Customs & Immigration

CBSA misconduct investigations surge

Investigations into misconduct by Canada Border Services Agency officers increased by nearly 27 per cent last year despite a dramatic drop in international travel. The CBSA said it conducted 215 “founded” investigations last year compared with 171 in 2019 and that 170 officers were reprimanded, mainly with temporary suspensions, but one was dismissed for interfering in the immigration process. [node:read-more:link]

Court protects NEXUS travellers

A Federal Court of Canada decision (Docket No. T-783-20) means it should be more difficult for officials to cancel travellers’ NEXUS cards over a minor rules infraction. Having heard the case of a Montrealer who had slightly miscalculated the amount of cash he was carrying, the judge set aside the decision to cancel the card and ordered “reconsideration by a different decision maker.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. border powers criticized

Canadian legislation, which gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers the power to question, detain and even strip-search visitors while they are still in Canada, faces growing criticism. The rules permitting the CBP to position officers at Canadian airports ostensibly were designed to enhance border security and facilitate travel but have become increasingly problematic for some. [node:read-more:link]

Brexit fallout looms

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid David, says U.K. manufacturers cannot expect any regulatory “alignment” with the European Union after Brexit. He declined to say which EU rules would be scrapped but the automotive, pharmaceutical and food and drink sectors all have expressed concerns. [node:read-more:link]

Facial recognition on the rise

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extending the use of facial recognition technology to its optional Global Entry program for frequent travelers. Until now, those “low risk” persons only had to have their passports and fingerprint scanned on entry but CBP says the use of facial biometrics eliminates the passport and fingerprint requirements. [node:read-more:link]

Coronavirus confirmed in U.S.

The first case of the potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. has been reported in Seattle. The federal Centers for Disease Control says the patient, in his 30s, had traveled from Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus first was identified in December. [node:read-more:link]

Tighter YVR security screening

An outbreak of coronavirus in China has resulted in more stringent screening of passengers arriving at Vancouver International Airport. Also, the Public Health Agency of Canada in introducing arrivals-screen messages reminding travelers from Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the outbreak has claimed a number of lives, that they must advise Canada Border Services Agency personnel if they have any flu-like symptoms. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. seeks Canada-style trade pact

Having succeeded in taking Britain out of the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson evidently is focusing his attention on getting the same kind of trade pact as the EU has with Canada. He told a Greenwich audience 03 February that if those negotiations don’t bear fruit, he is prepared to fall back on a Withdrawal Agreement signed by both sides in November 2018. [node:read-more:link]

Jamaicans deported by U.K.

Seventeen convicted criminals have been deported to Jamaica from Britain amidst an ongoing debate about how foreign nationals, even though found guilty of violence offences, are treated by the justice system. Deportation of 25 others has been blocked by a court order which is being challenged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. admits border discrimination

Mark Norman, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has admitted that his officers had wrongly detained and interrogated Iranian-born travelers at the Canada-U.S. border. He says the issue, which had been denied for several weeks, has been addressed.  [node:read-more:link]

NY jurisdictional squabble

U.S. federal enrolment in expedited travel security programs in New York have been suspended because a New York state law prevents federal access to driver’s licence information. The law was designed to facilitate licensing of undocumented residents but Department of Homeland Security policy means the state’s residents now can’t apply for or re-enroll in trusted traveller programs. [node:read-more:link]

Asylum-seekers turned back

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 20 March that asylum-seekers trying to enter the country away from official border crossings will be returned to the U.S., part of a government-wide effort to contain COVID-19. Migrants have continued to arrive in a steady flow at one point in Quebec and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that although they do not represent a higher public health risk, monitoring and isolating them would be problematic. Trudeau said they are mostly persons who are legally in the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: U.S. emulates Canada

Effective Jan. 26 and in line with a policy already implemented by Canada, U.S.-bound airline passengers now will need proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days prior to their departure. “Combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible,” says Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. visa exemption for Canadians

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been directed to exempt Canadians from new restrictions on foreign professionals’ access, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. An executive order announced 22 June by the White House blocks entry for most H, J and L visa holders for at least the rest of 2020; President Donald Trump’s rationale is that it would provide job opportunities for U.S. citizens. [node:read-more:link]


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