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New applications are at a standstill due to border restrictions
Congressman Brian Higgins is calling on agencies in the U.S. and Canada responsible for border management to implement a process that allows for virtual interviews for new NEXUS applicants.
Higgins, who serves as co-chair of the congressional northern border caucus, writes, “It is vital to the economic wellbeing of our citizens and their communities that both the United States and Canada begin planning for the resumption of normal commerce and travel between our two countries. The pandemic has forced both private industry and government alike to rethink old approaches to the workplace and adopt new technologies. Both CBP and CBSA should follow suit and consider the joint implementation of virtual interviews for new NEXUS applications.”
The NEXUS program prescreens travelers to allow for expedited crossing of the northern border. New applicants are required to participate in separate in-person interviews with agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection as well as the Canada Border Services Agency. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, border agents aren’t crossing to accommodate interviews.
Higgins has heard from constituents eager to proceed with NEXUS applications, so they are approved for crossing when the border reopens.
NEXUS processing was already backlogged prior to the pandemic. In February of 2020, the Trump administration executed a directive excluding New York residents from trusted traveler programs, including NEXUS. Higgins fought the policy and, in July of 2020, the ban was lifted.
Higgins has been leading the push for development of a plan to reopen the border between the U.S. and Canada, allowing for a safe return to cross border travel and the reunification of families that have been separated for over a year.