Today, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a joint report on the findings of Phase I of the Entry/Exit Initiative. The report demonstrates progress in establishing a coordinated Entry/Exit information system that enhances border security. This report also demonstrates that Canada and the United States (U.S.) are continuing to deliver on key commitments under the Beyond the Border Action Plan.
As part of Phase I, the CBSA and DHS exchanged routine biographic entry information – collected between September 30, 2012, and January 15, 2013 – of third-country nationals (those who are neither citizens of Canada nor of the U.S.), permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the United States at four land ports of entry in British Columbia/Washington State and in Ontario/New York. Phase I tested the concept of an Entry/Exit system for both countries through the exchange of information, such that a record of entry into one country becomes a record of exit from the other.
Both Canada and the U.S. found the following from biographic entry records exchanged from the four ports of entry selected for Phase I:
- entry and exit records were reconciled, thereby indicating whether a third-country national complied with the terms of his or her admission/entry;
- potential overstays were identified;
- potential unexecuted immigration warrants were identified; and
- opportunities exist to identify document anomalies or fraud.
“Today’s report is an important step forward for both Canada and the U.S. as it confirms our ability to exchange entry data as a means to establish an exit from the other country,” said the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. “Through secure and cost effective information sharing, we are bolstering the security and efficiency of our shared border and avoiding the need for duplicate border infrastructure.”
“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 U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski. “This kind of cooperation epitomizes the Beyond the Border Action Plan.”
Under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, both countries committed to begin Phase II on June 30, 2013, whereby biographic information collected on third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents in the United States at all automated common land border ports of entry (land, ferry and pedestrian) will be exchanged.
A coordinated Entry/Exit information system will help Canada and the U.S. identify persons who potentially overstay their lawful period of admission; better monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders; and verify that residency requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs.
The process of collecting and sharing personal information will be done in accordance with each country’s privacy laws and policies. It will also be consistent with the Beyond the Border Action Plan Joint Statement of Privacy Principles, and an Annex to the Statement of Mutual Understanding on Information Sharing agreed to by the CBSA and DHS.
Canada and the U.S. are currently conducting Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) for Phase II and they will be available on the CBSA and CBP Web sites prior to implementation of Phase II.