DHS and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have begun the Phase I pilot of the Entry/Exit program, as outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan.
Routine biographic information will be collected under the pilot until January 31, 2013. In October, both agencies began exchanging this information so that recording an entry into one country becomes a record of exit from the other country. The pilot will not affect regular port operations in any way.
As part of the pilot, DHS and CBSA will exchange routinely collected data on third-country nationals (those who are citizens of neither Canada nor the United States), permanent residents of Canada, and lawful permanent residents of the United States at the following four ports of entry:
- Pacific Highway, Blaine, Washington/Pacific Highway, British Columbia;
- Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington/Douglas (Peace Arch), British Columbia;
- Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, Lewiston, New York/Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Ontario;and
- Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, New York/Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
DHS said the coordinated entry/exit system will help the U.S. and Canada identify persons who overstay their lawful periods of admission; better monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders; and verify that residence requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs.
DHS noted that the process of sharing personal information will be in accordance with each country's privacy laws and policies. It will also be consistent with the Beyond the Border Action Plan's Joint Statement of Privacy Principles and a Letter of Intent agreed to by DHS and CBSA.
The announcement is available here.