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US wants more biometric data and information sharing with Canada

The United State’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, was asked this week about Canada using the U.S. biometrics system to vet the 25,000 refugees coming to Canada and if that was normal procedure.

“I don’t know if it’s normal for countries to utilize our biometrics process, but given that our systems are so linked and we have the ability to share, we think that’s mutually beneficial,” she said. “Our ability to share information and to exchange biometrics information is vital to both sides.”

Rice said this week that the U.S. is looking for much more information sharing from Canadian officials to better protect our countries against terrorism, according to a report by CBC News.

“We have to do it carefully, we have to do it with very clear understandings and protocols,” said Rice. “But we’re not serving our people on either side of the border well by hiding or protecting stuff to the point that we’re leaving each other vulnerable.”

This week, the two countries also announced an expansion of customs pre-clearance locations in Canada. U.S. bound passengers travelling through the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Quebec City’s Jean Lesage Airport and from Montreal’s train station will be able to clear customs in Canada, making travel between the two countries more convenient, while giving the U.S. more information on passengers moving across the lengthy Canada-U.S. border.

Eight Canadian airports and Vancouver’s Pacific Central train station already have U.S. Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance facilities that allow passengers to skip traditional border stops when entering the U.S.

Under the program, air passengers can now fly into American airports that are not equipped with customs officers, most notably Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

Alan Bersin, assistant secretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, also announced developments this week on the Beyond the Border entry-exit program, which would establish a co-ordinated entry and exit information system between the two countries.

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