Tag Archives: shared border management

Shared Border Management: They Choose Not To

10 Jun

The United States Government claims that it just can’t implement any sort of shared border management with the Canadians along the length of the Niagara River. The American personnel from the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) allegedly cannot be permitted to work on the Canadian side of the border because of two factors – their firearms, and the requirement that American inspection personnel be able to stop, question, and fingerprint people who make a U-Turn before entering a US customs plaza that is on Canadian soil. Because liberty. 

The fact that Southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area has millions of people, and represents a tremendous market opportunity for western New York, we are stymied by Washington’s and Albany’s unwillingness / inability to help integrate the region.  We can’t get shared border management approved when the real discussion should be about a customs union with Canada

Two solutions have been proposed for this very simple solution to the problem of Buffalo’s West Side and Front Park – the first is the “embassy” solution, whereby an American entry inspection plaza in Fort Erie is legally considered to be United States soil, and the second is the “airport” solution, whereby travelers are simply pre-screened by American personnel authorized through treaty to operate on foreign soil. Pre-screening takes place in myriad Caribbean and Canadian airports, so that flights from those countries can arrive at US airports and be treated as domestic ones, easing the burden on CPB here at home, and widening the number of airports that can be served. 

You know what else? Look at this picture: 

That’s a sign in the Dublin airport.  Dublin, Ireland, European Union. There are CPB personnel in Ireland – across the Atlantic Ocean – who are there to pre-screen travelers to the United States. They do it in Toronto, too. 


The shared border management idea was first proposed and rejected under President George W. Bush and his Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff in 2007. The Obama Administration killed the idea in 2009 after briefly toying with it earlier that year

If we can accomplish this across the ocean, certainly we can get it done across the Niagara River? 

Peace Bridge Some More

25 Aug

Peace Bridge, Peace Bridge, Peace Bridge.

I’m disappointed to learn that Homeland Security under Obama has agreed with the Bush Administration’s conclusions and put the kibosh on Shared Border Management. Seriously, I think this is a major mistake on Obama’s part. It’s stupid.

This means that the issue of a new plaza on the New York side to accommodate the new bridge is raised anew.

It also means that our local delegation to Congress will have a lot to say about this project in the coming days and months. Word is that Slaughter is angry, but Higgins will remain positive.

A spokesman for Common Tern (D-OMGLOOKOUT!) was unavailable for comment.

Shared Border Management

27 Mar

Shared Border Management is back on the agenda under the Obama Administration. Under the plan, US-bound travelers at, say, the Peace Bridge, would go through US screening while still on the Canadian side, before they hit US soil. The big sticking points under the Bush Administration had to do with (1) the arming of US guards on Canadian soil; and (2) US demands that vehicles making a U-turn before reaching the screening area could be stopped, and its occupants questioned and fingerprinted.

Several alternatives had been presented to the US by the Canadians to enable the US to maintain sovereignty over their inspection areas – the airport method (e.g., you go through pre-screening upon departing the airport in Toronto or Nassau), the embassy model (de jure jurisdiction), and an actual land swap. The US nixed them all.

Now, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of State and our former Senator Hillary Clinton are taking a second look at Shared Border Management, and this time it might actually happen.

There are obviously tough negotiations that the US and Canada need to engage in so that US inspectors can make arrests or implement other US entry regulations and policies, but it’s not impossible. I think that concerns about security aren’t falling on deaf ears, and moving forward on this project and these negotiations will directly benefit Buffalo, and hopefully an expanded, new plaza will benefit all travelers at the Peace Bridge.

Now, about expanding volume at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, which routinely has the longest wait times of any local crossing…

Photo by Flickr user Scott Kinmartin