U.S and Canada Collaborate on Building Border Security, Notes FWCanada

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According to joint report by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency, the two organizations have joined hands in constructing an Entry/Exit Information System that tracks records of border crossing of travellers. This is a positive step toward increasing efficiency and security of border management, notes FWCanada.

Immigration/ Canadian Law firm

FWCanada- Canadian Law Firm

The results of Phase I demonstrate the capacity of the United States and Canada to increase information sharing capabilities and further improve the security and efficiency for both countries.

According to a joint report by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the two organizations have joined hands in constructing an Entry/Exit Information System to better track down individuals who exceed the length of stay permitted by their tourist visas in the United States.

"Building an Entry/Exit Information System is a positive step toward increasing efficiency and security of border management," says Marisa Feil, a Canadian immigration lawyer. "At the same time, individuals spending long periods of time in Canada should consider applying for the appropriate visas or extend their length of stay to avoid trouble at the border."

The Entry/Exit Information System consists of two phases. In Phase I, from September last year to January this year, the DHS and CBSA exchanged biographical entry/exit information on third-party foreign nationals and U.S or Canadian permanent residents with each other. In other words, when a traveller left the U.S for Canada, the system sent an "exit" record to U.S border authorities and an "entry" record to Canadian border authorities. The system was used at four stations at the British Columbia/Washington State and Ontario/New York borders.

Border services officials also calculated their reconciliation rate---whether the entry date from one side matches the exit data from the other. As shown in the joint report, the CBSA received 343, 363 reports from the DHS, with a reconciliation rate of 94.5%. The DHS received 413, 222 from the CBSA, with reconciliation rate of 97.4%. Both agencies are satisfied with the results.

"The results of Phase I demonstrate the capacity of the United States and Canada to increase information sharing capabilities and further improve the security and efficiency for both countries, " said Thomas S. Winkowski, U.S Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner.

Specifically, the Entry/Exit Information System as a whole checks for travellers' compliance to length of stay, potential overstays, illegal immigration, and document abnormalities. However, what the two agencies will do with the collected entry/exit date and the extent that the they are willing to go to enforce border-crossing regulations on those who violate their admission period are still unclear.

"We have the ability to now identify, with a high degree of certainty, on a real-time basis, those who overstay the terms of their legal entry into the United States," says the assistant secretary for DHS David Heyman.

The implementation of the Entry/Exit Information System serves the mandates of Beyond the Border Action Plan, a joint declaration by U.S President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper, to elevate perimeter security and economic competitiveness for both parties. All sharing of information is conducted with respect to the two countries' laws and regulations on privacy.

On June 30, 2013, the DHS and CBSA will progress into Phase II that aims to implement the Entry/Exit Information System at all common ports of entry, land and water, making it more automated and holistic, according to the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

A similar information system is also shared at the southern border of the U.S with Mexico, reports the New York Times. Unlike the U.S-Canada collaboration, a high level of traffic of border crossings on land is not matched with an equal amount of exit control from Mexico.

About FWCanada:
FWCanada is a Canadian Immigration Law Firm which provides expertise in immigration services such as Temporary Resident Permits, Criminal Rehabilitation, Study Permits and Work Permits. Marisa Feil and her team ensure that each case is closely evaluated to determine the most relevant program. For more information, contact FWCanada at 1-855-316-3555.

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Marisa Feil
FWCanada
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