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U.S. Ambassador Outlines Nexus Program Issue

By Randy Thoms Oct 18, 2022 | 2:44 PM

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The United States Ambassador to Canada insists the U.S. still values the Nexus program.

The U.S. administers the program but has kept offices in Canada closed.

David Cohen says the U.S. has long stated that its Border agents in those offices should have the same legal protections as those doing preclearance work elsewhere in Canada.

“The CBP (Customs and Border Protection) agents do preclearance and five other countries in addition to Canada and everywhere. Those CBP agents have a basic set of legal protections. CBP agents doing Nexus work have not had those basic legal protections,” says Cohen.

Cohen notes that many of those CBP agents are the same people performing two different duties but are not afforded the same legal protections when they are involved in the Nexus work.

Last week, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., in a speech, accused the U.S. government of holding the Nexus program hostage over the issue.

Cohen feels the issue is wholly within Canada’s control.

“Canada has had years to be able to think about this. We’re not dictating how Canada solves this problem, but the fact is that this is a problem that is within Canada’s control, the solution. And if Nexus is as important to Canada as Canada says that it is, it might be worth a little effort in doing something hard to be able to solve this problem,” says Cohen.

There has been some discussion about bringing a virtual element to the program where applicants in Canada who can’t get to a Nexus office in the U.S. could do their required in-person interview virtually.

Cohen says there are some legal issues with that as the statute that authorizes Nexus requires on its face in-person interviews, but the U.S. has agreed to look at it.

NEXUS was created in 2002, providing an alternative piece of documentation to a passport to pre-approved, low-risk travellers entering Canada or the United States at designated air, land and marine ports of entry.

About 80 per cent of Nexus card holders are Canadians.



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