Sen. Charles E. Schumer Tuesday introduced legislation aimed at expanding border pre-inspection programs such as the pilot project currently underway at the Peace Bridge.
Schumer’s bill is aimed at clearing a legal hurdle that could stand in the way of a permanent arrangement whereby all U.S.-bound cargo is pre-inspected by U.S. agents on the Canadian side of the border. The legislation specifies that if a Customs and Border Protection agent is charged with a crime in Canada, he or she will be tried in the United States.
Schumer said Canada does not want to try such agents, and the U.S. wants them tried in the U.S., but that current U.S. law would not allow that.
“The pilot program (at the Peace Bridge) is off to a great start, but one of the main hurdles standing in the way of a permanent arrangement with Canada is the question of jurisdiction,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “This clarification can get the U.S. and Canada one step closer to finalizing an agreement, and I am urging my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bill and pass it.”
Schumer said the preclearance pilot project, in which some U.S.-bound cargo is pre-inspected in Canada, has already reduced delays for trucks carrying cargo into the U.S. at the Peace Bridge. That being the case, he said the program eventually should be expanded so that all truck pre-inspection will take place in Canada.