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Canada, U.S., to share traveller and refugee biometric data

In order to control flows of refugees, Canada and United States will begin to share traveller’s biometric information by 2014.

Canada is currently establishing the legislative and regulatory groundwork that will require all travellers, including refugees, to present secure documents, which includes e-passports and enhanced driver’s licences when crossing the border.

These changes are in accord with the perimeter security agreement that Canada and the United States ratified last year, with the intention to establish a smooth passage for both people and goods crossing the border, while concurrently maximizing border security.

Under the agreement, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will implement security initiatives that will include keeping track of all travellers, including refugees, who enter and leave Canada.  This information, which includes biometric identifiers, will then be provided to the United States.

Roch Tasse of the Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group stated that both Canada and the United States have significantly different ways of handling some kinds of refugees.

“This raises flags as to what they will agree on down the road,” Tasse stated. “We know that the Safe Third Country Agreement is already problematic. There are people who would be eligible in Canada that are not eligible in the U.S. But, because they arrived through the U.S., they are refused into Canada, and the U.S. deals with them the way they want.”

What do you think? Should Canada and the United States share traveler information? Let us know in the comments.

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