to being a visitor.            

[1] If CBP does not have the legal authority to issue an expedited removal order against a noncitizen, that does not necessarily mean that the noncitizen is entitled to be admitted to the United States.  Rather, CBP must decide whether or not the person should be allowed to enter the United States – i.e. decide whether any of the inadmissibility grounds (listed in 8 U.S.C. §1182(a)) applies to the noncitizen.  If the CBP officer decides that the person is not admissible, then the noncitizen can request review of that decision at a court hearing before an immigration judge.  8 U.S.C. §125(b)(2). 
[2] The court pointed out that it was not reviewing “whether the alien is actually inadmissible or entitled to any relief from removal.”  The court has no jurisdiction to review that question.  See 8 U.S.C. §1252(e)(5). Rather, it was reviewing only the threshold question whether Smith was eligible for the exemption from documentary requirements.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

US Customs and Border Protection Provides Guidelines for After-Lease Service

Through use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), PACE has obtained documents produced by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations providing guidance related to after-lease service agreements. This guidance is one of the "deliverables" promised under the Beyond the Border Agreement.

A CBP Memorandum dated February 22, 2013, instructs CBP Field Operations Directors that policies regarding admission to provide after-sales service also extend to admission to provide after-lease service. 

The Memorandum directs that applicants “seeking admission into the U.S. to provide services to commercial or industrial equipment, machinery or computer software, that has been leased from an enterprise located outside the United States, should be processed under 8 CFR 214.2(b) as B-1 visitors for temporary business.” Such applicants “should be able to establish the terms of the lease agreement between a foreign entity and a U.S. based entity, including that the lease calls for service during the period of the lease.”

A copy of the Memorandum and other information relevant to the FOIA is available here.

Individuals applying for admission in order to provide after-lease service are held to the same general criteria as all B-1 visitors, including employment status with a foreign entity; a foreign residence they do not intend to abandon; their principal place of business and place of remuneration in a foreign country; their visit for business is temporary in nature; and an understanding that the nature of the business does not include ordinary labor for hire. A detailed article about B-1 visitors is available here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

PACE & other regional economic development organizations file amicus brief in push back against expedited removal

The BC Chamber of Commerce, the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce, the Northwest Economic Council and Pacific Corridor Enterprise Council (PACE) have joined together to file an "amicus brief"  in a case pending before a U.S. appeals court (the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals). That case concerns the issue of whether a Canadian citizen seeking entry to the U.S. can be subject to expedited removal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Currently, British Columbians heading to the U.S. for business or tourism purposes face a border regime that empowers border guards, at their own discretion and without avenue for appeal, to bar Canadians entry to the U.S. for periods of five years or more under an “expedited removal” process.

“This draconian regime flies in the face of open borders and Canada’s long-standing friendship and trading relationship with our neighbours to the south,” said John Winter, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “As our countries strive towards new levels of co-operation through the Beyond the Border Action Plan, these harsh border rules need to be fixed.”

Winter added that the border rules pose a particular threat to B.C. businesses.

“If an overzealous U.S. border guard targets a B.C. CEO or other key company personnel for expedited removal, that company’s business with the U.S. risks grinding to a halt,” Winter said.

An amicus brief is a legal vehicle that allows parties who are not parties to a specific legal action to provide the court with additional information pertaining to the case that is before the courts.

Recent border situations in the Pacific Northwest where Canadians have been placed into expedited removal have involved Canadians seeking entry to the U.S. to attend meetings, visit vacation homes or engage in other travel into the United States.

Greg Boos is the Bellingham-based immigration attorney who authored the amicus brief.

“Allowing CBP to make unreviewable determinations of admissibility into the U.S. invites abuse of discretion,” Boos said.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 19 UPDATE: Surrey Board of Trade joins push for Congressional Reform to expedited removal at U.S. borders

As part of their commitments to promote and protect tourism and trade between the U.S. and Canada, the Bellingham and British Columbia Chambers of Commerce, the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) and PACE have written key U.S. Senators to urge their support in amending S.744, the pending immigration reform bill currently under debate in the Senate.

One of the great risks to cross-border trade and tourism is unchecked use of the expedited removal process by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Except in narrow circumstances, noncitizens ordered removed through the expedited removal process are barred from re-entering the U.S. for a minimum of five years and may not seek review of these orders in any independent forum including in the U.S. court system.

