Canadian politicians lobbying against Trump’s biometric border screening initiative
Canada has started an under-the-radar lobbying campaign against the Trump administration’s planned biometric screening initiative for all visitors to the United States upon both entry and exit, according to a report by The Globe and Mail.
The move follows last Friday’s executive order on immigration and refugees which also called for the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the completion of a biometric entry/exit tracking system.
The expedited plans for the system could cause massive congestion of both people and goods at borders.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale addressed these concerns during a phone call this week with John Kelly, the new U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, according to representative for Goodale’s office.
That conversation seemingly sparked a lobbying campaign against Kelly and other members of President Trump’s administration, along with Congress, who would be required to approve significant costs related to the initiative before its implementation can even begin.
Aside from implementation costs and logistical issues, Canada is expected to cite the negative impact the biometric screening system would have on those industries that depend on a rapid distribution of people and goods across the border.
A senior Canadian official said he remains optimistic that their concerns will be shared by other U.S. jurisdictions, such as border states with economies tied to Canada’s and tourism-dependent states.
Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection runs biometric screening checks only on select visitors entering the country at airports and seaports, as well as some major land crossings with Canada.
U.S. and Canadian governments made an agreement in 2011 to inform each other when visitors return to their home countries.
The success of this data-sharing agreement should make a strong case in convincing the Trump administration and Congress that Canadians should be excluded from the new biometric entry-exit measures.