Moving People Across the Canada-United States Border: Legislative and Regulatory Developments in Immigration, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and Enhanced Drivers’ License Programs Ken Oplinger, President/ CEO Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry email@example.com 360-734-1330 Cleveland, Ohio - 19 April 2008
Surrey, BC, Canada Blaine, WA, USA
U.S./Canada Border Overview Facts • Longest common border that is not militarized or actively patrolled • 4,000 miles contiguous U.S.—5,500 altogether (U.S./Mexico border is 2,000 miles) • 12 states, 8 provinces & 1 territory • 51 million Americans and over 30 million Canadians • 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles SECURE
WHTI Background The Problem • Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (sec. 7209) signed by President Bush in December 2004. • Covers all travel into U.S. (includes U.S. citizens) by Jan 2008. • Required “passport or other document, or combination of documents”- with final rules to come later.
WHTI Background The Problem • Subsequent action by DHS divided the implementation into two areas of travel: • Air Travel: with implementation on 23 January 2007. • Land & Sea Travel: with implementation January 2008. • Congress put language in the FY 2007 DHS Appropriations Bill that set land and sea implementation in June 2009, but allowed it earlier if DHS could certify they were ready. • End of Oral Declarations still January 31, 2008.
WHTI Background The Problem • DHS made it clear they were going to certify preparedness for themselves, and issued a new set of implementation dates for land and sea: • End of oral declarations on 23 January 2008 • Final implementation sometime in the summer of 2008. • Congress put language in the FY 2008 DHS Approps Bill precluding implementation before June 2009. • DHS went forward with the end of oral declarations, and has issued final rule for WHTI with a June 2009 final implementation
WHTI Background Documentation Allowed • Passports • Only 26% of Americans and 40% of Canadians have a passport (30% of Congress) • Costs $97/person in U.S. • 6-8+ weeks to process
WHTI Background Documentation Allowed • Pre-clearance programs • Harder to get than passport • $50 for NEXUS; 6-8 (or less) weeks to process • No guaranteed access to lanes • Low enrollment (180,000 nationwide in NEXUS; only 6% of those eligible are in FAST)
WHTI Background Documentation Allowed • “Passport Lite”—new border ID (PASS Card) • Similar documentation and wait times as passport • Cheaper and easier to carry than passport ($45) • Does not address spontaneous travelers • Doesn’t apply to Canadians !!!
Support for EDL • Machine Readable Zone • RFID Chip • Nationality
Level of Interest • US • YES: Vermont, Arizona, New York, Michigan and Washington • IN PROCESS: California, Texas • Canada • YES: Ontario, Manitoba, BC, Quebec • IN PROCESS: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
BESTT and WHTI • July 2005 – Supported a “Real-ID” Solution to WHTI. (Law of the Land) • Spent 05/06 pushing for use of existing drivers’ licenses – upgraded to Real-ID standards • Easier to get than PASS Card • More secure • More discretionary
BESTT and WHTI • Chertoff gives his support for a “Real-ID Solution” in July 2006 (Edmonton, AB, with Stockwell Day) • Governor Gregoire and Premier Campbell Hold Summit August 2006, announce plans for Enhanced Drivers’ License (EDL) • Washington becomes first state to sign MOU with DHS, Spring 2007.
What is BESTT? • A Partnership Coordinated by the: • Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber • Detroit Regional Chamber • Buffalo Niagara Partnership. • 125 Members from 10 states and 5 provinces • Grassroots Focus – Specifically addressing the needs and concerns of border communities
What is BESTT? • Three organizations agree to work on WHTI (7/05) • First WHTI hearing (10/05) • First D.C. Fly In (11/05) • BESTT officially named (12/05) • D.C. Fly-in with 200+ lawmaker contacts (2/06, 9/06, 3/07, 10/07) • On-going presence in D.C. ever since
More Information www.BESTTCoalition.com