A lack of proper and impartial review has potential to impede the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between the U.S. and Canada—the world’s two greatest trading partners, creating a chilling effect on cross-border trade. A mechanism must be enacted to provide accountability to U.S. agencies that deal with any aspect of this trade

PACE invites others involved in the promoting the U.S. / Canada trade relationship to contact us and be added to the letter. We seek the signatures of both Canadian and U.S. organizations. Updated copies of the letter will periodically be sent to the Senate as the debate on S.744 progresses.

A copy of the letter follows:

Re: Amending the Immigration Reform Bill, S.744, to ensure that expedited removal orders are issued fairly and accurately at the border, to prevent harm to trade and tourism

Dear Senator:

We, the undersigned organizations from Washington and other states, as well as British Columbia [and other provinces], are committed to promoting tourism and trade between the U.S. and Canada. We are writing to ask that you amend the pending immigration reform bill, S.744, to improve fairness in the expedited removal process, so persons legitimately coming to the United States to engage in tourism and trade are not arbitrarily barred for lengthy periods of time. Issuing expedited removal orders against individuals seeking nonimmigrant admission to the U.S. without proper and impartial review creates a chilling effect on cross-border trade and is at odds with our values promoting accurate and fair adjudications.

As a group of non-profit organizations whose missions include removing barriers that impede the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services across the USA/Canada border, we see the ill-effects of flawed and unreviewable expedited removal orders on a regular basis. Our trading relationship must be protected from these mistakes, as Canada and the United States share the greatest bilateral trading relationship in the world. Each country is the largest trade partner of the other. In 2011 bilateral trade exceeded $680 billion, with goods and services worth almost $2 billion crossing the Canada-U.S. border every single day.[1]

Canada ranks highest in foreign visitors to the U.S., with nearly 20 million visits in 2010 alone. Service providers who engage in cross-border trade are frequently called upon to travel across the border in nonimmigrant status to further commerce. Canada is also the largest source of visitor spending in the U.S.; Canadian visitors spent $20.8 billion dollars in the U.S. in 2010.[2] USA/Canada trade and tourism bonds must not be taken for granted.

One of the great risks to cross-border trade and tourism is unchecked use of the expedited removal process by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Noncitizens ordered removed through expedited removal are barred from re-entering the U.S. for a minimum of five years and may not seek meaningful review of these orders in any independent forum unless they are lawful permanent residents of the United States or have been granted asylum or refugee status. Recently, numerous expedited removal abuses have been documented at United States ports-of-entry on the Canadian border, where persons were arbitrarily denied entry to attend meetings in the U.S., visit vacation homes, attend dog shows, or engage in other tourist and trade activities of mutual benefit to our two nations.[3] Such abuses impede legitimate trade and travel to the U.S. by Canadian citizens.

Recent publicized cases highlight the harsh effects of an expedited removal order on American business and tourism from Canada; here are but a few examples:
  • Canadian actor Chad Rook was denied entry into the U.S. and banned for a period of five years under an expedited removal order. When he arrived at the Peach Arch Border Crossing between Blaine, WA, and Surrey, BC, in February of this year, he had already started the application process for a work visa based on a job offer in the U.S. In the meantime, he was traveling to be at the U.S. premiere of his television show. Rook was stopped at the border, questioned for 8 hours, and required to hand over passwords for his online accounts. Regardless of whether his work visa is ultimately approved, Rook explains, “It’s kind of a crush to your career. It takes the breath out of you.”[4] There can be no independent review of this expedited removal order.
  • For 23 years, Leah Shaffer and his wife owned a cottage in Point Roberts, WA where they vacationed. Shaffer was employed by BC Ferries and lives in North Vancouver. A few years ago, he started being questioned at the border about whether he was living and working in the U.S. He was asked to provide documentation of his residence and work in Canada on several occasions, and he complied. Despite repeatedly providing such documentation, he was questioned again one night as he headed to meet his wife who was waiting to celebrate their wedding anniversary in Point Roberts. He was asked to provide three years of cancelled checks and other documentation to prove his residence in Canada. Shaffer, feeling like he was being targeted , wrote a letter to the director of field operations for CBP in Seattle. When he attempted to cross the border the next time, the same border guard was aware that Shaffer had written the letter to James and ordered him to return with all of his documentation. Shaffer turned back, missing his anniversary, and later returned to spend 8 hours with border officials showing them his daily work records, income tax returns, bank statements, and four years of cancelled checks. Despite all this evidence, he was accused of lying and CBP issued him an expedited removal order, banning him from the U.S. for five years. His immigration attorney states, “His documents were excellent. They were more than satisfactory. . . .It seems almost retaliatory.” Because of the ban, Shaffer and his wife have sold their Point Roberts cottage.[5] There can be no independent review of this expedited removal order.
  • Pearl Fabbro is a Canadian dog show enthusiast who frequently traveled to the U.S. to take her three collies, Jasmine, Drummer and Vera, to compete in dog shows. She explains, “[t]here is absolutely no money in dog sports. In fact, it’s quite the opposite - it costs me a lot of money to do it.” Despite the unpaid calling of showing her dogs, Pearl was accused at the border of coming to the U.S. as a dog breeder, issued an expedited removal order, and banned from the U.S. for five years. Pearl says she will no longer be able to show her dogs, as they will be too old to show by the time the ban has lapsed. “I’m still in shock over this,” she said. “I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else, but unfortunately it will.”[6] There can be no independent review of this expedited removal order.

