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The 2014 Beyond the Border Implementation Report

I’m pleased to announce that the 2014 Beyond the Border Implementation Report was released today, and can be viewed here. When President Obama and Prime Minister Harper first announced the Beyond the Border Action Plan in 2011, they set an ambitious agenda for our two countries to enhance security, speed the flow of legitimate trade and travel, and increase North American competitiveness. As the 2014 report shows, these commitments have largely been fulfilled, most notably by the completion of an historic Land/Rail/Marine/Air Preclearance Agreement that will allow for the immigration, customs and agriculture inspections required for entry into either country to occur on foreign soil. This agreement will reduce congestion at the existing ports of entry and make cross-border travel, tourism, and transportation faster and more predictable. 

The Beyond the Border partnership with Canada exemplifies our common goal to make both countries safer and more prosperous. Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner and our bilateral trade is now $759 billion annually.

To build on the successful initiatives from the 2011 action plan and establish goals for the next phase of these projects, we have developed joint forward plans, which are included as an annex to the 2014 implementation report.

Some of the other notable achievements over the last year include:

  • We have continued to expand the NEXUS trusted traveler program, which has grown to approximately 1.1 million travelers, an increase of about 80% since 2011. Increased NEXUS membership results in shorter wait times at primary inspection lanes at Canadian and U.S. airports and land ports of entry, as well as at marine ports.
  • Air Canada became the first foreign carrier to participate in TSA Pre✓®.
  • The second joint investment plan for border infrastructure was completed in late 2014 (published February 2015), detailing major infrastructure upgrades at the top 25 commercial and passenger land border crossings.
  • Both countries are moving toward a common approach to screening travelers through the ongoing implementation of automated sharing of biographic and biometric visa and immigration information. These efforts will improve immigration and border determinations; establish and verify the identities of travelers; and facilitate the legitimate flow of travelers.
  • Canada made significant progress in developing a pre-departure screening system for visa-exempt travelers flying to Canada from abroad that largely mirrors existing U.S. systems, and anticipates regulations in 2015. 
  • Canada and the United States concluded the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy pilots conducted in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec, and moved into the evaluation phase, with in-depth assessments expected to be completed by 2015.
  • Canada and the United States trained and deployed Shiprider teams to provide cross-border continuity of law enforcement operations in shared waterways, and conducted surge operations in Quebec and New Brunswick in addition to regular operations in Detroit/Windsor and Surrey/Bellingham.
  • Canada began collecting biometrics from overseas refugee resettlement applicants. By May 2015, Canada expects to begin sharing all such biometrics with the United States.

As President Obama and Prime Minister Harper acknowledged when they announced their shared vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness, the U.S. and Canada are staunch allies, vital economic partners, and steadfast friends. Working together we can continue to build on their promise to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries to support economic competitiveness, job creation, and prosperity.

Amy Pope is the Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.