These selected real-life examples are only a sampling, but they illustrate how an expedited removal order can impede legitimate trade and tourism from coming to the U.S., and how these orders cannot be reviewed in any independent forum. In the interest of continuing the tradition of a strong and open relationship between two of the world’s greatest trading partners, we ask you to amend S.744 to reform the expedited removal process and ensure that adjudications under these provisions are fair and accurate.

Thank you for your consideration of our views. If you have questions please contact Greg Boos at gdboos@americanlaw.com.


Alaska Institute for Justice
Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce
British Columbia Chamber of Commerce
Pacific Corridor Enterprise Council (PACE)
Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER)

Surrey Board of Trade

<To have your organization added as a supporter of this measure, please contact Greg Boos at gdboos@americanlaw.com.>

[1] See Office of the United States Trade Representative, “U.S.-Canada Trade Facts.” (2011), available at http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/canada
[2]U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, “Canada Travel Summary STATS-AT-AGLANCE 2011 YTD” available at http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/Current_Canada_Stats-At-A-Glance_2011_YTD.pdf
[3] See, e.g., Kathy Tomlinson, “Ex-U.S. officer’s border bans to be reviewed.” CBC News (Sept. 26, 2011), available at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/09/26/bc-borderguard.html
[4]Stephanie Ip, “Lethbridge-born actor Chad Rook receives five-year ban on entering U.S. after eight-hour interrogation by border guards.” Calgary Herald (Feb. 14, 2013), available at  http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Lethbridge+born+actor+Chad+Rook+receives+five+year/7966707/story.html
[5]“Five-year ban prompts man to sell U.S. home.” Vancouver Sun (May 7, 2011), available at http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=d4cd7acc-c01a-47bf-8cae-ccbd06ff11d4
[6]Jon Woodward, “Dog lover banned from U.S. for five years.” CTV British Columbia (June 13, 2011), available at http://bc.ctvnews.ca/dog-lover-banned-from-u-s-for-five-years-1.656055

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

19 Congressmen write DHS Secretary Napolitano about misguided border crossing fee proposal; PACE calls on its readers to join the fray!

If Section 544 of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request becomes law, it would mandate that US Customs and Border Protection conduct a study to establish a 'land border crossing fee' that would be collected from individuals crossing the Canada-US border by auto, rail, bus, ferries and on foot or bicycle.

US Representatives Rick Larsen (WA - Bellingham, Everett), Suzan Delbene (WA - Bothell, Kirkland, Blaine), Derek Kilmer (WA - Bremerton, Tacoma) and 16 other members of Congress have written to Secretary Napolitano "to convey strong opposition to inclusion of this proposal in the DHS 2014 budget request." They ask the Secretary to "reconsider this misguided proposal" and point out the harm that it would have on the US-Canada trade relationship and on border communities. A full copy of the Representatives' letter is appended to this blog posting.

It is time for all concerned to step up to the plate. The Representatives who have signed on to the letter need our help.

PACE urges all American readers of this blog to contact their Senators and Representatives to inform them about Section 544 of the DHS Fiscal Year Budget Request and to ask them to oppose this new land border crossing fee proposal.

Meanwhile, Canadian readers of this blog may desire to contact their American friends, customers and suppliers to inform them about Section 544, as while this issues is gathering steam in northern border communities in the US, it has not yet received substantial attention elsewhere.

Together we can beat this provision!